The singer and actress had Randy’s fellow ex-judge Simon Cowell on her first show as a guest. While Simon was very hard on Jennifer throughout the competition, Randy had more faith in her at the time.
“Without this man, I wouldn’t be here today,” Jennifer gushed.
When Randy watched Jennifer’s audition in Atlanta, he recognized an artist like himself that grew up performing and singing in church. “We grow up loving singing in the church,” Randy said. “When I heard you when you auditioned…like that girl’s got something.”
“And she’s still got it today. JHud is in her house!” Randy said, referring to Jennifer’s brand new talk show, The Jennifer Hudson Show.
Jennifer confessed that she became anxious and nervous on elimination days, and the feeling stayed with her, even after she left the competition.
“I would still feel that energy and be like, right it’s elimination night,” she added, ” Because it tasers you, and it kind of never leaves you.”
Despite leaving American Idol season 3 18 years ago in 7th place, Jennifer is Randy’s favorite alum.
Randy is more proud of Jennifer than any American Idol winner because “you didn’t win!”
“You knew that you had a gift given by God,” said Randy. “I’m so proud of you. For me, I’m probably more proud of you than I’m proud of any other Idol winner because you didn’t win!”
Randy continued, “And look at what you’ve done. That’s the thing. Keep going. Never give up. Believe in yourself and believe in your talent. And you did it. You said, ‘this ain’t gonna stop me. One door closes, five more about to open!'”
“You better preach on today!” exclaimed Jennifer. “But that is the thing that I took with me. I always find…everything is a lesson. Even when it seems negative….no, you’re always learning. You can always grow from that and apply it to the next thing.”
Jennifer still recalls how she felt being eliminated. “I remember in that moment, I’m like ‘I still have my talent. I still have my gift. And as long as I keep going with it, it has no choice but to give in’.”
“There’s a lot of people that loved you. They didn’t all love you enough to make you win but they loved you,” said Randy. “So you come to the show and you now got an audience.”
Randy’s grandma used to say, “Do not block the blessings. You don’t know where they’re going to come from.”
Watch Jennifer Hudson and Randy Jackson share American Idol memories below.