05:29 PM EDT 01/19/2015
Harry Connick Jr.
Originally posted 03/20/2014 07:00AM
American Idol's Top 10 took on Top 10 songs, but only a couple of performers soared to the top of the judges' charts.
Perhaps the best performance of the night, however, belonged to Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr., who switched seats in the middle of the show and did spot-on impressions of one other, with Connick nailing Urban's Australian accent, and Urban mimicking Harsh Harry's often high-brow criticism, spouting phrases like "the monotone pentatonic" and "genomial parallax."
Malaya Watson's rendition of "When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars not only earned her raves but also flowers: The song includes the lyrics "I should've bought you flowers," but the 16-year-old admitted no one ever had, so Idol did (although it was charged to Connick's credit card).
Originally posted 03/16/2014 04:30PM
Harry Connick, Jr. has plenty of fans, but his thorough critiques as a judge on American Idol have earned him a memorable nickname on the show: "Harsh Harry."
Not that he minds.
"I hear that I have the reputation more than people actually say it," the singer told reporters after last Thursday's results show.
"No one has ever come up to me and said, 'You're harsh.' I do think some people may be taken aback by some of the things I choose to say, but I don't interpret telling somebody, 'This is what you could work on' as harsh."
Originally posted 03/13/2014 07:00AM
American Idol's Top 11 sang songs from the cinema on Wednesday, but who possessed the Gravity to impress the judges and which contestants are destined to be Gone with the Wind?
Jena Irene, 17, who was in the Bottom 3 last week, earned a standing ovation from Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez, and a prolonged ovation from the crowd, following her electrifying performance of "Decode" at the piano.
Urban said there was a "ferocity" about the way she performed the Twilight song, comparing it to "hurtling along the edge of a cliff," while Lopez called it the best performance of the night and yelled, "America, get on board!"
Originally posted 03/06/2014 09:05PM
"Harsh Harry" has been out in full force, but it was the fans who made the important decision of who was going home on American Idol Thursday.
"I just want them to get better," Harry Connick Jr. said to fellow judges Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban after a particularly negative critique on Wednesday night's performance show that left at least one contestant in tears.
While no contestants received universal praise from the judges Wednesday, Urban had guaranteed finalists Sam Woolf and Emily Piriz that they would be safe despite the tough criticism.
But who did America deem worthy of another week in the competition?
Originally posted 03/06/2014 11:50AM
American Idol contestant Majesty Rose put on a brave face for the cameras while receiving a harsh critique Wednesday night, but afterwards she worked hard to hold back the tears.
"Right now I just want to cry," Rose, 21, told PEOPLE backstage. "I performed last, and I just came out of it so you guys get the raw Majesty."
After wowing the crowd with her version of Coldplay's "Fix You," Rose was met with some negative criticism from judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and "Harsh" Harry Connick Jr.
Originally posted 03/06/2014 06:30AM
There was no place like home for the contestants on Wednesday's American Idol, as the Top 12 performed songs that captured the spirit of their hometowns.
But the judges weren't feeling warm and fuzzy. Instead they were harsh on the majority of the performers, with one of last week's standouts, Jessica Meuse, taking some of the harshest criticism after her performance of Dido's "White Flag."
"You were sharp the whole time," Harry Connick Jr. said, calling the pink-haired singer's performance "blasé". "When anybody hits a high note, people applaud … that didn't happen tonight. You were so off."
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 10:00AM
American Idol has always embraced diversity, but M.K. Nobilette is breaking barriers as the singing competition's first openly gay contestant. And on balance, she is pleased with the public's reaction.
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