When American Idol 2014 finalist Jena Irene Ascuitto received a standing ovation last week from Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr. remained seated. While American Idol judges JLo and Keith wildly applauded Jena’s stellar performance of “Creep” by Radiohead, Harry just sat there with a pained look on his face with his arms crossed, not even clapping.
Some of Jena’s fans on social media were outraged by what they though of Harry’s diss against their favorite contestant. Even the other American Idol 2014 judges seemed a bit put out by Harry’s behavior. Of course, it didn’t help that he kind of backhandedly insulted them for giving any contestant a standing ovation for their performance.
After extremely complimentary critiques from Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. told Jena she had the best performance of the night. Then, sounding like he was sick as a dog, Harry closed out his review with a garbled attempt to explain why he didn’t stand for her.
“Don’t be fooled by the fact I don’t clap… or don’t stand up. I don’t do that for anyone,” Harry said. At which point the other two American Idol judges tried to interrupt to basically say he had done it before. But he just talked right over them. “I’m a judge, and this is my version of how to judge. I have to be very focused.” A statement to which JLo either said “booooo” or “bulllll,” it was hard to tell which.
After Harry’s statement, Jennifer looked kind of pissed, while Keith looked smugly annoyed and on the verge of rolling his eyes. Obviously what Harry said did not go over so well with his fellow American Idol 2014 judges. Which is why, perhaps, he tried to explain betterwhat he was trying to say in an interview with FOX Audio Central after the show.
Re: His “no standing ovation” policy on performance nights:
“Well, that’s the way I look at it. I mean, it’s different for everybody else. At the end of every single Idol’s journey, I stand up and give them a standing ovation,” Harry said.
“Every single one, starting back with MK. But during the competition, I’m not an audience member. I’m a judge and I think it’s really important for me to listen, to focus and even use the audience’s reaction as information to help me make an informed decision. So that’s just my way of doing it and it works for me.”