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‘American Idol’ Producer Hints at Search for Country Judge

Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Brad Paisley is reportedly being courted to join the judges on “American Idol” and while the singer-songwriter has yet to confirm or deny whether he’ll fill one of the seats recently vacated by Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, the executive producer of the TV talent show, Nigel Lythgoe, hopes to fill the spot with a reigning country star.

“Country IS America,” Lythgoe stressed to the Hollywood Reporter, noting the successful, long-lasting careers of country acts who first appeared on the show compared to the shorter stints of pop artists the competition has spawned. He also added that he wants the new judge to be a current entertainment icon who is still churning out chart-topping hits.

Brad isn’t the first country star invited to the judges’ table. Toby Keith was asked to join the show but has since declined the offer.

Country stars already have strong presence when it comes to TV singing competitions. Blake Shelton returns this fall for a third season as a coach on “The Voice,” while Keith Urban also joined the cast of the same show in Australia. Most recently, Sugarland‘s Jennifer Nettles took her singing protégé, J Rome, to the winning slot on “Duets.”

If Brad should choose to head to the “Idol” set later this year, he has the full support of season 10 runner-up, Lauren Alaina. “I think that would be really cool,” she told CMT. “He has a great personality and every time I’ve talked with him he’s been super nice. He is really cool. I think that would be a good move for the show.”

While we await word on whether or not he’ll join returning judge Randy Jackson and newcomer Mariah Carey for “Idol’”s twelfth season, Brad continues his Virtual Reality tour, with season 10 “Idol” champ Scotty McCreery serving as his opening act. Keep track of his tour schedule here.

Watch a Report on Brad’s “Idol” Rumors

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Watch Brad Paisley’s ‘Remind Me’ Video With Carrie Underwood



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