'Idol' Winner Kris Allen Says Harry Connick, Jr. Is A Great Judge — And He's Right

You may have your opinions about the American Idol judges, but you know whose opinion is probably the most valid? An American Idol vet's (and a winner at that). Season 8 victor Kris Allen actually thinks that "Harsh Harry," a.k.a. Harry Connick Jr., is a great judge. And why's that? Because he serves up constructive criticism, which is exactly what these contestants need.

Allen spoke to Bustle on behalf of Soles4Souls, which recent partnered with Barefoot Wine for an American Idol reunion charity concert that included fellow Idol alum David Cook. (Feel old yet? These guys won back when you had to dial in to vote.) He says that Connick "adds that thing that the show really needs … some really constructive criticism. He knows what he's talking about." He felt similarly about judge Keith Urban, who he said was awesome (he's done some shows with them — and the two sang a duet back in the AI finale in 2009) and that J. Lo is "J. Lo." You know, a dynamo.

"That's what the contestants really want," he said, "You come into this with no experience."

After all, it is important to listen to the judges. That's why they're there! (Hey, contestants performing tonight, you may want to take a cue from this guy, whose gone from his humble beginnings to an Idol win, and a truly successful music career and he finds time to be charitable.) They're there to help create an environment to help build artists. After all, as Allen noted, there's been a big shift from simply showcasing vocalists to focusing more on musicianship on Idol.

Jason Davis/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

With the music industry's changes, naturally, come Idol changes, and naturally that includes dramatic changes in the judges, who are obviously placed on the panel for a reason. They can help guide the contestants to become better artists to that they can hone in on their skills to win over America.

And that's important — because, as the winner who preceded Allen, David Cook, said — the real work starts the day after the big win. So, future Idols, be prepared!

But with that work, comes great opportunities to affect others. Not only can Idol winners use their status to push the music industry forward, but they can use their platform to act charitably, like Allen has done with Souls4Souls. And as excited as Allen and Cook were to play together, they were even more pumped to get to get on stage in order to get people to come out and donate to the charity. "I cannot stress this enough — the position that we all get put in is huge. I think it'd be very selfish and short sighted to not try to give some of that back," said Cook.

Jason Davis/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Allen and Cook are also working on new albums, and they both said that their new material will be more personal and demonstrative of how they're developing as individual artists.

And how did these guys get all those opportunities? All because of Idol. And how do you win? By taking that criticism from those judges, including Harsh Harry. The more constructive, the better — so, hey, if Allen says Connick gives good advice, we should trust him. His is the opinion of a winner (who survived through Simon Cowell's notorious snarky criticism). It's worth it to heed Allen's advice, because he tells us winning is pretty great. "As cheesy as this sounds … it's been a dream come true." Who could disagree?