Jennifer Hudson



Ryan Seacrest Rocks New Year's — and the New American Idol

Ryan Seacrest

Whether in a celebration at home with family and friends or a crowded club in the heart of the city, Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve (starting Sunday at 10 pm/ET, on ABC) has for the past 35 years been the No. 1 choice to usher in the next 365 days. No matter the sometimes deafening background noise, it's all about the biggest party in the country, says cohost Ryan Seacrest, who came on board last year as Clark, still recovering from a stroke, needed an extra voice to keep the bash bumpin'. Seacrest — who sometimes worries that he scares the 77-year-old Clark with his overzealous attitude — says working on the program is surreal, as the energy and enthusiasm of the night unfold. "It's electrifying to be in the center of Times Square," the read more

Road to Oscar: Florida Favors Departed, Queen, King

There is yet even more kudos for The Departed and Martin Scorsese, which earned best-picture and -director honors from the Florida Film Critics Circle on Tuesday. Sweeping the lead-actor categories, again, were Helen Mirren (The Queen) and Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland), while Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) and Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond) copped supporting wins. Winning the documentary, foreign-language and animated categories were An Inconvenient Truth, Pan's Labyrinth and Monster House, respectively. read more

Dreamgirls Comes True for American Idol Alum Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls

With her star-making turn in Dreamgirls, American Idol also-ran Jennifer Hudson bests Fantasia, makes Simon eat crow and stirs up some Oscar buzz. Here, her Q&A with TV Guide. TV Guide: You play Effie in Dreamgirls, based on the story of Florence Ballard, who was overshadowed by Diana Ross and pushed out of the Supremes. You were the first of American Idol 3's "Three Divas" to go. Do you see a parallel? Hudson: Between Fantasia Barrino, LaToya London and me, I was the biggest girl. The one who doesn't have the "image" alwa read more

The Road to Oscar: NY Critics Put Up a United Front

Hot on the heels of Sunday's kudos handed out by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the American Film Institute, the New York Film Critics Circle has awarded its best-picture honor to... United 93. In other categories, Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) and Helen Mirren (The Queen) solidified their positions as front-runners in the Oscar race, while Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children) and Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) copped supporting honors. read more

Random Stuff: Battlestar, Rudolph and Gayle King!

* I introduced myself to Oprah's BFF Gayle King last night at a preview screening of Dreamgirls at the 68th Street Loews. As she was making her way to her seat, we locked eyes, and I very casually blurted out, "Hi, Gayle." Without missing a beat, she said hello back and we launched into a full-on conversation. She mentioned that this was her third time seeing the film this week, and I told her I loved the "Best Pizza in America" segment she did on Oprah last month — especially the part where she accidentally bit into the prop pizza that was placed on the stage for decoration. She chuckled, made some crack about how she's here to "protect and serve," and then took her seat. As for the movie itself, I'd give it a solid B. The hype surrounding Jennifer Hudson was much ado about something — her rendition of "And I Am Telling You (I'm Not Going)" will blow you away — but the rest of the movie left me kind of cold. Chicago it is not. * My top five episodes of the past week ... read more

Dreamgirls' Oscars Strategy Hits a Sour Note

With the Academy Awards season nearing full swing, there is already some controversy surrounding the campaign being waged by the yet-to-be-released Dreamgirls — namely, Paramount/DreamWorks' decision to position Beyoncé Knowles for a lead-actress nod, and relegate Jennifer Hudson, touted as the heart and soul of the pic, to supporting. "It's ridiculous," awards-show guru Tom O'Neill ( tells the New York Daily News. "Dreamgirls is [Hudson's] movie. She owns it." Does the Idol alumna herself feel spurned? "Jennifer doesn’t see it as an issue," a friend tells the News. "She can win as supporting actress, where she has the strongest chance." read more

Twain Leaves Station for Idol's Mandisa

Mandisa, American Idol

Irony alert! Last Wednesday Nashville's own Mandisa Hundley was the casualty of country-music week on Fox's American Idol (Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 9 pm/ET), as her rendition of Shania Twain's "Any Man of Mine" failed to make the entire judging panel (or, apparently, the voting public) effuse.

Defending the song choice — and addressing Simon's reaction to it in particular — Mandisa says, "I know that he does not care for country or for that song too much, but I absolutely love it and don't have any regrets. I think it's a great song and I think that whoever wrote it is brilliant."

If only all the debates Mandisa had to contend with during her Idol engagement were so tidy. Having prefaced her previous week's read more

There is a movie called ...

Question: There is a movie called "Dream Girls" that's either supposed to come out in theaters or air on TV — I can't remember when. The cast includes Eddie Murphy, Beyoncé Knowles and some girl from American Idol. Can you please let me know the 411? Thanks.Answer: Dreamgirls is a feature-film adaptation of the late theater director Michael Bennett's 1981 Broadway musical chronicling the rise of the Dreamettes (later simply the Dreams), a 1960s singing trio who bear no small resemblance to the real-life Supremes. The original cast included Jennifer Holliday (the show's breakout star) as Effie, the full-figured belter who gets squeezed out in the group's bid for crossover success; read more

American Idol Changed My Life

After they're booted off American Idol, the rejects always go down promising they'll score a major record deal, despite what Simon says. Here, catches up with six of last season's AI finalists, who are all still chasing the impossible dream.Jasmine Trias, 3rd PlaceAge: 18 From: Mililani, Hawaii Before Idol: She was a high school senior singing at birthday parties and weddings. Life change: "Suddenly, everybody knows who you are. I was like, 'Oh, my gosh, this is so weird.' Because I was never very popular in high school — I always kept to myself." Up next: "I just did a McDonald's commercial for the Philippines. I had no idea American Idol was being watched in another country! I'm also working on a new album in L.A." Advice to hopefuls: "Stay close to your family. With all the hype, you really need people wh read more

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