Jennifer Hudson’s beginning of stardom, at least on a national scale, was in the public eye. But American Idol (while her big break) was not her first break. In fact, it was working at Burger King where Hudson got her first opportunity to make it as a singer. J-Hud went on The Howard Stern Show Wednesday to talk about her days working the drive-thru.

“It was a mic, honey. That was my stage,” Hudson told Stern. “So I was singing there and somehow the head manager of Burger King was a club promoter too. So he started to hire me to sing at his clubs and I started making more money in one night singing at the club than I did in two weeks at Burger King, burning my face on the boiler and all of that stuff.”

Things got serious, though, for a rare moment with Howard when Jennifer spoke about her 2012 Grammys tribute to Whitney Houston, which she said she only did because she got Whitney’s blessing.

“Had Whitney not passed me the torch, herself, I would not have done it. Because I have that much respect for her. But when she was here and I did a tribute to her at the BET awards, she came backstage and she did her famous bow and she was like ‘I turn my torch to you,'” Hudson said. “So that’s why, I was like ‘OK, I’ll do it. I just don’t know if I’m going to be able to get through it.'”

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