(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)
You know how the whole idea of American Idol is to take crazy numbers of hopefuls and eventually narrow it down to the one who is the very best star? Well, I think that’s what they’ve just done by putting Keith Urban at the judges’ table. I mean, think about it. In Idol’s first 11 seasons, they have had seven judges — Simon Cowell , Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, Kara DioGuardi, Ellen DeGeneres, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez. And if you count the occasional guest judges — Lionel Richie, Robin Gibb, Donna Summer, Quentin Tarantino, Gene Simmons, LL Cool J, Jewel, Olivia Newton-John, Neil Patrick Harris, Shania Twain, Victoria Beckham, Avril Lavigne and Katy Perry — that brings the total number of celebs who sat in judgment to 20. But now we have Urban. And if you were to look at all the judges who have come before him as contestants, I think it’s obvious that Urban will be the standout among them. He has what the judges of seasons past have called the “whole package” — good looks, talent that runs very deep, an easy rapport with his audience and then, you know, that Australian accent. Which will make even his harshest critiques of contestants, if he has any, sound charming. This 12th season of American Idol is going to be its best one yet.