Harry Connick who? That was the general sentiment as jazz singer/actor Harry Connick, Jr. made his debut as an American Idol judge last night, alongside returnees Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban, in the Season 13 premiere of the show. And while his charming yet no-nonsense approach to the role made us sit up and ask, “Where have you been all our lives?,” the contestants seemed less than impressed.
In fact, some of them didn’t even know who he was, and it quickly took a toll on the newbie judge, who couldn’t believe how many people came into the audition room and fell all over themselves in J.Lo’s presence. “Keith and I are like bookends up here,” a flabbergasted Connick whined at one point.
And then, finally, a fan: “I read your Wikipedia page every day before going to sleep,” said mousey 19-year-old Munfarid Zaidi to an over-the-moon Connick, who quickly rushed the Pakistani and gave him a big bear hug. “If you blow us away on the first song, I’d like to pick you up and hold you like a baby on the second,” Connick offered the super-fan in his excitement. And after Zaidi did a decent job on Adele’s “Crazy for You,” just that happened.
“This is phenomenal, give him a ticket,” Connick declared upon cradling the contestant in his arms.