As speculation continues as to who the third American Idol judge might be, country artists have allegedly been considered, including Brad Paisley and, it turns out, Toby Keith.

Toby isn’t dancing around the topic, though: he’s taking the bull by the horns. And unfortunately, for fans of the honkier, tonkier side of the reality TV program, there is no room on his “American Ride” for American Idol.

The news is revealed through Look at OKC and Keith’s publicist, Elaine Schock, that although Keith is flattered by the proposal, he must decline the offer at this time. He names Idol’s demanding schedule as one of the main reasons behind the decision.

And if this wasn’t already direct, the Examiner learned that Keith admitted in an upcoming Inland Empire Weekly cover story that he wasn’t much of a singing reality TV show fan, and when he does have time to sit in front of the tube, he prefers to watch sports.

And finally, Got Country quotes him as saying that he loves “the balance between workin and not workin,” and that the Idol gig would mean “working and working more.” Ten years ago, he says, “I might have had the energy to work that much, but it’s not in my day now.”

Although Keith may have no interest in a position on the show, it seems logical the next judge should be a country artist. American Idol has, after all, produced plenty of country talent over the years, most notably Carrie Underwood, Scotty McCreery, Kellie Pickler and Kelly Clarkson.

So who will be the third and final judge to join Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson? Rumors continue to circulate around Brad Paisley, who has yet to release an official statement on the matter.

Whomever the final judge turns out to be, we should know soon enough.

– Pat Still, Tom Mailey and Ashley Quadros / KNCI 105.1 Sacramento

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