Sometimes, honesty is the best policy … but unfortunately, there have been moments where the judges have not really followed this policy themselves on “American Idol.” During season 11, for example, we had Steven Tyler repeatedly utter the word “beautiful” to every contestant like he was some sort of oddly-dressed parrot, and there was little doubt to us as to whether or not that was helping out anyone. Not only was it bad entertainment, but it was bad critiquing. You have to let these contestants know when they are bad, that way they recognize what needs work. It also keeps them humble, which many contestants (especially a few from last year who didn’t even make the finale) struggle with.
It’s still much to early to know as to what sort of judge Harry Connick Jr. is going to be during these live shows, given that we still have a little ways to go before we get there. However, the newest addition to the panel did tell The Hollywood Reporter while at Hollywood Week in California, that so far there have been moments where he had to do the right (but tough) thing and let some contestants know that this is not the business for them:
“Sometimes you do have to give bad news and sometimes that’s the best thing these kids can hear is the truth. I would want to be told and I would want my friends and children to be told the absolute truth. You can be diplomatic about it but you also have to be real. You have to tell it like it is.”
Connick also confirmed what we were assuming (but not really looking forward to): The return of group round. That means that you’ll continue to see contestants suffer, and also see some disastrous and terrible performances that make you wonder how the acts got that far in the first place. Then again, you may get a few great performances somehow mixed in there; as a matter of fact, Candice Glover has even been a part of one of them during her own journey on the show.