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Toby Keith Allegedly Turns Down ‘American Idol’ Judge Role

Toby Keith
Greg Watermann

The ‘American Idol’ rumor mill is turning again, and this time, Toby Keith is the person of interest. Word has it that in an upcoming cover story for Inland Empire Weekly, the ‘Beers Ago’ singer dishes that he was asked to sit in the judges’ panel for the upcoming ‘Idol’ season, but he turned them down.

The story was originally reported by, who also hinted that Keith would have taken former judge Steven Tyler‘s place on the show. The popular country star reportedly said no, however, because he is too busy touring and making new music to commit to judging a reality TV show.

This is the second time recently that a country star has been rumored to have been asked to join the show. Just this week, it was announced that ‘Idol’ execs wanted Brad Paisley to fill one of the slots left vacant when former judges Jennifer Lopez and Tyler both moved on from the show.

It’s not surprising that producers would want to get a country star in one of the coveted judges’ chairs. Country music has exploded on the pop culture show in recent years, with current stars like Carrie Underwood, Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina and Skylar Laine all getting their start in the music business after appearing on ‘American Idol.’ Not to mention the fact that NBC and ‘The Voice’ are having immense success with country’s own Blake Shelton providing weekly entertainment. Strategically, it would only make sense to place a popular crooner like Paisley or Keith on the panel to appeal to country music-loving viewers.

The ‘I Like Girls That Drink Beer’ hitmaker would definitely fit the profile of a tell-it-like-it-is judge for the show. Keith is known for standing up and speaking out, making his opinions known to everyone around him. For now, it appears the ‘Idol’ judges will have to focus their efforts on another country star — Paisley.

See 'American Idol' Stars Then and Now

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