"On American Idol, you go through this mental thing;
you've got to get yourself back together. You've been abused, misled and brainwashed to believe whatever they want you to think," Hudson, 25, tells the new issue of Essence. "
You become a character - I became the girl in the turkey
wrapping." (On one episode, she wore an unflattering outfit that earned that label.) "I just knew I had to sing my way out of it. I don't believe in looking back, and I didn't look back."