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Harry Connick Jr. cradles contestant on ‘American Idol’ premiere

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What a difference a season makes. The January 15 premiere of “American Idol” was a far cry from last year’s catfighting diva-fest featuring Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey. In fact, it was a cradle of love.

Newly crowned judge Harry Connick, Jr. stole the show. After feigning sadness on his lack of star power (most of the young “Idol” wannabes said he was more their moms’ cup of tea), he cradled one contestant like a baby when he actually knew who he was.

19-year-old Munfarid Zaidi got special treatment – and a golden ticket to Hollywood – when he dished that he not only knew who Connick was, but that he even reads his Wikipedia page every night before bed. The 46-year-old jazz singer leaped up and hugged the contestant, promising he’s cradle him “like a baby” if he blew the judges away with his first song. Zaidi did, and Connick kept his word.

After the show, Connick tweeted: “did you like the cradle??? we need more cradling!!! post your cradle pix!!!let's get it trending! #cradle #idoltonight.”

Indeed, fans of the show posted their own cradling pics, and according to Just Jared, Connick later posted some pics cradling some co-stars and crew members from the set of his upcoming movie “Dolphin Tale 2.”

The “Idol” premiere also featured Connick ganging up with Keith Urban to shoot down a few of fellow judge Jennifer Lopez picks. Could boys rule this season?

The two-part “American idol” premiere continues tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET on Fox.

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