Keith Urban: Winning American Idol Doesn’t Guarantee Success

All season long, we’ve watched Keith Urban dole out advice to the American Idol contestants. There’s an art to being able to give someone specific guidelines on how to get better without hurting their feelings. And Urban does that so well.

But now that the show is just about eight weeks away from crowing its winner, I wondered what kind of advice Urban would give to the 13th American Idol. So during a Wednesday (April 2) phone interview, I asked.

“It’s what you do with this going forward now that’s going to make it either work or not work,” Urban told me. “Because winning Idol doesn’t automatically catapult you into the stratosphere.”

What should the winner do, then, to make it into that stratosphere?

“You have to then set about finding the songs and making the record,” he advised. “And you’ve got to go out and do all the interviews. You’ve gotta do the work. (Idol) can get you to the front of the line a little quicker, but it doesn’t mean that it’s gonna happen right away.”

Urban also said he’d give the same advice to the winner or any of the hopefuls.

“It’s really the same advice across the board,” he said.

As he pointed out, the winner isn’t the only one who will show up on the music industry’s doorstep. It’s not like the other top contenders will necessarily go back to their day jobs. Getting to the final months of the American Idol process usually means you belong somewhere in music.

“It’s been interesting with this show,” Urban said. “Over the years, we’ve seen just as much success come from the non-winners as the winners. That’s a testament to the people the judges have chosen over the years. It’s really what you make of it after the fact.”

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