For all the times this season I have raved about Harry Connick Jr. as an American Idol judge, Wednesday night’s (Feb. 12) show would have made me burst into tears if I’d been a contestant — and had a stuffy nose.
Connick gave all the Idol hopefuls a bitter pill to swallow at the very beginning of week two of the Hollywood round.
“At the top of my list of pet peeves is hearing people bitch about that they don’t feel good,” Connick ranted. “’I lost my voice, and I’m sick.’ It’s whiny, and it sucks the energy out of what you’re about to do. If you’re sick and you don’t say it, 95 percent of us are not even gonna know.
“If I go spend some money to hear somebody, I’m sorry if you’re not feeling well, but I paid to see your show,” he explained of the realities that live beyond a reality show. “This is show business. We don’t care. Just suck it up.”
Connick was back to his charming and sweet self for the rest of the show. Maybe because no one dared to piss him off.
Another piece of advice I learned from this episode? Do not sing original songs. This is a singing competition, not a songwriting competition. When much-loved contestant Spencer Lloyd did his own tune about being you because who you are is beautiful, Connick said, “It’s like a public service announcement.” And when Connor Zwetsch did her own song, Connick pointed out that it was a ripoff of “Sweet Home Alabama.”
“Songwriting’s a particular thing. You can either do it or you can’t,” Keith Urban agreed.
Sam Woolf was the exception to that rule and wowed all three judges with “I Try,” a song he wrote about his mom who left when he was just 13 years old.