Harry Connick Jr & Keith Urban On What They Want To Hear Top 6 Week [Interview]


The American Idol 2014 race is getting tighter each week as there are just six finalists left in the competition. With no room for error in their performances the remaining contestants should carefully consider every bit of advice the Judges are sharing.

Last night backstage after the American Idol results show, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. spoke with FOX Audio Central about what they want to hear from the Season 13 Top 6 when they return to the stage on Wednesday night for next week’s theme of Country and Rock ‘n Roll.

Harry is bordering on having a Randy Jackson moment here, but he really gets to the core of it: they need to entertain us. It can’t just be a perfect song choice or perfect delivery. It has to entertain the audience:

They have to steal the show.  They have to come out there and steal the show.  They have to sing great.  They have to perform great.  They have to entertain.  Even if it’s tiny, if it’s a little ballad or if it’s a big antithetic   house number, whatever it is, they have to come out and try to win.  They have to start trying to win now.

Keith says the artists are improving, but calls out pack leaders, and names the contestants who had a great week:

Well there’s always things to work on for all of us, you know.  But I think, I think I’m seeing improvement in a lot of them and I think the frontrunners are really starting to move forward.  I think Caleb, Jena, Sam really sang good last night.  You know, there’s a couple of them really improving.

Do you think Keith was trying to say Caleb, Jena, and Sam are those frontrunners? I’d agree on two of the names.

Source: FOX Audio Central




  1. I think Keith was just talking about Sam for improvement. I think Alex would have been listed above Sam if he were listing frontrunners. Either way, I agree with them that the singers need to start giving great performances. I kinda think the time for seeing different sides of people is over, and now its the time for them to do what they do realllllly good and blow us away. But unless Alex has a great song tucked away somewhere, I don’t really see alot of them actually doing that.

  2. I wish Sam would go ahead and do “Travelin’ Man” by Ricky Nelson if only to shut up everyone making the comparison. I also wish Jessica would do Linda Ronstadt’s version of “Desperado” sitting on a stool so Harry would shut up about her moving on stage. Caleb needs to get away from the rock band frontman imitation and just show off his great voice. Jena should sing something age appropriate and quit with the phony accents. I have no wishes for CJ or Alex because they sort of baffle me.

    • I want Sam to do a Ricky Nelson, too. He could do Travelin’ Man or Hello Marylou, or even Garden Party

      • IMO the lyrics for “Garden Party” make no sense for a 17 year old. “If memories are all I sing, I’d rather drive a truck” He has no memories to sing yet. The other two make more sense especially to an audience too young to know who RN was.

  3. In Terms Of Voting Results , I’m Pretty Sure This Is How It’s Playing Out Right Now:

    1. Alex Preston
    2. Jena Irene
    3. Sam Woolf – I Know but I think his popularity IS increasing every week and with it come votes
    4. Caleb Johnson – I think his irrelevance in todays market is going to start to catch up. Personally I think he is the best singer and performer in the entire competition but I have this weird feeling in my gut.
    5. Jessica Meuse
    6. CJ Harris

    • That actually seems spot-on to me! Except maybe I would switch CJ and Jessica around, but I agree w/ just about all of that.

    • There is no way in my opinion that Alex should win this show and another WGWG winning would be a disaster.

      • how could that possibly be a disaster he is the most consistent, dynamic, artistic and creative finalist in the competition.

  4. Jessica is a great singer, but not an entertainer! Caleb can sing good and he can entertain sort of. Alex is different, but most every week I really enjoy his performances if he would just work on the “tick” thing with his feet. When Sam gets more experience and confidence, I believe he will be a great entertainer because he can sing really well! Jena does have it, IMO….she can sing and entertain and has that look of a star! Ok, CJ….he is so sweet and humble and can sing some songs, but mostly off key so that will hurt him. Jena, Caleb, Alex are my top 3.

    • I’ll stop ragging on Sam when Sam actually starts performing and singing for real.

      You cannot honestly tell me Sam is on par with the other contestants. Just “listen” to him sing in the replays with other contestants. Malaya was a far, far better singer than Sam.

      Sam doesn’t have swag on stage either. He sits and delivers. Can’t the boy move like a 17-year old ought to? He oughtta be bouncing around the stage, bouncing off the walls… not sitting idly with a bunch of pre-teen girls smiling giddishly at him. (That one girl that screamed 2, 3 times during his “Time After Time” rendition was … annoying.)

      Every time I see Sam perform, I want to take a nap.

      • Yeah i hate how they arrange him like that! Why does he have to be surrounded by a bunch of freaking teenage girls its so cliche and not to mention annoying.. Im sitting here trying to watch (listen mostly at this point) to his performance, and the camera focuses on him and sometimes the teenagers, then they freaking scream their virgin little heads off after he tries to have a moment, and i can barely hear him sing and it’s just an absolute turnoff. I have no problem with sam, he is a great singer. He’s just not one of my favorites is all.

      • Sam is an excellent singer. He isn’t himself like Caleb and Jessica. He and Alex have their own style which IS NOT Karaoke like Caleb and Jessica. Has jealousy reared its ugly head?

  5. While I think overall Harry has been a good thing for the AI bench this season, I have one gripe.

    In week 10, Jessica sang, “Pumped up kicks”, drawing a slew of odd questions from Harry — “are you aware of the lyrics?”, “Do you know what they mean?”, “How do you feel about those?”, and so on.

    This week, in week 7, Alex sang “A-Team”. And, not a PEEP from Harry about whether Alex is aware of what he’s singing and the content of the lyrics.

    For all his vanity in trying to show he is an impartial judge for not giving a standing ovation (heck, even Simon gave a standing O in Season 8) for anyone regardless… if you are going to go that far in being staunchly impartial, then he really needs to think back to some of the commentary and quips he has brought upon the other contestants.

    It is my opinion (of course) that Harry is harsher on the girls just to show he is not being partial to them for their beauty. Last year, Nicki could hardly keep her V in her pants with some of the boys (whether real or staged, who cares?, it doesn’t matter), to the complete opposite of what Harry is this year with the ladies. I think Harry’s trying to prove a point to his own daughters for some reason.

    But, anyway, my main gripe with Harry – don’t feign impartiality – its not working, Buddy.

    • How about Alex singing “Every Breath you Take?” He sang it almost with a romantic slant when it it about someone stalking another. It’s not romantic in my opinion.

      • Precisely.. if Harry’s going to have qualms about the lyrics in Jessica’s performances, he ought to have been equally concerned with several of the other performances given.

        If he is going to pass the excuse that he cannot give standing ovations because he is a judge, an impartial judge, then he needs to show impartiality throughout. But, he’s not… I don’t think he can. Maybe he thinks he is and can be, but its nearly impossible to be completely impartial. Which why I think its folly to declare to the whole audience … “I cannot give standing O’s because I’m a judge right now.”

        It comes off as cheesy to me.

    • I think the producers are trying to get a “young” winner so they’re not going to let Harry grill Jena or Sam like they are with Jessica or Caleb. I think CJ and Jessica have targets on their back right now.

      • While I do not disagree with you on the AI producers manipulating who goes & who stays week-to-week, I think Harry’s got his own vices on who’s who in the group.

        Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but it just feels like Harry’s got it in for Jessica. I can’t recall he’s ever given her feedback as generous as the accolades he gives to some of the other contestants.

        And, by “got it in”, I don’t mean Harry consciously goes out thinking how he can grill Jessica tonight. No. By that, I believe he is letting Jessica’s style impress & prejudice his own thoughts of her. Just as Simon had it in for Adam Lambert in Season 8.. (until Simon finally acquiesced around week 4 or 5).

        Green eggs & ham.

  6. I am going to go with my gut feeling as to who leaves next down to the contestant that wins the show.
    1. Jessica
    2. SIam
    3. C.J.
    4. Alex
    5. Jena
    6. Caleb
    I think it will be a nail bitter when it comes down to the final two…Caleb and Jena are both that good and it will be an exciting show that is for sure…..I however stand by my “words to live by” and that is “never say never” so who really knows how it will all end…all of the contestants better bring their best to the stage for the rest of the season, that is one thing I can bet on! Good Luck to them all. “MAY THE BEST TAKE OUT THE REST”…..by mlh

    • A caleb and jena finale would be awesome imo but I suppose the tables can turn however these two have got my vote so far.

      • eventually she will be leaving…America is not looking for her type of music…nor her look, nor her lack of stage performance…she will not be “The Next American Idol”….watch and see…

  7. Caleb is great, but as far as I have noticed, I think that all the praises and credits he gets had gotten to his head. He seemed sort of cocky and overconfident in the previous shows. If he could just be humble enough, I could agree that he will win. But with his attitude now, I think he is not worthy of the title.

  8. Sam it’s your time to blow the judges away this week as a thank you for their save! You have the looks & the voice. All you need to do now is keep those heart felt facial expression you had this past week with Sail Away & take it to the next level of OWNING THE STAGE. The time is now. I hope you go for it!

  9. They need to just flat out get rid of Randy Jackson. He is supposed to be mentoring and making these people ready to go out and perform but he’s not doing that at all. He’s an armpit. Who needs three of those?? Dump him. Get some real help in there like David Cook or Chris Daughtry.

    • David Cook was great. I liked that they had so many past winners as mentors early on. Where’d they all go off to?

      Why not invite past winners to perform Thursday nights?

      My only gripe about David was sometimes his advice seemed a bit too nit-picky for those performers at the time… they weren’t ready for that finite of detail. Maybe now they are, but at the beginning, when they’re 13 of ’em and a Save out there, its enough to focus on the bigger things like pitch and staying with the tempo.

  10. Jena great but Sam has my vote consistently good on pitch not great song choices no backup music but alwAys good

  11. As much as I respect these two as judges, who cares what THEY want to hear. It’s about what the voters want to hear. They don’t even score the contestants, it’s all about votes.

  12. Here is my opinion on the top 6. caleb has a great voice, and he gives amazing performances, but the great thing about him is that he is consistent and belongs on the stage. jena is a good singer, and i can tell she loves the stage, but she seems like she is trying too hard to win. not to say that she is a bad singer, but she shouts a little more than she sings. i definitely think caleb and jena will be the top 2 :). dexter is a really good singer and probably the only one in the top 6 with a genuine country accent and voice. i was pretty upset when he was eliminated. sam woolf is a big favorite with the girls because of his looks. he is not a bad singer, but he does not belong on a big stage, and is clearly not comfortable on it. he belongs in his hometown with his grandparents performing for the local people and he is clearly most comfortable there. alex preston is a unique singer with a unique style. i like how he puts his own spin on things, but sometimes i think he goes a little too far sometimes. and then there is C.J.. i really want to know WHO is voting for him. his voice is okay and all, but he is always off tune. he is not consistent at all, and he always wings his performances. last is jessica meuse. she has a great voice, but she has too much attitude. she should use that attitude when performing songs. she is usually the average performer, though. i think she would do really week if she took harry’s advice.

  13. What I would like to is less shots of that middle aged cougar JLo and more pictures of the contestants.

    • Bravo.

      I would love to see less JLo and more of the contestants. I would also like it if they’d stop with the overly close close-up’s of Sam’s and Jena’s faces. And, they only do it with those two. They never zoooooooom in on Jessica, CJ, Caleb, or Alex. They’d probably scare viewers away. I get that Sam & Jena are the young’nes and the producers want to show off the youthful look. But, with all the make-up caked on their faces, its just not that appealing.

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