"If you think I'm being rude, to be disrespectful back isn't right," says Alexander, who tells PEOPLE, "Two wrongs don't make a right"

By Patrick Gomez
Updated April 15, 2015 11:55 PM
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“You’ve Got a Friend in Me” doesn’t appear to be a song Quentin Alexander and Harry Connick Jr. will be singing together any time soon.

Things got tense between the American Idol contestant and judge on Wednesday night after Connick took offense to comments made by Alexander on the show.

“In that moment, I was just being honest. I felt genuine emotion, and it came out,” Alexander tells PEOPLE of being upset that “two of the best vocalists” – including his “best friend” Joey Cook – were in danger of going home, a situation that the 21-year-old told host Ryan Seacrest was “wack.”

Taking Alexander’s comments to mean that the entire Idol experience was “wack,” Connick called the fellow New Orleans native back on stage to let him know that he felt his sentiments were “highly disrespectful.”

But Alexander says he is “beyond grateful” for the opportunities Idol has provided him and feels it is Connick who was disrespectful.

“What kind of threw me off was how he said, ‘If you think it is wack, you can go home.’ If you think I’m being rude, to be disrespectful back isn’t right. Two wrongs don’t make a right,” Alexander says. “He said I could leave. I know I can leave. He can leave as well, but he chooses to be here because he loves to do what he’s doing. And that’s the same for me. Ryan just asked how I was feeling, and I was honest. I was upset.”

Even though newly engaged Cook ultimately was sent home in favor of fellow contestant Rayvon Owen, Alexander says he is not as “heartbroken” as he thought he would be that she was eliminated.

“My fear was that they’re going to pit both of us against each other [in the bottom two], but I was also very uncomfortable that I [got voted through] and she didn’t,” says Alexander. “But I’m happy that she gets to branch out and flourish now, because she is a monster. She gets the chance to fly now – to soar.”

Alexander hopes to put Wednesday night’s tension behind him, but don’t expect him to hold in his feelings as season 14 continues.

“This is a reality-TV show. People watch for the reality of it, and there are moments where life is not all rainbows and kittens,” he says. ” We all just have to remember to be honest with ourselves. And in that moment, I was being honest.”

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

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