Jennifer Hudson, American Idol
Credit: JENNIFER HUDSON: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

Jennifer Hudson made our all-time ”Idol” Top 10

Song ”Circle of Life”

Date April 6, 2004 (season 3)

Why We Remember We spent much of Idol‘s season five waiting to see a contestant display a manic commitment to the music, someone like wild-eyed, big-voiced, now Golden Globe winner J. Hud (pictured during ”wildcard” week). Watching her seize upon Elton John’s Lion King anthem like a lioness catching an impala made for a truly remarkable viewing experience. The Gospel inflection. The raised hand. The near swallowing of the microphone. All these things put Jennifer’s interpretation on a slippery slope, but she felt every word of the song so truly, madly, and deeply that resisting her became an exercise in futility.