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Keith Urban Insists Even Reality TV Stars Pay Their Dues

Keith Urban
Royce DeGrie, Getty Images

While some country artists — namely Eric Church — have been outspoken with negative thoughts about reality television talent competitions, Keith Urban can be added to the growing list of superstars in full support of the alternative road to success.

“These guys aren’t getting an easy ride, Urban tells Australia’s Herald Sun of those who compete on such shows. “I don’t know what sort of courage it takes to get up there — the idea of doing that is something I find so intimidating and nerve-racking.”

Urban would know. The ‘For You’ singer had a front row seat to see the courage and nerve it takes to remain composed under the pressure, given his celebrity mentor role on the first season of Australia’s version of ‘The Voice.’ That’s why the native defends many of his friends and country peers who have risen to superstar status through small screen success.

“A lot of people are so quick to say that’s a cop-out, you have to work the pubs and clubs to pay your dues, but honestly, if we didn’t have to, would we?” Urban asks. ”Nobody wants to go and starve for 10 years. Nobody chooses that. That was just my lot. That’s what it took for me.”

Speaking on the “different levels” of paying dues, Urban says, “Maybe it’s in front of an arena full of people instead of a pub full of people. Wherever it is, you’re still learning in the trenches. For me the trenches were tiny little pubs and clubs in front of very few people and it slowly got bigger and bigger and bigger.”

And unlike the success of current superstars Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton and Scotty McCreery — who all found the path to country music thanks to shows like ‘American Idol,’ ‘Nashville Star’ and ‘The Voice’ — Urban knows the difference between winning a competition and earning respect as an artist.

“Nowadays it might be just on television in front of millions of people — that’s where you are going to fall on your a– or you are going to rise to the occasion,” the singer says candidly.

Unfortunately, Urban and his teammate didn’t win the first season ‘The Voice’ Down Under. No word on if the Aussie native will return for the show’s second season.

See 'American Idol' Singers - Then and Now

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