American Idol judges search for talent in Salt Lake City

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SALT LAKE CITY -- What do Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. have in common? They’re all American Idol judges, and they were in Salt Lake City the past couple of days.

American Idol Season 13 auditions were first held in Salt Lake City back in July. The field was narrowed down, and for the last two days the American Idol judges have been in town listening to contestants and giving some of them the coveted golden ticket to Hollywood.

FOX 13 News caught up with the judges and host Ryan Seacrest Thursday afternoon and asked them how the Utah talent was stacking up compared to other cities.

Harry Connick Jr. said: “We saw a lot of great talent locally, which was really cool because, frankly, you don’t think of Salt Lake City as a music town. You just don’t, and I think all of us are pleasantly surprised.”

Jennifer Lopez added: “In comparison to some of the other cities as well, we are blown away. It was a lot of people that we put through, we wound up putting through that we think could really go the distance.”

When it comes to judging, Keith Urban said they look at everything about the contestant.

“Everything is important,” he said. “Everything is, the song, the way you sing, the way you look, everything, your confidence level.”

And they said it’s the differences they see in each contestant that could be enough to send them to the Hollywood round.

“I think the show's been on for a while, we've seen all different types of Idols, and at the end of the day there's gonna be somebody who shows up who not only has an amazing voice, but who has an amazing point of view who just has some type of magic to them that is unlike anybody else, and that's what I think we're always looking for,” Lopez said.

There’s one Utah trait host Ryan Seacrest said he’s seen a lot of.

“There are a lot of huggers here in Salt Lake City,” he said. “I've given a lot of hugs here, and I enjoy it.”

The American Idol public relations team tells FOX 13 News they can’t reveal exactly how many golden tickets were handed out in Salt Lake City, but they did say there were “lots” in the last two days. The new season of American Idol starts January on FOX 13.