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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Idol judge Keith Urban plays peacemaker on set

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NEW YORK -- American Idol season 12 tapings are just getting under way and Keith Urban has already become more than just a judge: he's also the pacifier on the newly-minted panel.

"We're all passionate people and we're learning a new dance and we're all a work in progress," Urban said Wednesday at the New York Film Festival gala honouring his wife, Nicole Kidman. He likened his role on Idol to that of the United Nations.

Rumours of drama between fellow judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey began to swirl as soon as the new panel was announced. A blurry web video released Tuesday by TMZ.com shows what appears to be an argument between Minaj and Carey, spurring on gossip of discontent.

But Urban insisted the group, which also includes veteran judge Randy Jackson, is "getting along." The new season of the Fox singing competition premieres in January.

In the web video Urban is seen raising his hands in defeat next to a seemingly furious Minaj, who is shouting obscenities. A composed Carey is heard saying, "Why do I have a three-year-old sitting around me?"

When asked what it feels like to be stationed between the dueling divas Urban cracked a wry smile.

"Best seat in the house," he said.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 5, 2012 D2

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