The hit reality TV show American Idol entered its 13th season with Harry Connick Jr. as the newest judge.
The charming crooner brought a fresh attitude to the interaction with the other judges, pop singer Jennifer Lopez and country music star Keith Urban.
The newest episode of the long-running music competition, showed the auditions in Boston and Austin, for which Harry Connick Jr. had pretty honest opinions.
American Idol has been known for making rejected contestants cry as they walk outside the audition room.
“I don’t know what kind of judge I’m going to be other than to say I have to be honest,” Connick said during Wednesday’s premiere. “To send somebody out of the room crying is a terrible feeling, but if it’s the right thing to say, I think you have to say it.”
— TheRealEOTMMediaCEO (@EOTMPR) January 16, 2014
Harry Connick showed a good sense of humor when some of the youngest contestants had no idea who he was.
“I went to the bar and got drunk because nobody knew who I was,” he told Keith Urban.
This is all great, but can having Harry Connick Jr. on the show this season translate into ratings? Wednesday’s show had the worst premiere numbers of any other season with 15 million viewers tuning in, down 23 percent, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Harry Connick Jr.’s personality seemed to invigorate the other judges. American Idol has experienced a downturn in ratings and popularity in recent years and it remains to be seen whether his presence can reverse that.
However, the thoughtful comments were a contrast to what we’re used to seeing from other judges.
While not as mean as former judge Simon Cowell, contestants should be prepared to hear it like it is when it comes to judge Connick as he is also trying to be helpful in his criticisms.
“I’m responding to a performance,” he explained. “And I don’t believe you have to couch your critique in some compliment. That’s my style… If somebody can’t sing, they need to go home.”
“You have to be specific with them, you know: ‘I didn’t like the performance. Here’s exactly why,'” he says. “You’re not going to see me just basing stuff on subjectivity. It’s unfair to them. When I didn’t play or sing right when I was coming up, they’d say, ‘Stop. Here’s what you need to work on.’ And then you go work on it.”
Viewers seem to have been taken with this particular image:
— Jeff Barrett (@BarrettAll) January 16, 2014
Harry Connick Jr. is definitely a breath of fresh air and his looks don’t hurt either, which can only be good for the struggling show as it attempts to improve ratings during this newest season.