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Announced by Ryan Seacrest, the top ten were picked by viewers’ votes, and Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. were left to offer five out of ten singers an on-the-spot opportunity, and select three of those contestants to continue.
“They would get called and have to sing — C.J. [Harris] had to sing in the moment, immediately,” Urban told THR about how the hopefuls had to perform within seconds of being announced as a wildcard contender. “Whereas Jena [Irene], she had a commercial break, you know what I mean?”
Lopez added of Irene, “And got a little massage from Ryan too!”
Viewers brought up the discrepancy in the comments section of THR’s recap, noting that the commercial break gave Irene an unfair advantage when she reprised her original song from Hollywood Week. Some commenters noted that the commercial break was probably timed so she could set up her keyboard while off the air.
On the other hand, Harris, a standout throughout the season’s early episodes, didn’t perform at his best when vying for a wildcard spot because both he and the band suffered missteps. And the evening’s other wildcard competitors had trouble taming their adrenaline, while Irene’s performance was nearly flawless. Thankfully, both Irene and Harris earned wildcard spots, along with Kristen O’Connor.
Despite the cuts and rocky performances, the judges were all smiles after the results show. Lopez said, “The kids make it different every single time. I love the journey of this show, and I always have, which is why i came back to do it again.”
Connick felt the episode was high point for him. “Seeing the thirteen up there tonight made me feel like, okay, this is the real start of the competition, and here we go.”
Randy Jackson, who renounced his role as judge to move into a mentor position, happily celebrated a Rush Week well done. “It’s really great — for me, I must say, I did and said everything I could do as a judge, and helped discover some amazing talent over twelve seasons. I’m loving being a mentor.”
Watch the interviews in the clip above.
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