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Keith Urban: I'm Pulling for the Nashville Contestants During American Idol Auditions

Keith Urban at American Idol Auditions in Nashville
Keith Urban
Steve Granitz/Wireimage

updated 08/06/2014 AT 04:30 PM EDT

originally published 08/06/2014 AT 11:30 AM EDT

The young singers auditioning for the 14th season of American Idol in Nashville this week weren't the only ones feeling the heat: Keith Urban admitted he was pulling for the people of Music City to wow fellow judges Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr.

"There's definitely a sense of pride for me in Nashville," he told PEOPLE Country as nervous contestants were shepherded into the cavernous Music City Center. "I want everyone here to walk in and kill these guys. I want Nashville to bring it."

"Being in a music center like Nashville sets the bar high," Lopez said, pointing toward the Country Music Hall of Fame across the street. "The people on the building there – Dolly, Elvis, Taylor, Miranda Lambert – they're huge stars."

Unfortunately, most of the nearly 100 survivors of last week's open call (and the subsequent screening by the show's executive producers) didn't exactly set the stage on fire on day one of the judges' auditions.



"Good, not great," pronounced Connick. "What you really want at the end of the day is to go back to the hotel, and say to each other, 'You know what, that kid, the one with the purple hair, that kid was amazing.' You want to get excited."

Keith Urban: I'm Pulling for the Nashville Contestants During American Idol Auditions| Nashville, American Idol, Country, American Idol, Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban

From left: Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr.

Michael Becker / FOX

Even so, it was a fun day for the judges, reuniting for the first time since season 13 wrapped in May.

"It's great to get together with the other people on the show," said Connick. "We don't see each other much away from it so Monday was like a reunion, catching up with each other, hanging out. I'm looking forward to getting to the round in my hometown. If we had time, I'd take them to my dad's house for a crawfish boil. It's all about the food in New Orleans!"

American Idol returns to FOX in January 2015.



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