Simon Cowell Blames This Song for Jennifer Hudson’s American Idol Elimination

Simon Cowell doesn't blame Jennifer Hudson for her American Idol elimination on her new talk show The Jennifer Hudson Show. Watch the full clip here to find out why.

By Charlotte Walsh Sep 12, 2022 10:13 PMTags

Simon Cowell is waving goodbye to Barry Manilow

Appearing on the premiere of Jennifer Hudson's eponymous talk show Sept. 12 as her very first guest, the former American Idol judge wasted no time getting into the host's 2004 elimination from the singing competition. Hudson was eliminated from season three of the competition after performing Barry Manilow's 1976 hit "Weekend in New England." She ultimately placed seventh. 

"Who chose stupid Barry Manilow week?" Cowell joked. "It wasn't me."

"I remember thinking, 'This was not a great song," he continued. "It wasn't your fault and then, of course, what happened, happened." 

However, while the song cost Hudson the American Idol a higher place in the competition, she has no regrets. When the music executive "flipped the script," as Hudson quipped, and asked the Respect star if she would have changed her song choice. Hudson said she wouldn't, noting the choice ultimately nabbed her the Oscar-winning role as Effie White in the 2006 film Dreamgirls.  

"No, but it's other songs before that that I would have changed 'cause that song led me to get Dreamgirls, honey," Hudson responded. "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."

American Idol: Where Are They Now?

Although Cowell famously critiqued Hudson throughout the competition—infamously telling her "you're out of your depth" as she was voted off, which he ultimately apologized for in 2007—there's no love lost between these two, with Cowell saying American Idol was "so big" because of the talent cycling through.

"It's a combination of talent, determination, and real personality," he said. "And even though we had that 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."

Get the drama behind the scenes. Sign up for TV Scoop!