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Simon Cowell and Jennifer Hudson talk her ‘American Idol’ elimination for 1st time

The judge said it might have been due to the Barry Manilow’s “Weekend In New England” theme.
Cowell talks with Hudson on her new titular television show.
Cowell talks with Hudson on her new titular television show.Warner Bros.

Simon Cowell is getting candid about Jennifer Hudson’s 2004 elimination on “American Idol.”

The 62-year-old “AI” judge was the singer’s first guest on the debut episode of her talk show, “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” on Sept. 12, where Cowell shared his thoughts on why Hudson was eliminated from the show.

“Why was the show so big in those days? It would be because of people like you. It’s a combination of talent, determination, and real personality,” Cowell began. “And even though we had that, kind of, banter, you and I, it was always that. I always knew how determined you were. You were funny and you took it with grace because you kind of got it. I always thought that about you.”

Cowell then shared his perspective on “that night” when Hudson didn’t make it to the next round in the singing competition.

“I was thinking, ‘Who chose stupid Barry Manilow week?’ Wasn’t me,” Cowell said, with Hudson recalling the week's theme being “Weekend In New England.”

“I remember thinking, ‘This is not a great song.’ It wasn’t your fault and then, of course, what happened, happened,” he continued. “And then I was thinking to myself a few days ago, ‘If you were going to go back in time, would you have changed the song or would you have kept things as they were?’”

Hudson then replied, “No, but it’s other songs before that that I would have changed because that song led me to get ‘Dreamgirls,’ honey because Barry Manilow structured that song as if it was ‘And I Am Telling You’ and a lot of people thought that’s what I was singing.”

Hudson went on to explain that she felt like many of the songs she sang before her elimination didn’t “represent my artistry.”

“By the time I was eliminated, I felt I had gotten an opportunity to display who I was as an artist, so I was OK with being eliminated,” she continued. “And then once I was, I was like, ‘You know what, you’re walking away with your talent, you’re walking away with your gift. This competition may be over, but your passion isn’t, your love and your drive isn’t.’”

Despite the elimination and coming in seventh, that didn’t stop Hudson from continuing her career. The singer and actor would go on to win a best supporting actress Academy Award in 2007 for her role in “Dreamgirls.”

Most recently, she became the 17th person to win an EGOT this year after winning a Tony Award for producing the Broadway show “A Strange Loop.”

She showed off her trophy on her Instagram, alongside her Emmy, two Grammys and Oscar.

"Counting down til my birthday ! In a few days I will be 41 but then again I will always be 17!! #EGOT #17," she captioned the photo.

Warner Bros.