Keith Urban will make his debut as a judge on "American Idol" in less than two weeks. The country music superstar, who joins new judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, as well as veteran judge Randy Jackson, says he felt it was important for him to add the TV show to his already busy schedule.

"I wanted to do 'Idol' because I love the opportunity to not only help somebody, but when you see somebody come in with raw talent and you know that with just a little bits of shaping and guidance they can totally blossom over the course of the whole series," he explains. "That's the exciting stuff."

A former coach on Australia's version of "The Voice," Keith believes strongly in what his new show represents. "I think 'American Idol' has influenced the culture in a huge way," he notes. "The music industry is so influenced by what 'Idol' does. They can take an artist from the tiniest little town and expose them to millions of people, and really slingshot them into stardom. You've got all the shows now that are compared to 'American Idol,' and 'American Idol' still has bona fide stars that have come from there, and have really solid careers."

The New Zealand-born, Australian-bred star says the show reminds him why he traveled halfway around the world to pursue his own passion. "'American Idol' really personifies the American Dream," Keith adds "It is what brought me all the way to America. It completely provides that for someone who's come from nothing. They just have raw talent and a hunger to be a real artist, and the show completely gives them that chance."

"American Idol" will kick off its 12th season on Jan. 16 and 17 at 8:00 PM ET on FOX. Keith will perform a series of shows in Australia later this month, and will kick off his North American tour on July 18 in Cincinnati, Ohio, with Little Big Town and Dustin Lynch serving as his opening acts. Keep track of all of his upcoming shows here.

Watch Keith Respond to 'American Idol' Drama

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