Toby Keith Turns Down ‘American Idol’ Gig

Country star says he was approached earlier this month to join show but declined.

Maybe Charlie Sheen’s name will get into the mix after all. While “American Idol” has nailed down Mariah Carey for the upcoming season, one of the other rumored new judges, irascible country star Toby Keith, has reportedly turned down the chance.

Keith’s name was thrown onto the pile of potential replacements for departed judge Steven Tyler earlier this month after the Aerosmith singer announced the end of his two-year tenure on the show. But in an upcoming interview in the Inland Empire Weekly, the “American Ride” singer said he turned “Idol” brass down when they approached him in early July because he’s too busy to commit half a year to the gig.

Keith, who has a more gruff demeanor than “The Voice” judge Blake Shelton, proved he has some small-screen chops when he co-hosted the CMT Music Awards in June, but he said he’d rather use his time to tour and work on music than appear on “Idol.”

That still leaves the door open for another hat-wearing country superstar: Brad Paisley . Earlier this week it was reported that Fox is “seriously considering” extending an offer to the Grammy-winning singer who dueted with “Idol” winner Carrie Underwood on the song “Remind Me.”

Paisley, who appeals to a Southern, country-lovin’ demo that has embraced such boot-scooting “Idol” singers as Underwood, Scotty McCreery, Kellie Pickler and Lauren Alaina, recently invited McCreery to join him on a tour that would wrap before hosting duties for season 12 begin in early 2013.

If he signs on, Paisley would join Carey and possibly sole remaining original judge Randy Jackson on the panel.

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