“I fell in love with it instantly,” declares Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson (“Dreamgirls”) about watching the pilot of Fox’s mega-hit “Empire” after series co-creator Lee Daniels asked her to considering doing a guest role. As she reveals during our recent webcam chat (watch below), “It was before the show had even started airing and I was like, I have to be a part of the show!”
Hudson plays gospel-singing music therapist Michelle White, who was introduced late in the first season and appeared in three episodes. Although it seems likely we’ll see much more of her next season, the specifics of her storyline remain very much up in the air. “I can’t wait to find out!” admits the actress. “I wonder what will happen with Michelle and Andre (Trai Byers) and in a way I feel as though they’ll end up saving each other.”
Reminiscing, she vividly recalls that magical night when she won the Oscar for “Dreamgirls”: “That was almost ten years ago, and it’s still so fresh in people’s minds and hearts. When they said my name, I said ‘oh girl don’t get up, no one heard that name but you!’ It’s still very surreal to this day.” And, she confesses, “during that time, because I was oblivious and didn’t really know what was going on and what I was in the middle of. I would wake up and every morning I was winning another award, and I would say, ‘Where did that come from? I have never even heard of that!’”
The actress agress that the parallels between that iconic “Dreamgirls” characer, Effie, and her own story are uncanny. Effie is dumped by her singing group and her man, but gets her revenge by scoring a number-one song. Back in 2004, Hudson placed only seventh on “American Idol,” but went on to win an Oscar, catapulting her career into the stratosphere. “I was always the big girl in the group that was pushed to the back for the skinny girl. It’s about the look not the talent and I’m like ‘Hold on, I’m carrying the group because I’m singing!’”
Below: Watch our complete interview with Hudson and then use the easy drag-and-drop menu to tell us if you think she’ll be nominated for an Emmy for Best Drama Guest Actress. Make all your predictions and you could win a place of honor on our leaderboard, a starring role in next year’s Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s Emmys line-up), and one of three contest prizes: $500 for first place, $300 for second place, and $200 for third place. Prizes will be bestowed as gift certificates to be redeemed at Amazon. See our contest rules for more info.