Jennifer Hudson’s Incredible Comeback

What did Jennifer Hudson do after her premature boot from American Idol? Only become the one of the most buzzworthy new stars of 2006.

Many thought Jennifer Hudson was one of the stronger singers on Season 3 of "American Idol." But after several well-received performances, the big-voiced gospel singer from Chicago was unexpectedly eliminated from the show in seventh place.

Most people probably assumed they’d never hear from Jennifer again, but they would have been wrong. In 2005, Jennifer beat out 783 hopefuls – including Idol Season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino – for the coveted role of Effie White in the Bill Condon musical "Dreamgirls."

Despite having no previous acting experience, Hudson stood out alongside superstars and seasoned performers such as Eddie Murphy and Beyonce Knowles. The buzz about her acting and singing performance began to build weeks before the movie was released on Christmas Day. In January, she won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar. She also landed a recording contract.

This week, Hudson celebrated at her family’s church in Chicago, where she headlined a gospel concert. “I don’t do clubs, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke,” she told the crowd. “I’m not having no club party; I better have a praise party.”