Jennifer Lopez Explains 'Idol' Breakdown

The Idol judge explains why rejecting Chris Medina was so difficult and says she feels "vulnerable" showing so much emotion

Many American Idol viewers were shocked by Jennifer Lopez's emotional breakdown on Wednesday night's elimination episode -- but the new judge says she was more surprised than anyone by her reaction.

"This is all new to me," Lopez explained to Ryan Seacrest on his KIIS-FM radio show Thursday. "I'm used to having a script in a movie, or a big performance with a cane and a microphone, and I have all kinds of stuff going on," she said. "You're (not always) getting me."

Turns out her new gig is much more personal.

Idol hopeful Chris Medina won over audiences early on, when he shared that his fiancee had been in a terrible car crash not long before their scheduled wedding. And when it came time for Lopez to break the news to the fan favorite that he hadn't made it into the Top 24, her emotions got the best of her.

"I didn't break down when he was there necessarily, I did it afterwards after he left," Lopez said. "It really hit me. I just couldn't believe I had to deliver this news to this person who I felt had been through a lot, and is going through a lot, and I felt like I didn't do it well enough for him." 

Lopez says that part of the difficulty came from her lack of time to prepare for the meeting with Medina.

"As we were going down the list, I didn't realize I had to tell him," she said. "All of the sudden it was my turn and I was like, 'Oh gosh, how am I going to say this?' At the end of the day we had to do our job, which was to pick the top 12 guys and he wasn't in it. And that was tough to do because you had grown to have so much respect for him as a person." 

Taking the news well, Medina thanked the judges for everything before he left -- which only made it harder for Lopez.

"He handled it with such dignity and so much class, and that made it worse for me," she said. "I was like 'Oh, he's so awesome, I respect this person so much.'"

As for putting herself out there emotionally, Lopez says Idol has definitely shown the world a new side to her.

"This is the first experience ... where I feel like people are getting to know who I am as a person," she said. "It's such a vulnerable place to be." 

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