The success of American Idol's grand experiment — attempting to revive the judges' panel in the show's 12th season with the addition of Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey and Keith Urban — is debatable at best, with the feud between Carey and Minaj creating more of an annoying distraction than entertaining television. But the show definitely deserves two thumbs up for hiring Urban. The country crooner is hands down our favorite judge on the panel — and it's not just because he's easy on the eyes and has an adorable Australian accent. (Though those certainly don't hurt.) Whether he's dancing in his chair during a song or complimenting a finalist on the technical merits of his or her performance, sharing a private chuckle with BFF Minaj or keeping his mouth shut when Minaj, Carey and Randy Jackson are all shouting over each other, Urban is our go-to guy for a calming presence during the craziness that is American Idol. Here are some of the other reasons we love him:
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1. He's not afraid to loosen up a little.
2. The way he rocked out to Amber Holcomb and Kree Harrison covering Adele's "Rumor Has It"
3. His "we're not worthy" reaction to Candice Glover's "Lovesong" performance
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4. He may feel like a "scratching post" between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey, but he recognizes the absurdity of their feud.
5. He had the best/most appropriate reaction to Zoanette Johnson. (Remember her?)
6. Sometimes you can't tell whether he loves or hates a performance until he gives a verbal critique.
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7. He admits when he's made a mistake (i.e. using the phrase "Amber Alert" to give positive feedback to Amber Holcomb, or initially neglecting to include Candice Glover in his Top 3)
8. He's the only judge whose been willing to step out from behind the table and perform on the show this season.
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American Idol airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c on Fox.