Keith Urban Is Making A Comeback To ‘American Idol’

15 May 2023 | 2:29 pm | Ellie Robinson

“If you come on the show, you’re part of the 'American Idol' alumni.”

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As many of his fans will be acutely aware, Keith Urban lent his unique Aussie voice to the American Idol judging panel from 2012 to 2016. It’s been a long seven years since he stepped down from the role, but this year, he’ll be making a well-earned comeback.

Announced on the show’s Instagram page over the weekend, Urban will appear as a mentor and a guest performer on the 2023 season finale. It’s set to air live in the US this Sunday (May 21) – Australian fans are sadly being left in the dust with no official way to watch the show locally, however those with a VPN active can stream it on Hulu come next Monday morning. 

In a statement shared with Billboard, Megan Michaels Wolflick (American Idol’s executive producer and showrunner) declared that “if you come on the show, you’re part of the American Idol alumni”. He continued: “You are part of our history. This show has changed lives in so many different ways. I think American Idol is now like the NFL, where people train their [whole] lives to come on the show. It’s now bigger than a TV show. It’s something you can aspire to be a part of – young singers are born every day.”

As the publication reported, Urban will guide the top three contestants in the grand final through their live performances, with one ultimately being crowned the 2023 American Idol. In addition to his one-off role as a mentor, Urban will perform his own song, Wild Hearts, for the audience. The finale will be a special three-hour event, with more performers set to be announced this week.

Urban is currently midway through a lengthy Las Vegas residency, where he’s performing regularly at the Colosseum (inside Caesars Palace) through to the start of July. He’s played eight of the scheduled dates thus far, with the remaining eight kicking off on Friday June 16. 

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Earlier in May, Urban performed at the 2023 Academy of Country Music Awards (ACM Awards), joining the likes of Ed Sheeran, Dolly Parton (who also co-hosted the ceremony), Jelly Roll and more. Big winners on the night included HARDY, Cole Swindell, Lainey Wilson and Morgan Wallen.

Last year saw Urban drop three standalone singles – Nightfalls, Brown Eyes Baby and Street Called Main – following the 2021 release of his song Wild Hearts. His last full-length effort was The Speed Of Now Part 1, with its follow-up – Urban’s 12th studio album altogether – expected to arrive sometime before the year’s end. Last year, it was confirmed he’d sold the master recordings for his first ten albums.