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In October 2008, after Hudson's mother, brother and nephew were killed in a shooting, Hudson stepped out of the public eye for three months.Hudson resumed her public appearances in 2009, with high-profile performances at Super Bowl XLIII, the Grammy Awards, American Idol, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
After seeing Hudson's performance in Dreamgirls, Simon Cowell taped a congratulatory message to her, which aired on The Oprah Winfrey Show.Hudson auditioned for the third season of American Idol in Atlanta commenting that she had been singing on Disney Cruise Lines (aboard the Disney Wonder) for the past few months (as one of the Muses from Hercules); and contestant judge Randy Jackson said, "We're expecting more than a cruise ship performance from you." Hudson received the highest number of votes in the "Top 9" after her performance of Elton John's "Circle of Life" on April 6, 2004, but two weeks later was eliminated during the "Top 7" show after performing Barry Manilow's, "Weekend in New England." The bottom three consisting of three African-American females led to controversy.In May 2010, the Los Angeles Times claimed Hudson to be the third greatest Idol contestant in the history of the show, placing behind season one winner Kelly Clarkson and season four winner Carrie Underwood.Her debut album Jennifer Hudson, released in 2008, debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold by the RIAA, with sales exceeding a million copies worldwide.
The record was nominated for four Grammy Awards, winning the 2009 Grammy Award for Best R&B Album.
The film also received nine Black Reel Awards nominations including three wins.