Chicago native Jennifer Hudson first came to the attention of the world as a talented, sassy finalist in the third season of American Idol. Her big voice and excellent phrasing won for her a sizeable audience among the Idol faithful, while her bit of attitude toward the often irrelevant criticism by judge Simon Cowell provided entertaining drama to the show. She was eliminated midway through the season, but clearly had the talent to go further.
Hudson's post-Idol career was quiet for a couple years until she was surprisingly cast in the role of Effie in the movie version of Dreamgirls, co-starring with such heavyweights as Beyonce, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy. The bigger surprise was her knockout performance, both as a singer and as an actress. While Murphy's nuanced performance was superb, it was Hudson who stole the show, winning a Supporting Actress Oscar in the process.
Hudson has since combined an acting career with an active recording career as well becoming a commercial spokesperson.
Even as her career soared, Hudson's personal life endured tragedy, most notably the murder of her mother and brother in Chicago. After a period of mourning, Hudson returned resiliently, becoming a spokesperson for Weight Watchers (she lost over 80 pounds) and charging onward toward her sophomore release. The album, I Remember Me, was released in March, 2011.
By Chris Rizik