11:30 AM EDT 08/24/2014
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.
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.
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