The West

Keith Urban. Picture: Supplied

After sitting amongst bickering divas Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj on last season's American Idol, Aussie country superstar Keith Urban says he is enjoying the "superb" dynamic of the reality talent contest's new judging panel.

The only returning face from last year's line-up, the Nashville-based multiple Grammy winner is joined on season 13 by Jennifer Lopez, reprising the role she held in 2011 and 2012, and Harry Connick Jr, while original judge Randy Jackson replaces record company executive Jimmy Iovine as the in-house mentor.

"The very first night that we all met, it reminded me of the first night that I met Seal, Joel (Madden) and Delta (Goodrem) on The Voice Australia . . . it was the same kind of thing; we just clicked," Urban told Access All Areas ahead of the new season's premiere in the US on January 15.

"I probably met Jennifer very briefly, and then Harry very briefly, but I never really spent any time with both of them. And then we all went out to dinner - Randy and (host) Ryan (Seacrest) and a whole bunch of us - and we just clicked.

"And then the first day we walked on set and started doing the show, it was just incredible fun so I'm really looking forward to people getting to see it."

Urban, who brings his Light the Fuse Tour to Perth Arena on June 29, revealed he still kept in touch with his colleagues on The Voice, with Madden the only returning judge this year.

"Delta came out to see me play recently at the Hollywood Bowl. I got at an email from Joel a few weeks ago and we correspond with each other a little bit. And then I got an email from Seal maybe a couple of months ago as well, so it's nice," he said.

It's set to be a big start to the year for Urban, who is also a nominee in the 56th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on January 26.

The 46-year-old gun guitarist will feature on music's biggest night as a contender in the best country duo/group category for Highway Don't Care, his collaboration with Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift.

"Award shows are an intensive, nerve-wracking, anxious 24 hours. If you don't win, you're sort of bummed out for a few days but you get over it and get on with it," he said.

"Or even if you do win, it's sort of great for about the next week and then everybody's done and on to the next thing. They're just moments when the focus has to get back to the music as quickly as possible."

The 13th season of American Idol will be fast-tracked to Ten's digital channel Eleven, premiering on Thursday, January 16, at 7.30pm.

The West Australian

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