Keith Urban makes his debut on the American Idol judges panel Wednesday night along with his fellow newbies Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey and Idol veteran Randy Jackson . Stories about intense disagreements on the judges panel has dominated the news coming out of this season's audition round, and Keith admits it took the new panelists awhile to warm up to each other. In fact, Keith had never met Mariah or Nicki until a dinner with all the judges the night before their first round of auditions.
He says, "The next day we showed up on the set, and we sat behind the desk, and the next thing we know, they're like, 'OK, and off we go.' And we're doing it."
It came as quite a shock to Keith to just jump right into the judging process.
"I thought, 'Well, surely we'll have some fake contestants first, you know, coming through, and then they'll bring out the real artists,' Keith explains. "Nope! That was it. We're diving into it."
Each of the judges comes from a different point of view in the music world, and those diverse backgrounds made for very different opinions on which contestants should advance through the audition round. That situation is bound to cause some fireworks on camera.
Keith says, "I mean, you've got four very passionate artists all sort of thrown onto a dance floor and they're saying, 'OK, dance together in perfect synchronized movements.' We stepped on a few toes at the beginning while we're getting our groove on."
He adds, "We're a passionate lot. No question."
American Idol 's 12th season debuts with a two-night premiere Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern time each night on Fox.
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