How Paula Consoled Jennifer Hudson

April 23, 2004

It was "Idol" injustice Wednesday night when Jennifer Hudson became the sixth fallen Idol. Last week's top vote getter, the 22-year-old from Chicago went from first to worst. She was the sixth contestant to be sent home, and the unhappy judges took America to task, reminding everyone that this is a talent competition, not a popularity contest.

"It is so hard to become disconnected from it, or hardened to it," says "American Idol" judge and ET special correspondent Paula Abdul. "It still affects me as if it were the first season and it hit me when Tamyra Gray was knocked out when it was down to four. It just doesn't make sense."

And that wasn't the only jaw-dropping news of the night! Joining Jennifer in the bottom three were fellow divas and judge faves Fantasia Barrino and La Toya London, proving that anything can and does happen on a show determined by fickle viewers!

"[All three] have watched the first and second season," Paula adds. "They know that midway through there are going to be twists and turns, there are going to be upsets, and there are going to be harsh realities, so to speak. So they have to keep in mind, and they do, that anything can happen. Last night I think the three dispositions were lovely. They held hands going, 'This is really unbelievable.' And then there was this glimmer of, 'Oh my, god, one of us is going home.' That's when it got weird."

Viewers watching the show saw real tears in the eyes of the remaining hopefuls, and George Huff, who was good friends with Jennifer, took it especially hard. It didn't help that he was already in the position of looking foolish. Ryan had told him to go join the winners, and he went to where he thought he was supposed to be, only to discover that Jennifer, La Toya and Fantasia were the week's bottom three.

ET also caught up with host Ryan Seacrest, who shared the following: "Jennifer told me that John Steven's told her, 'It should have been me.'"

And John wasn't alone in his belief that he was going home. On Wednesday morning before the results show, Paula had commented, "I think it is time that John Steven's goes home. He is not in the league where the rest of them are right now. He is such a sweetheart. America had a love affair with him, but now it is down to the singing, and he isn't up there with the rest of them."

The crowd in the audience reacted strongly to the news of Jennifer's departure. People were angry, people were frustrated, people were sad, and people were in disbelief. There were people heckling and yelling, "No!"

But despite all the disbelief and strong reactions, this isn't "Survivor" and none of the former finalists will be brought back, including Jennifer.

"Jennifer was really calm," Paula says. "And okay. She had nothing to be sad about other than the reality that she shouldn't be going home. She gave one of the best performances of the competition this week. There is no better way to leave a competition than to leave on top."

Courtesy of ETOnline. - The Official Paula Abdul Fan Site
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