'American Idol' will hit the air for its 13th season on Jan. 15, and along with the new contestants comes a new panel of judges.

After becoming the last judge standing from last season's panel (with the departure of Nicki Minaj, Randy Jackson and Mariah Carey), Keith Urban admits the new selection of judges is everything he hoped it would be.

Jennifer Lopez returns to the show following a hiatus, while rookie judge Harry Connick, Jr. was added to the mix, as well. Bounding back from a season full of catty drama, Urban admits that he sensed the positive chemistry between the new judges before they even sat down to tape the show.

"Before the cameras started rolling, I knew we had the chemistry and the synergy that I hoped we could get behind the desk," the country singer tells MLive. "It’s really enjoyable to go to work."

Plus, Urban found easy camaraderie in Connick. "He has such a wonderfully twisted view of things. I’m right in sync with that for some weird reason as well," Urban explains. "We’re having a blast. He feels like my long-lost brother. He really does."

Even 'American Idol' host Ryan Seacrest -- who has been with the show since its genesis -- admits that the show's panel had good chemistry this season, and they're the type of panel that laughs together and really gets along.

In addition to the all-star judging lineup, Urban is also just excited about finding America's next idol. "I really love being a part of finding somebody ... Yesterday, we had 160 people or something in (laughs), just mind-numbing amounts of vocalists," he reveals. "But when someone walks on stage and starts singing something and it just Oof! It gets your attention. Then I’m really interested in whatever guidance we can offer them."

Adds the 'Little Bit of Everything' hitmaker, "I love helping somebody grow, and watching them grow. Not to sound cheesy but, the thing I’ve loved about watching 'Idol' is seeing a diamond-in-the-rough talent. They’ve got nothing going on, except they’ve got 'It.' They’ve got something."

Hopefully, the 'Idol' contestants will prove to be as exciting as the judges in spring 2014. It's definitely going to be a season to watch. Connick says to "expect the unexpected," and we certainly will -- from the talent and the judges!

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