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Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr.: 'American Idol' judges share 'weird' bond


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Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr.: 'American Idol' judges share 'weird' bond

By Stephen L. Betts. CREATED Jan 6, 2014

Keith Urban's January will be, to borrow one of his song titles, a "little bit of everything." On Thursday, Jan. 9, the third leg of the superstar entertainer's Light the Fuse tour kicks off in Grand Rapids, Mich., and on Wednesday, Jan. 15, he's back at the judges' table on "American Idol," teamed with Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. Although Jennifer is returning to the show after a season away, during which Keith was paired with Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson, it's the first season for newbie Harry Connick Jr. But the two guys are getting along famously.

"He has such a wonderfully twisted view of things," Keith tells of the New Orleans musician. "I’m right in sync with that for some weird reason as well. We’re having a blast. He feels like my long-lost brother. He really does."

Far from just being a singing competition, Keith and his fellow judges see "Idol" as an opportunity for them to mentor young talent -- especially those contestants looking for constructive criticism from the pros.

"That’s something that Harry, Jen and I feel strongly about is not just giving an opinion on somebody, and not offering any way to help," Keith said, while on his way to Pasadena, Calif., for the show's Hollywood week rounds. "Some of these cuts you have to make … every now and then, one of these guys or girls would say, 'Tell me why. Tell me what I could have done differently. Give me something to work on when I get home.' And that’s fantastic. Not all do that. Some of them get devastated or mortified or upset or whatever. The ones that ask that question, I’m always interested in."

Keith's Light the Fuse tour will also be in Chicago and Minneapolis this weekend, with opening acts Dustin Lynch and Little Big Town. The trek the heads to Canada for several shows. See a list of tour dates here.

Stephen L. Betts

Stephen L. Betts

Stephen L. Betts ("Steve") is a Nashville-based journalist who started his career as a tour guide, karaoke operator and library assistant at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.