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Keith Urban on what it takes to win 'American Idol'

Keith Urban shares the judging panel with Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. in the thirteenth season of American Idol.  Credit: 2014 FOX Broadcasting. Keith Urban shares the judging panel with Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. in "American Idol" Season 13.
Credit: 2014 FOX Broadcasting

As a musician, Keith Urban has had his fair share of experiences in the spotlight. Now as a judge on "American Idol," he is able to share the advice he picked up along the way.

“The most important thing I wanted to be able to do was help them, because a lot of the times I see artists struggling with something that is very simple to fix,” Urban says. "In my case, it’s things that I’ve had to figure out how to do, how to perform properly, how to choose songs properly and I think a lot of that can be taught."

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Of course, it takes more than a few lessons with a mentor for these"Idol" hopefuls to come out on top. Raw talent is a huge factor when trying to break out into the music industry, and Urban, along with fellow judges Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez, are looking for a certain drive in the contestants.

“It’s not just about having the talent, it’s about having the passion for it,” Urban says. "Winning 'Idol' doesn’t automatically catapult you into the stratosphere. You have to then set about finding the songs and making a record, then you’ve got to go out and do all the interviews. You’ve got to be able to do all the work."

Now in his second season on the show, Australian native has learned that his advice doesn’t always apply: As artists, the contestants must be able to figure out what exactly works for them. "We can be offering all this advice," he explains, "but they also have individualism and originality about them, which can defy every single thing we are saying. They could go against every single thing and create something extraordinary."

Everything but country

With all of the different types of music genres represented on the show, country has had a strong presence in this season. As a country singer himself, Urban is most familiar with this type of music — but he doesn’t let that affect his judgment.

“I just respond to a feeling. It’s not even about genre. It’s got everything to do with the sense of believability and authenticity,” Urban says.

The top eight finalists of "American Idol" will perform songs from the 1980s Wednesday, at 8 p.m. on FOX.

 
 
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