American Idol returned for its 13th season last night, and Wednesday’s episode also marked the debut of new judge Harry Connick, Jr. From the very beginning it became readily apparent that Connick would be the tough judge of the season — he lectured a 15-year-old contestant about picking age-appropriate songs, he railed against the flashy divas who merely focused on vocal gymnastics and was frequently seen rolling his eyes.
Nothing seemed to please Connick much. That is, until Munfarid Zaidi walked into the room.
The 19-year-old University of Texas student (who was born in Lahore, Pakistan, but grew up in Sugarland, Texas) instantly proclaimed his love for the jazz crooner and claimed that he read his Wikipedia page every day. This lead Connick to promise that “if you blow us away during the first song, I’d like to pick you up and hold you like a baby for the second.”
“That is a weird incentive,” fellow judge Keith Urban noted, but Zaidi was all for it and promptly wowed the panel with his performance of Adele’s “Crazy for You.”
Watch the whole audition below (Added bonus: the song Zaidi chose to sing while being cradled shows his sly sense of humor):