Keith Urban Comments on Return to ‘American Idol’

Keith Urban

Getty Keith Urban

Country music superstar Keith Urban is set to return to “American Idol” for the season 21 finale. And to the four-time judge, it’s an “incredible” opportunity.

That’s what he told People in a recent interview. On Sunday, Urban will fill a mentor role for the three finalists, Megan Danielle, Colin Stough and Iam Tongi, while also performing his single “Wild Hearts,” which he released last year.

“To be able to come in as a mentor, and play as well, is incredible,” he said. “That was home for me for several seasons, and the mentoring part is probably one of the things I always enjoyed the most, getting to work with the artist one-on-one.”

From 2013 to 2016, Urban was a judge on the last stretch of “American Idol” seasons that appeared on Fox — 12 through 15 — before it moved over to ABC. Urban also explained why “Wild Hearts” was the perfect song for him to perform on the occasion.

“I chose it because I think it really lyrically suits the journey that these artists are all on, and getting to play on that stage with my band is going to feel great,” Urban said.

“A lot of people who watch the show have dreams and aspirations, and they’re either pursuing those or they’ve put them on hold, and they just need a reminder to get back on that track again,” Urban continued. “The song is definitely an anthemic call to following your dreams, for sure.”

Urban Reiterated How Important Self-Belief Is for the ‘American Idol’ Final Three

The four-time Grammy winner also spoke with Billboard ahead of his “American Idol” return about how an up-and-coming artist should handle advice from a mentor.

“I think a big part of growing as an artist is knowing what advice to take but also knowing what advice to completely discard, no matter who is saying it to you,” Urban said. “Your path and creative expression may be something so incredibly unique that it just breaks every rule. So I’m a big believer in looking for the strength of an artist — the passion, hunger, curiosity and dedication to it. And at the end of the day, you have to believe in yourself and the journey that you are on. It’s the only thing that will navigate you through all of the shine blockers and the naysayers out there.

Danielle, Stough and Tongi Are Tasked to Sing One of Urban’s Songs

One of the challenges the final three will be tasked with on finale night is to deliver one of Urban’s songs. And he told the outlet that he’ll be looking for them to perform their own rendition rather than be a “cover singer” — unless that route really shows off their vocal chops.

“I love somebody doing their own interpretation of a song,” Urban said. “I would be making sure that they don’t do a straight cover unless [that] version brings out the best in them. You just don’t want to be a cover singer. You want to show that you’re an artist with your own artistry. I’m gonna be interested to see what songs they choose.

“I think they’ve each chosen two or three songs of mine and we’ll narrow that down to the one that they’ll do.”