04:04 PM EDT 04/20/2015
Originally posted 02/27/2014 06:50AM
American Idol's Top 13 debuted Wednesday, choosing songs that expressed who they are as artists and people.
And, overall, the girls did a better job of that, according to the judges, with Emily Piriz, 18, singing Pink's "Glitter in the Air," and earning unabashed praise from tough, oft-booed Harry Connick Jr. who said simply, "I'm proud of you."
"That was big for Harry!" Jennifer Lopez laughed, with Urban immediately adding, "I was waiting for the 'but.' "
Originally posted 02/22/2014 03:30PM
Harry Connick Jr. has only been on American Idol for half a season but he has already been booed more than his fellow judges Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban combined.
"As a performer you really hope to not be booed but here it just shows that the audience is really engaged," Connick, 46, tells PEOPLE.
And despite the negative critiques some of the contestants have received throughout the season, they remain positive about the jazz artist and his comments.
Originally posted 02/21/2014 06:15AM
Originally posted 02/20/2014 06:30AM
It may have been ladies night Tuesday on American Idol, but the boys stole the spotlight Wednesday.
Once again, the judges only called to the stage the 10 singers who impressed them most, eliminating the remaining five.
Rocker Caleb Johnson, 22, kicked things off and stayed true to form with "Stay With Me," a "real rock star" performance according to Jennifer Lopez, who added, "It's your time."
Originally posted 02/19/2014 06:15AM
There were new twists, familiar faces and loads of drama on American Idol Tuesday night, as the ladies kicked off the first of the live performance shows.
The new twists? In what was dubbed Rush Week, the judges reviewed tapes of the Top 15 Girls and picked the 10 that impressed them the most to perform, surprising the ladies one at a time.
The familiar faces? Randy Jackson, the "Dogfather" of Idol, was back to mentor the contestants, leading a sort of Rush Week "wisdom workshop" for the pledges, which included vocal coaching from former Idol contestants Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry, and guidance from stylists, a movement coach, and a pair of spiritual advisers.
Originally posted 02/14/2014 07:40AM
The final contestants were added to American Idol's Top 30 Thursday night … almost.
In a surprise twist, the judges couldn't decide which singer would round out the Top 15 Boys and, for the first time, are leaving it up to America to choose.
And it all came down to the odd couple: country singer Ben Briley, 24, who sang "Stars" for his final solo performance, and silky voiced Neco Starr, 22, who sang "Halo" by Beyoncé despite battling a cold.
Originally posted 02/13/2014 07:00AM
After thousands of auditions, hundreds of golden tickets and weeks of performances, there was a first on Wednesday's American Idol: An openly gay contestant made the Top 30.
M.K. Nobilette, 20, broke that barrier, saying, "I'm very obviously gay, and there are always gonna be people in America … who will definitely hate me, but I think that in the last two years there have been a lot of things that have really changed that."
"The world is changing," said Jennifer Lopez, "and we think you could be an American Idol."
Originally posted 02/07/2014 07:15AM
The group round of American Idol's Hollywood Week is always filled with drama, and this year was no exception: Harry Connick Jr. quit the competition.
As a joke, of course.
"I am dropping out of the judges' panel," Connick said, after the surprising exit of Tiquila Wilson, who quit without warning to follow her dreams of becoming a gospel artist.
Originally posted 01/31/2014 07:45AM
The final tickets to Hollywood were handed out on Thursday's American Idol, and the last singer to book a seat on the plane reminded Harry Connick Jr. of … Barbara Mandrell?
Referring to the popular '70s and '80s country singer and TV star, Connick told Tessa Kate, a 25-year-old from Branson, Mo., that she had the same timeless "vibe."
Kate sang "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash and although Jennifer Lopez said the guitar-playing performer "almost went into chipmunk territory" with her high-pitched notes, Keith Urban said, "You've got your own lane."
Top 5 Most Voted Stories
Jessa (Duggar) Seewald Is Pregnant!
Cissy Houston: Bobbi Kristina Brown Has 'Irreversible Brain Damage' and 'Remains Unresponsive'
Father of 8 Killed While Driving Pregnant Wife to the Hospital for Birth
Sherri Shepherd Ruled Legal Mother of Baby Born via Surrogate
Miley Cyrus and Patrick Schwarzenegger Have Split
Top 10 News Categories
The most buzzed about stars this minute!
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
More On PEOPLE.com
Got a News Tip?
Send it to our People.com editors!