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Jennifer Hudson

Spotlight

Jennifer Hudson has become the most successful “American Idol” loser. After cutting her teeth in a Chicago church choir and as a performer aboard a Disney cruise, she competed on the third season where Simon Cowell infamously chided her for wearing an ensemble that made her look like turkey wrapping. A year later she got her revenge by beating out 780 hopefuls for the part of Effie in “Dreamgirls.” Her meaty emotional performance in the 2006 musical went on to win her a Globe, a SAG Award and a Best Supporting Actress Oscar as well as a recording contract with Clive Davis’ J Records, a spot as the third African-American Vogue cover girl and non-singing parts in other films like “Sex and the City” and “The Secret Life Of Bees.” In 2008, her self-titled debut album dropped, “Spotlight” single charted, and her boyfriend, a “I Love New York 2” contestant David Otunga, popped the question. Unfortunately, it was also the year her mother, brother and nephew were fatally shot in their Windy City home. She didn’t return to the spotlight until February 2009 when she sung the National Anthem at the Super Bowl and won a Best R&B album Grammy. The birth of son, David Daniel Otunga Jr., the following August helped her heal even more. In 2010, she transformed herself from a size 16 to a 6 to play Winnie Mandela and began her four-year stint Weight Watchers spokeswoman. She returned to TV in 2013 for a multi-episode arc on “Smash.”

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