03/27/2013 05:50 am ET

Keith Urban Recalls His Own Childhood Talent Show Experience On 'The Tonight Show' (VIDEO)

Keith Urban talked about why he tries to be gentle with the contestants on "American Idol." The Aussie country star was on "The Tonight Show" where he said he could relate to what they were going through. When he was nine-years old, Urban took part in an Australian talent show, "Pot of Gold." Of course, there was a picture of him as proof.

The experience wasn't a positive one, though it proved motivating. Urban said there was a judge on that show that was even harsher than Simon Cowell, and Urban had memorized his critique verbatim. The judge told him, "I desperately encourage you to escape the mediocrity. Get out of country and western, and get into some real music. Otherwise you’ll end up sounding like Dolly Parton and being absolutely useless."

Urban memorized it by listening to the recording of the show his parents had over and over. And it was because of that experience that he doesn't want to humiliate the "Idol" contestants. He may not have to worry about it, though, after this season.

Despite the star power of Urban, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey on the judging panel, ratings are down 18% this season. There are already rumors of an even more dramatic overhaul for the show next season that would include not only the entire judging panel, but host Ryan Seacrest as well.

For now, fans can watch Keith Urban being nice on "American Idol" every Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC.

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