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Keith Urban Returns to "American Idol" Tonight Beside Judges Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr.

Image courtesy of Michael Becker/FOX (via ABC News Radio)
Image courtesy of Michael Becker/FOX (via ABC News Radio)

Keith Urban is back for a second season judging American Idol starting Wednesday night. Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. are sitting next to him on the judges panel this season, and Keith is big fan of the way the two of them critique the contestants so far.

Keith describes Jennifer as "very maternal" yet "truthful" in her judging. He says, "She's smart as a whip, and I think she's the best out of all three of us at knowing how to deliver something in a really nice way."

On the other hand, Keith says Harry can be a bit tough on the contestants, which is ultimately good for them as they go forward in the competition.

"I'm sure if I came on the show, Harry would be the guy that I would want to impress because he's not easily impressed, like, at all," Keith explains. "You need guys like Harry to have everybody keep stepping it up."

So far in the process, Keith and his fellow judges have been looking for singers that can connect with the audience through their voice, style or movement onstage.

Keith adds, "The great ones have all of it. Great voice, great look, great move -- They're just captivating. They're just swimming in charisma."

And if you were turned off by all the drama and infighting that surrounded American Idol last season, Ryan Seacrest has a message for you: the show you loved is back.

"For those parents and kids -- families -- who watch the show throughout the years, their American Idol 's back on this year," the host tells ABC News Radio. "I mean, this is a show for everybody. There is an electricity between all the judges, there's this incredible respect for one another, and they're really good at picking out talent. They've picked some great guys and girls."

American Idol 's 13th season launches Wednesday night at 8 ET on FOX.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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