OFFSTAGE: Keith Urban: American Idol Is American Dream

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Keith Urban took a break from judging the American Idol auditions Wednesday (Sept. 26) in Chicago to answer a few questions about his new gig. And one of the first things I asked him was how his journey (which he’s said before is so well captured by Waylon Jennings’ “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way”) into the music world was different from what a potential Idol’s journey would be. He said that really, it wasn’t all that different. “It’s similar in some ways. I mean, what I like about Idol is that it’s not just American Idol. It’s American Dream,” Urban told me. “You know, you can come from absolutely nothing, from the tiniest town, and have this happen to you.” And he’s no stranger to the world of talent shows, albeit a different generation of talent shows. “For me, I went on a few shows like this when I was really young, and they helped me a lot. In the end, I had to still get out there and really hone my craft and learn to do what I do,” he said. “But what’s the chance of a kid from Australia making it here?” So I think what Urban is saying is that if it could happen to him, it could happen to any of the thousands of hopefuls that filled Chicago’s Adler Planetarium.

And as for those hopefuls, I had to know if any of the contestants Urban had seen so far had done his own songs. He said that, yes, one man had done “Tonight I Wanna Cry” and that it was very good. I don’t know that man’s name, but already I have high hopes for him.