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Harry Connick, the "American Idol" maybe-savior, at the National Building Museum gala

Branford Marsalis, left, with Harry Connick, Jr., at the National Building Museum gala in Washington. (Paul Morigi for the National Building Museum)

A week after The Washington Post declared him the savior of "American Idol," Harry Connick Jr. marched triumphantly into the nation's capital to claim the spoils of victory and announce a new battle plan for saving the faltering reality-TV empire.

Actually, it didn't exactly play out that way, to be perfectly honest. Instead, the old-school crooner just politely entertained our wildly off-topic questions about "Idol" when we cornered him Tuesday at the National Building Museum's annual gala on Tuesday, where he was being honored for his arguably more pressing do-gooding in post-Katrina New Orleans.

"That's really nice," Connick replied when we told him our how our TV Column-ist colleague Lisa de Moraes had proclaimed him the rightful heir to Simon Cowell following his appearance last week as an unusually witty and conscientious guest "mentor" for the Idol finalists. So... ?

What's not to like?: Connick with Ryan Seacrest on "American Idol" last week. (Michael Becker)

"I'd consider it ... " he told us. (There's our headline!: CONNICK WILL "CONSIDER" IDOL JOB -- oh wait, here comes the next sentence...) "But they haven't asked me."

Connick and fellow music man Branford Marsalis -- freshly Tony-nominated for scoring the new Broadway production of "Fences" -- were the star attractions at the 1,110-guest gala. Along with a couple of partners, they received the museum's "Civic Innovators" award for their Musicians' Village, a complex of multi-generational homes in New Orleans's Upper Ninth Ward aimed at the city's performing population. Connick was similarly protective of the young musicians he met on "Idol," sidestepping questions about who deserves to win. As a route to stardom, "Idol" offers an undeniable boost, he said, though he argued that there are benefits to having a slower ramp to stardom as he did (being all of 21 when he scored the soundtrack of "When Harry Met Sally").

"As you become an artist it gives you more time to process this stuff" -- fame, fortune, artistry, etc. -- though, who knows, he said, maybe he could have handled overnight success. "I'm pretty grounded," he said.

By The Reliable Source  |  May 13, 2010; 1:05 AM ET
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Can't someone start a facebook campaign to make the Idol producers recruit him? It worked with Betty White on SNL...

Posted by: pinkstate | May 13, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

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