Singer-turned-acting star JENNIFER HUDSON has lavished praise on American Idol after it helped launch her onto the Hollywood stage - and insists she's proud of the time she spent on the reality TV show. The star, who won Best Supporting Actress at last night's (15JAN07) Golden Globe awards for her portrayal of EFFIE WHITE in DREAMGIRLS, believes her time on the show accelerated her rise to the top. Hudson, who came seventh in the 2004 series of American Idol, admits the show enabled her to retire from her previous career working on a Walt Disney cruise liner. She says, "Before American Idol, I worked for Disney on their cruise ship line for six months at a time. I narrated and also did all the lead singing for the Hercules show and also did CIRCLE OF LIFE from The Lion King. "I think I was on the right track for my singing career before American Idol, but 'Idol' did help speed my career along. I didn't think things could get any bigger or busier than when I was on Idol, but it has. "American Idol is part of my history, and I'm proud of it. It's helped me establish myself as a true artist. Now it's up to me to further my career on my own."