OFFSTAGE: Will Keith Urban Stay or Will He Go?

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

The American Idol auditions have already started for next season. But even though the contestants may be ready and willing to sing for the judges, does Idol even have judges picked out yet? According to Ryan Seacrest, maybe. When he was in San Francisco for auditions recently, he told a local news station what little he could about Keith Urban’s fate. “I was with Keith yesterday. We embraced and said to each other, ’I hope we get to spend a lot of time together.’ He’s a great guy and has become a very good friend. I think, based on what I have heard, the audience that watches American Idol is going to be very excited about the panel that we’ve put together for this season 13,” he said, adding, “You’ll see some good chemistry this year.” So it’s not like he said Urban was staying or leaving. But if you read between the lines of Seacrest’s “I hope we get to spend a lot of time together,” you might hear, “I hope we get to spend a lot of audition time together in cities all over America while you stay at the judges’ table with the yet-to-be-named new judges.” I mean, at least that’s what I heard.

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