Harry Connick Jr. Explains His ‘No Standing Ovation’ Rule [Interview]

Harry Connick, Jr. Refuses To Give ‘Idol’ Contestant Standing Ovation

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.

American Idol 2014 Jduges

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.”




  1. I don’t think the judges should stand up for ANY singer. And i hate when the judges more or less tell you who their favorites are. They should be impartial and not let on who they favor. How do they think that makes the other contestants feel?

  2. Harry got that right. They’re there to judge – neither should they make remarks like, “best of the night” or any remark that would lead many people to vote their way. Now saying, “that was your best performance” – I don’t have a problem. These young people have tender hearts and they’ve been chosen by these three judges as the best American Idol material in America. They should love and respect them like each of them is their own – for in years to come – the three judges will forget most of these contestants – but the contestants won’t ever forget them.

  3. simon stood up only once…for adam lambert’s “mad world”, a performance that certainly deserved the ovation. I don’t think anyone has come close since

  4. Why does he have to justify that? Just because Jlo pops up like a pop tart for every other performance doesn’t mean they all have to. It’s nice to see that at least one of them maintains some professional decorum and he shouldn’t have to owe anyone an explaination.

  5. I support Harry. I think he’s wise not to stand. I also understand why the other judges do it though. Judges who share “emotional” responses WILL most likely be compelled to stand to their feet. Harry plays a different game, so to speak, and I agree with him. I’ve been in the same type of spot (not anything like American Idol, of course) but you need to remove all bias, be impartial, bring your best advice to every contestant and ensure you give them all fair treatment. I think Harry approaches it that way. BUT…………… would the viewing public LIKE that in the end? Who knows. I would; however, the majority of people out there probably like seeing emotional reactions, quips and loyalty from the judges. I think they’ve done a decent job of hiding their favorites – I couldn’t say who wants who to win. I do think that we have advanced to a higher level of critique and I like that. We’ve moved away from the USELESS comments of past judges into some better advice this season that is actually applicable (but still could be better). I like the current judges but I wouldn’t mind seeing more musicially trained professionals giving advice like Harry. He’s often seen as the nerd in the group because no one ever knows what he means – and poor guy, it only makes him look bad when he tries so hard to dumb it down for everyone. Anyway — I SUPPORT HARRY! So far he and Simon have been my favorite judges! I do love JLo and Keith though… and I appreciate that they’ve been giving more advice this season than last.

  6. NOW if this show would only let the judges coach these kids in their singing like they do on The Voice! We would really see a change in their singing! I’m tired of people comparing this show to The Voice. When these kids are not giving the chance and extra training like The Voice show. When they start running the show with the extra training with coaches Keith, Harry, and Jennifer and I’m not talking about Randy! Then you can compare them!

    • Coaching is what they did on the X Factor. The Voice has Bogged down the TV with singing contest by not only once a year but now twice a year and repeats on the weekends! Thus the novelty has worn off with all and even the “Voice” is in decline. It wont last 1/2 as long as American idol and predict it will even be cancelled before AI is (or within the next four years).

  7. HCJ is a total a$$hat, yes he’s so focus to talk to J.Lo during performances and to put a ramdom tween girl’s crotch on his neck and shoulder.

    • I thought I was the only one who noticed that. He acts so moral then become a creeper with a teen girl on his neck.

  8. Once again the only judge I like is Keith. Harry likes the smell of his own farts and Lopez is a middle aged cougar who can’t get enough camera time on her airbrushed face…. Idol judges should be idols who have made it. Love to see Adam Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry as judges. Please also overhaul the unlimited voting format so Idol can’t brag about 6 billion votes cast.

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