'American Idol' is getting serious, and judge and country star Keith Urban is aware of how tough the competition can be. He says that dynamic can make it even harder for contestants to open up.

Despite the fact that things are getting serious, Urban says he's seeing all remaining contestants grow. The younger ones lack life experience but he's able to see them grow week to week.

“I think in cases like... Sam (Woolf), you know, he’s 17 and he’s got this incredible voice. But there’s a life experience thing that’s got to come into play," Urban tells E! News. "You know what’s great is we’re actually seeing little bits of that happening week to week because of what happens off-camera, what these guys are going through, being away from home."

'Idol' fans don't get to see everything that happens though, which includes behind-the-scenes rivalries."There’s friendliness but you’ve got the rivalry too, I mean lets not deny it. It’s 'The 'Hunger Games.'"

Thursday night's (April 17) 'Idol' was memorable, maybe even shocking. The final two came down to Dexter Roberts and Jessica Meuse. Urban looked beyond surprised when Seacrest announced that the country-leaning Roberts would be going home. "Oh my gosh," he said open-jawed as it was announced.

Watch Keith Urban's Reaction to Dexter Roberts' Elimination