OFFSTAGE: Keith Urban Tries to Tell Country Singer No

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

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Nicki Minaj has probably never heard Carrie Underwood ’s 2010 hit “Mama’s Song.” But Keith Urban has. So when American Idol contestant Sarah Restuccio tried to sing it on Wednesday night’s (Jan. 16) season premiere, he knew better. If you knew the song, like he did, you’d know what a terrible job she did on it. Urban was in the minority, though, so Minaj and fellow judges Randy Jackson and Mariah Carey kind of bullied him into voting her through to Hollywood. At the end, Urban just said, “When you sang the first song, I didn’t quite feel it from you. So my feeling is I’m not sure who you are yet.”

Other advice and commentary Urban had for the Idol rookies was a mix of really kind and kind of real, including:

“You need to come out of your shell, brother.”

“I think you’re a natural singer.”

“I like your big voice, I hear a lot of who you are.”

“You obviously love Tom Jones.”

“That’s more in your wheelhouse.”

“Do it anyway.”

“I loved the vulnerability in your voice. The humanity coming through — unfiltered.”

“The whole package didn’t feel like it wasn’t quite there.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.