Keith Urban Reveals His Own Singing Contest Past

Sandwiched between his fellow new American Idol judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban managed to get a few words in edgewise at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif., yesterday (Jan. 8), when the hit Fox singing competition held its panel presentation.

Keith admitted that he had competed on no less than three singing competitions in Australia as a youngster, including one called Stairway to the Stars, so he is able to empathize with the young contestants on Idol. He also noted that criticism has served as inspiration for his career. 

“I think it’s a little bit like the fuel for the fire for an artist, it’s often not the people who believe in us and tell us positive things. It’s often the people who are negative,” Keith said. “The people that said, ‘You’ll never do this. You can’t do that.’ Those people have actually been far more influential in my motivation to achieve things. And so, hopefully, the way in which we say no to each of these artists is done in a way where it’s not brutal or cold or callous. It’s just being truthful for an artist that’s got to hear it.”

After the press conference Country Weekly asked Keith, who also served as a judge/coach on the Australian version of The Voice, to compare the shows. Keith said he didn’t approach the competitions differently even though they have different formats. “I’m still moved by the same things and I still want to give the same kind of advice and it’s just subjective anyway. If nothing else I’m just looking for the artist that has a sense of who they are.”

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