'American Idol' interview: Keith Urban talks about the Season 12 finalists and about whether he will return as a judge

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At times, "American Idol" Season 12 has seemed to be more about judges' drama than about singers. Rumors now indicate that the entire judging panel could follow Randy Jackson out the door at the end of the current season.

Is that the case? After the Wednesday finale performances, judge and country superstar Keith Urban talked about staying on as a judge as well as about Kree and Candice.


Would you want to come back next season as an "Idol" judge?

Keith Urban: I would, yeah. I mean I literally enjoy coming to work every day and that's a rarity.


What has the judging experience been like for you?

Keith Urban: It's funny. I think I'm judging just like I think everybody is judging. Everyone at home is judging us, judging them, judging everybody. I think it's more like being part record producer, part A&R person and an artist as well. So for me it's just about seeing things about [the singers] that are tiny little bits that they need to get rid of, because they get in the way of their true talent. They are just little bad habits when you're starting out -- just ways that they can get down to their truest essence. You chip away all the stuff that's there in the beginning.


Do you think Kree came into the finale with an advantage, being a country singer?

Keith Urban: I think if anything she had her work cut out for her because Candice has been doing exceptional performances the last few weeks. But I really feel like Kree stepped it up tonight and really made it a much more of a neck and neck race.


How were the original song choices for you?

Keith Urban: I felt like they were good. I was really taken with the original songs. Particularly Kree's. They were both really well-written songs. Kree's for me was the one that just hit me. It allowed her to be in a place where she has so much strength vocally, emotionally, so it was really quite a beautiful song.


Can you compare the strengths of the two finalists?

Keith Urban: In a lot of ways, as different as they are, they share a lot of similarities. I think that's why it was hard tonight. They have a lot of vulnerability and strength that are both apparent when they perform. They're both survivors. They both come from very rootsy, earthy, real families. And I think that's what's apparent in what they do.

There's no pageantry in either of them, that's why I love them both so much. They really sing from a real place. They sing because they need to sing, not because they want to be famous. They just have to sing. That's what they do and we're really lucky to have them.


What was the most moving moment for you all season?

Keith Urban: That Randy was leaving. It's true.

I found out when everyone else did. Literally. I bonded with Randy quickly because we're both [musical!] players. I joined an ensemble like this in the same way I'd join a band. I like being in a band, I like being in an ensemble, I like being in a team. And I felt that immediately with Ryan and Randy.


What are you performing during the Thursday finale?

Keith Urban: It's a song called "A Little Bit of Everything." It's the first single off the new album. I don't know when the album is coming out. Later in the year. It's just a song that I came upon. I love the feeling of it, the lyric and the groove. It really fit and I'm glad we got to do it.



Photo/Video credit: FOX