*Mary J. Blige put in work this week on “American Idol,” first as a co-mentor to the contestants alongside Interscope Records head Jimmy Iovine, and then, as a musical guest during Thursday night’s results show.

In an interview shortly after contestant Jeremy Rosado was sent packing, she told us she was blown away by the talent of this year’s finalists, which made her experience as a mentor all the more rewarding.

“I like to see people win,” she said. “When they’re talented and they work really hard, I just really want to work with them. I just really want them to get the best. All of these contestants on this show are super talented; they really, really want it. They work really hard, so it just makes me want to go the extra mile — and tell them the truth.”

Below, Mary J says she can personally relate to the dreams of the contestants, which made it much easier for her to give them that honest feedback, whether it was positive or negative.

During Thursday’s live broadcast, Blige performed her single “Why?” from the album “My Life II: The Journey Continues (Act 1),” released in November.

“’Why’ means so much, because in life and in so many relationships, we wonder why when we hit a certain bump or when we’re doing something wrong, why things can’t work out,” explained the 41-year-old Bronx native. “I just know that so many people are going through that right now.”

Watch her “American Idol” performance of “Why” below.