The Voice UK coach Jennifer Hudson says refusing to ever accept knock-backs helped her become an international star...

If there’s anyone who knows what it’s like being a contestant on a show like The Voice UK, it’s US singer and actress Jennifer Hudson.

A hot favourite to win American Idol in 2004, viewers were left stunned when the powerhouse vocalist finished seventh.

The 35-year-old proved she was down but not out, however, and just two year’s later had bagged herself an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for her standout role as Effie White in the hit film, Dreamgirls.

Now a successful recording artist, as a coach on The Voice UK, Jennifer’s quick to remind all the hopefuls that a show like this really is just the beginning…

“I’m a firm believer in taking advantage of the opportunity you’re given,” said the Spotlight singer. “It’s a matter of utilising this platform, learning everything you can from the coaches, from the show, from the experience, so that you can carry on and fulfil your dream.”

Here, Jennifer reveals how she became a star…

What’s been the secret to your success?
“Having the drive is often more important than the talent; you just cannot take ‘no’ for an answer. If you get a rejection, do you just go home? No! You say: ‘I still have that gift, I still have that talent. Just ’cause you say no, doesn’t mean it’s not gonna happen’. You just have to keep going after it, not just give up right there and then because a TV show said you can’t do it.”

What it’s been like going from being a contestant on American Idol, to being a coach on The Voice UK?
“I’m really enjoying the experience; working with Will, Tom and Gavin and also being on the ‘other’ side. It’s still so fresh in my mind; the time that I was a contestant and trying to ‘make it’. So when these singers audition on The Voice UK, I don’t just live that moment, I RE-live that moment. I also feel empowered because I can help them get to where they want to be.”

Jennifer Hudson performs on American Idol

No hard feelings… Jennifer went back to perform as a guest on American Idol in 2011


You were working on cruise ships for Disney in 2004 when you auditioned for American Idol and your life changed overnight. How does it feel knowing you have the power to do the same for aspiring singers on The Voice UK?
“Oh, that’s the hardest because I understand what this means to them and how life-changing it can be. I know I have these people’s dreams in my hands and I really wanna help steer them in the right direction. I wanna be as honest and authentic and real as I possibly can with the contestants, just to give them that extra push to make it through.”

Jennifer Hudson The Voice

J-Hud – as she likes to be called on The Voice UK – wants to use her experiences to help her acts


When you auditioned for American Idol, were you in it to win it?
“Hell no! I always said I wanted to do it for the experience. Shows like this give you a platform to be seen and, back on Idol, I noticed so many people thinking the show was gonna do everything for them. But, the fact is, no one’s gonna chase your dream for you. So while I was on the show, I would always just think to myself, how do I stay afloat once all of this goes away?”

Jennifer Hudson Dreamgirls

Jennifer Hudson’s role in the hit movie Dreamgirls proved to be a game-changer for the star


As well as being a coach on The Voice UK, do you have any other projects in the pipeline?
“I just wrapped on a movie with Adam Sandler, called Sandy, which is my first comedy and centred around music, which will be out in the spring. Then I started on another movie called Monster, which I’m filming as we speak. I’m also due to get started on my fourth album. So it’s a busy time – but I love it!”

You’ve said winning isn’t everything, but how much would it mean to you to be the winning coach on this series of The Voice UK?
“Do I wanna win? Definitely! That’s what I came here to do! I do feel like there’s more than one ‘star’ in all our camps, not just mine. But, let me be clear, I know I have the winner, no doubt in my mind… and that is that!”

The Voice UK Coaches


The Voice UK continues on Saturdays at 8pm on ITV.