Harry Connick Jr. on joining the judges panel at ‘American Idol’

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 07:  Actor Harry Connick Jr. attends Broadway Talks Conversations with Harry Connick Jr. at the 92nd Street Y on February 7, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Michael Stewart/WireImage)
Harry Connick Jr. joins the judges panel at “American Idol,” which has a two-night premiere Jan. 15 and Jan. 16 on FOX. Credit: Michael Stewart/WireImage

For Harry Connick Jr., joining this year’s “American Idol” judges lineup was a no-brainer.

“It just felt like a natural thing to do,” says the multiplatinum Grammy winner, who will take a seat alongside Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban on the judges panel when “Idol” returns with a two-night premiere Wednesday and Thursday on FOX. “My whole life has been a lot of interaction with people who are a lot better than I am, and as I got older I started to be on the giving end of those things. … I feel very comfortable in that kind of environment.”

The singer is no stranger to “Idol,” having served as a mentor to contestants in 2010 and 2013. He even cops to watching the show since day one. Becoming a permanent fixture on the scene, he says, is “different, but not a surprise.”

“It’s extremely intense. The days are long. It’s very emotional, but it’s just the wildest ride, and it’s a wonderful ride with great people, and I really just like being a part of it. … We’re just having a ball.”

Despite a rotating cast of superstar judges (Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Steven Tyler and Ellen DeGeneres have all served on the show) “Idol” has been on the ratings decline in recent years. Connick says he didn’t ask Lopez or Urban for advice before his new gig because “it’s not rocket science.”

This marks the first year without industry vet Randy Jackson as an “Idol” judge. Jackson is shifting into an in-house mentor role, a move that Connick is happy with.

“Randy Jackson is great. … But it’s a new show now,” he says. “It has different producers, different directors, different panel, different contestants. It has a new look, it has a new feel, and it’s a new day for this great show. Fortunately for all of us Randy is still a huge part of it as a mentor, and I think the kids are going to be very lucky to have him on their side.”

And the kids who have Connick on their side will know — the singer says he won’t be shy about doling out critiques. “Sometimes you do have to give bad news, and the truth is the best thing these kids can hear. I think you can be diplomatic about it, but you also have to be real. You have to tell it like it is.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…