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Tim McGraw Critiques Keith Urban's 'Idol' Judging Skills

The country superstar also dismisses the idea of joining the judges' panel himself: "I don't think I'd be diplomatic enough."

Tim McGraw Keith Urban - H 2013
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Tim McGraw and Keith Urban.

Now that Keith Urban has completed his first -- and possibly only -- stint as a judge on American Idol, the question loom: Will he return for another season?

Urban has said he is willing. But his status remains to be seen (especially following the post-finale ratings numbers). All told, Tim McGraw, Urban's friend and country music colleague, has nothing but praise for the panelist, a favorite of the show's largely female audience for his gentle manner, expressive chair-dancing and muscle-hugging T-shirts.

"I've known Keith forever so I just think he's just one of the greatest, coolest guys in the business," McGraw tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I think he's doing great. He's way more diplomatic than I think I could ever be. He's really a nice guy."

McGraw, who resists the idea of joining the Idol panel because he's not one to sugarcoat criticism, says Urban "knows what he's talking about, which is the coolest thing."

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McGraw is currently on tour in support of his latest album Two Lanes of Freedom, which includes the song "Highway Don't Care" featuring Urban and Taylor Swift. All three reunite for the two-hour concert special Tim McGraw's Summer Night, which airs Sunday on CBS and will benefit the Academy of Country Music charity Lifting Lives. Other participants include: McGraw's wife, Faith HillJason Aldean; Dierks Bentley; Lady Antebellum; The Band Perry; and two other artists who aren't typically associated with country, Ne-Yo and Pitbull.

In agreeing to host the TV event, McGraw pushed for relevancy rather than a standard Nashville-centric homage to a fellow country musician.

"I wanted it to be not a tribute to an artist -- I wanted it to be about current music," he explains. "Music that people are listening to. Music that I was listening to -- what was going on on the road, what was happening in different genres of music."

The singer-actor credits his three daughters with Hill for exposing him to new artists he wouldn't otherwise listen to.

"My kids really turned me on to a lot of stuff because I'm in the car a lot driving high school cheerleaders around to practice," says McGraw, name-checking Mumford & Sons and also a certain British boy band: "My girls love One Direction. They're really good. They're really talented - great voices."

Twitter: @ErinLCarlson

Email: erin.carlson@thr.com