During their conversation, the duo recalled the competition’s third season in 2004, in which Hudson placed seventh. “All those memories I have right from the beginning is like, ‘Why was the show so big in those days?’ It was because of people like you,” Cowell told Hudson. “It was the combination of talent, determination and real personality. Even though we had that banter, you and I, it was always that. I always knew how determined you were, and you were funny and you took it with grace. You kind of got it. I always thought that about you. You’ve got it.”
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When talking of the night Hudson was eliminated from Idol, Cowell remembered, “I was thinking, ‘Who chose stupid Barry Manilow week?’ It wasn’t me.”
Hudson mentioned that she sang Manilow’s “Weekend in New England” that week. Cowell then replied, “I remember thinking, ‘This is not a great song.’ It wasn’t your fault. And then, of course, what happened, happened.”
The former Idol judge went on to asked Hudson if she would have changed her song choice if she could go back in time. “No, but it’s other songs before that I would’ve changed,” the multi-hyphenate replied. “Because that song led me to getting Dream Girls, honey. 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.”
She continued, “When you’re on a show like that, you want to have the song that you feel represents you best and it was a few songs in the beginning that I was like, ‘I don’t feel like that represents my artistry.’ ‘Circle of Life’ felt like represented my artistry. By the time I was eliminated, I felt like I got an opportunity to display who I was as an artist, so I was OK with being eliminated. 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.”
“Too often people give up and think that’s the end of the road and I said, ‘No, I’ll be back. I don’t know when and I don’t know how but I’ll sing my way to it,'” Hudson concluded.