Harry Connick Jr. Slams Jessica Meuse For “Pumped Up Kicks” Performance

‘Idol’: Harry Connick, Jr. Slams Contestant For Controversial Performance

American Idol judge Harry Connick Jr. let loose on Top 10 finalist Jessica Meuse over her performance of “Pumped Up Kicks” last night. In one of the harshest criticisms of the night, Harry chastised Jessica for smiling through the song and not connecting to the seriousness of the lyrics.

Jessica Meuse, however, disagreed strongly with Harry’s interpretation of her delivery of the song, which references a school shooting. American Idol judges Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez both sided with Jess for the most part, despite Harry’s apparent adamant dislike of how she performed the controversial song.

Jessica Meuse

While we do get Jessica’s point in the video above that Foster The People used clever lyrics and a witty delivery to address a provocative subject, we still feel like she didn’t really give off the right vibe with her performance of the song. Perhaps it was just the wrong song choice in general to sing about kids shooting other kids on a family-oriented reality TV singing competition show.





  1. Harry was being a jerk. And I suspect he doesn’t want Jess to get very far. Was he sober? IAC it makes me like her more.

  2. She is s sweetie, her and Caleb will be there at the end. One thing tho’, she and even CJ should lose the guitar’

  3. Jerry Thomas, I agree with you 100%. Harry acts like he discovered music and is the only person who understands it. He thinks everyone else should bow down and agree with his every word. He was a jerk last year as a mentor and he continues to be a jerk as a judge. To Harry everyone is entitled to an opinion as long as it agrees with his. I’m just a lowly TV viewer, but I would send either Dexter, Jessica, or CJ home this week even though MK messed up the lyrics. At least I like the sound of her voice even though she need to show some enthusiasm.

    • I think CJ, MK and Majesty Rose will be the bottom three and CJ will go home. Hate to see CJ go home – he is so humble – a real good Southern gem.

  4. Love Harry and he tells it like it really is. As for Jessica’s performance he was right on as usual she was bad. Harry is the best thing that has happened on idol for years now….you go Harry tell the truth!!!

  5. If they can’t handle Harry critique they certainly can’t function in the real world! He is just being honest and usually says what others are thinking.

    • Sooooo true…the music business is brutal…Harry’s critique was gently constructive…get a grip, Jessica…you are not all that and a bag of chips@99Bandit:disqus

  6. she did fine … I liked it .. still don’t even know what the song was about.. I’ll ask my daughter ~

  7. Anyone who believes Harry Connick’s opinions don’t matter have fodder for brains. How often does a “reality show” (see: stupid for the masses) have a chance to have an actual MUSICIAN on their judging panel anyway? NO ONE I’ve seen on ANY of these shows is anywhere NEAR the musician (let alone possesses the musical sensibilities) of the likes of Harry Connick Jr. Not even in the same league.
    Now, when Harry’s got something to say about a song whose lyrics are MOST CERTAINLY homicidal in nature, and he thinks the singer (who did a severe injustice to the song with that idiotic “southern” spin on it) was taking liberties with it, BRAVO TO HIM! I can’t believe the CRAP that’s coming out of our radios these days! Why would a song glamorizing killing kids over a pair of sneakers be COOL anyway?

  8. Two 13 year old sang it on the X-factor Carly Rose and Bea Miller…. lighten up Harry. Stop dissecting every word and sentence, this is not music 601 advance music masters program…. geeez.

  9. Don’t read so deep into just listen to the music for god sakes not the lyrics it’s just a catchy tune and let it be just that! I applaude Jessica for being herself plus I might have a little crush on her! keep it up girl!

  10. Harry’s critique was spot on. If you hear the original performers of the song, the vocals have a sound-effect that give it a weird, techno-cold feeling. The point to the song being recorded that way was to emphasize the madness of the lyric’s content. Jessica’s interpretation was about as creative and original as that stupid 80’s streak of pink on her hair. I applaud Harry Connick Jr. for not pandering to the audiences applause or cowering to the threat of their ‘boo’s’, and respect him for having the guts to tell the truth.

  11. Harry is the best judge on Idol. He offers constructive criticism and my husband and I always agree with his comments. The contestants need to step it up.

  12. I totally get it. Way to go Jennifer! Yes, considering the contrast between the dark lyrical content and the accomanied infectious, upbeat music, a smile or a smirk is quite fitting for the singer clever enough to get it and convey it. This song is written from the perspective of a warped mind… need we really explain this any further? Isn’t there some whistling at the end of this song?

  13. She isn’t the brightest bulb. He has asked several contestants if they knew the meaning of the song. He’s right, if you are going to be anymore than a karaoke singer, you need to deliver the emotion of the lyrics through your performance.

    Standing their smiling during that song was distracting. The pros deliver solid performances and Harry is trying to help amateurs.

    To be fair, Idol is getting 16 and 17 year old contestants and putting them on the air to perform live in front if 20 million and then tell them to be more confident. Uh, they are high school students.

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