Who will join Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson on the “American Idol” judging panel? Not country star Toby Keith. Keith’s publicist has confirmed reports he was asked to work on the new season of the singing competition but didn’t accept.

Brad Paisley may be the next AI judge. Reports say that Brad is on his way now to Los Angeles this week to speak with the show’s producers.

Only last week, it was just a rumor that Paisley was is in the running to become the first recurring country music judge on the show. Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler’s recent exited the panel. Pop superstar Mariah Carey has been hired to fill J-Lo’s seat and that leaves Steven Tyler of Areosmiths’  seat to fill.

It makes sense that a judge should be from the country gener, considering the big role country music has played in the show during the last few seasons. Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina finished at No. 1 and No. 2 during the program’s 10th season, and twangy fan-favorite Skyler Laine finished in the Top 10 in 2012.

Paisley is currently in the studio working on his upcoming album, which is already halfway completed. According to the singer, the highly-anticipated project will feature an element never before included in any of his previous work. Can’t wait!

Trying to new things is the key to keeping things fresh, he says. “I’m always trying to think of things we haven’t done. But luckily, it’s always about music, too.”

No word on a release date for the album, but production for the 12th season of ‘American Idol’ is expected to begin later this year.

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