American Idol: Harry Connick Jr. Responds To ‘Harsh Harry’ Nickname

The Season 13 premiere of “American Idol” saw a changing of the judging guard with Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. taking the reins.

While the show featured some laugh out loud funny moments with Harry (like when he cradled a contestant like a baby during his audition!), there were also times when his critiques were honest and perhaps a little harsh. Even Jennifer took to calling him “Harsh Harry” during the night one premiere.

We spoke to Harry at Tuesday nights “American Idol” fan event where he revealed how the name came about for him.

READ: 6 Things To Know About ‘American Idol’ Season 13

“I think one of the contestants came in early on and said… I think it was the first day, and he said, ‘Word on the street Harry is that you’re very harsh,’” he told Access Hollywood.

The comment took the judge by surprise.

WATCH: Harry Connick Jr. On His ‘Idol’ Hug From Jennifer Lopez

“I’m like that’s the buzz?! Like I’ve been a judge for an hour,” Harry laughed. “I think they were trying to maybe cook something up that would stick, like that’s my name, but I don’t know how accurate it is!”

Well, he certainly is no Simon Cowell. The jazz singer knows music inside and out and can certainly be more nit-picky than his cohorts, but at least he actually has some constructive things to say. Plus he’s got a heart. Harry admits he has even shed a few tears so far during taping the auditions. A new round called “Hollywood or Home” has been added, forcing contestants who have already received a golden ticket to Hollywood to re-audition – and Harry admitted it took him by surprise.

“It was a lot harder than I thought. It was very hard to… very emotional. I cried for some of the ones we said yes to. I’m glad that part is behind us and we get to focus on the competition now,” he concluded.

“American Idol” airs Wednesday and Thursday 8 ET/PT on Fox.

-- Laura Saltman

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