"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."
Hudson also dismisses rumors that there was tension on the Dreamgirls set between herself and costar Beyoncé Knowles. "We clicked from day one," she says.
She says she, Knowles and their fellow Dreamgirl Anika Noni Rose bonded over the fact that they're all Virgos, and all have a mole in the same spot on the left side of their necks.
"It's amazing to me that God took three different women from three different walks of life and created the Dreamgirls," Hudson says. "We were meant to be together. When you look at us, you see it's all connected. I'm loving Beyoncé."
Len Prince / Essence Magazine
For more American Idol news, visit PEOPLE.com's Idol package.