How Jennifer Hudson Became An EGOT Winner

She'll never have to share the spotlight again. Jennifer Hudson has finally earned the entertainment industry's four major awards — an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony, collectively known as the EGOT. Only 17 entertainers have won all four, placing her in coveted company alongside legends like Audrey Hepburn and Andrew Lloyd Webber. The achievement is a far cry from Hudson's humble beginnings, where she sang as one of the Muses from "Hercules" on a Disney cruise before auditioning for "American Idol." When Hudson first auditioned for the show in 2004, judge Randy Jackson asked her, "We're gonna expect something better than a cruise ship performance, right?"...Little did he know.

While Hudson didn't win the season of "American Idol," only coming in at seventh place, with Fantasia Barrino winning the title, she's had one of the best careers out of any "Idol" alum. Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood may have done better on the charts, but nobody has been able to diversify their talents quite like Hudson. She starred in the film "Dreamgirls" shortly after her "American Idol" exit, winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and, perhaps even more impressively, outshining Beyoncé. The Oscar win for "Dreamgirls" launched Hudson's EGOT journey, following it up with a self-titled R&B album, and eventually setting her sights on the stage. Rather than a Disney cruise, this time Hudson was headed to Broadway.

Jennifer Hudson completed her EGOT with a Tony

Thanks to her pivot to Broadway, Jennifer Hudson has received a Tony Award and finally completed her EGOT. She first appeared on Broadway in 2015's "The Color Purple" as Shug Avery, but wasn't nominated for a Tony until 2022, thanks to her work co-producing "A Strange Loop." On June 12, the Michael R. Jackson-penned play took home two Tonys: Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical for the show's writing. Several other celebrities also produced the play alongside Hudson, including RuPaul and Billy Porter, but none have fulfilled an EGOT with their own wins.

Hudson's EGOT quest was relatively short compared to others'. It only took her 16 years to earn all four awards, which may sound like a long time, but it's not uncommon to take 30 or 40. Her Tony win also makes her the second Black woman to obtain an EGOT, following in Whoopi Goldberg's footsteps, who received hers in 2002.

Aside from "Dreamgirls" and "A Strange Loop," Hudson also won a Grammy for her 2008 album "Jennifer Hudson," as well as a Daytime Emmy for producing "Baba Yaga," an animated virtual reality short film. While Hudson likely would have found her way into the spotlight with or without "American Idol," fans have marveled at how it all stemmed from her first audition, and wondered how things could have changed if something happened differently that day. It's a good thing we'll never know!