Michael Becker/FOX
Patrick Gomez
April 09, 2015 12:30 AM

You know it’s a good night on American Idol when both judge Harry Connick Jr. and contestant Nick Fradiani got to live a teenage dream.

Fradiani, 29, strapped on his acoustic guitar to kick off the night with a Chris Daughtry-esque take on Katy Perry‘s 2010 bubblegum-pop hit “Teenage Dream.”

Though Connick questioned Fradiani’s choice in the video package before the performance, he did tell the finalist after that he “liked the energy.”

Jennifer Lopez was more effusive, saying, “See – that‘s changing the song and making it your own in the best way. That was amazing. I could hear it on the radio today.”

Keith Urban agreed, “I thought it was a killer song for you – only because the spirit of the song … was right. It played to all of your strengths.”

And, once Connick took the stage for his own impromptu performance, Fradiani couldn’t resist ribbing the judge: “Harry I’m sorry,” he joked. “It was okay. It was a subpar performance. I’m sure you’ll get them next week.”

Fradiani later told PEOPLE that taking the Idol stage “felt good finally. It took a little while, but I felt comfortable today.”

He continued, “I think what helped me this week is that I was very involved in putting together the arrangement … and I felt more connected to it than I have in weeks past. I’m not treating it like a contest anymore because that just wasn’t working for me. I’m a competitive person, but, when it came to music, it was never about competition.”

American Idol airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on Fox.

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