Rumor has it that popular country artist Brad Paisley has been talking with the producers of American Idol to possibly sit on the judges panel.
There seems to be a trending theme in the rumors this year that at least one of the judges that make up the panel for "American Idol" Season 12 will be associated with country music. According to Deadline Hollywood, Brad Paisley has been in talks with the producers of the hit show and just might become the genre's representative.
And what a representative he would be. Paisley has had a productive career, bursting onto the country music scene in 1999 with his debut album, Who Needs Pictures, and, according to All Music Guide, recording an additional six studio albums and a holiday album as well in a little over a decade. He's placed 16 songs at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, putting together an astonishing string of 10 consecutive songs in the top spot from 2005 to 2008. He's won three Grammy Awards, won the last three Male Artist of the Year Awards at the Academy of Country Music Awards and Entertainer of the Year at last year's Country Music Association awards (winning 14 total over the years from each of the organizations). All of his albums, including a greatest hits compilation (Hits Alive), have been certified gold or platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. In addition to his musical abilities (he's a respected guitarist) and his singing, Paisley has also won three Songwriter of the Year awards.
Besides, he knows Carrie Underwood, Kellie Pickler, and Scotty McCreery. So what more does he need to get on the judges panel?
Paisley has hosted the CMAs (Country Music Association awards) for the last four years, sharing the hosting position with "American Idol" Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood. They're good friends as well. Paisley, who is known for his sense of humor, posted to Twitter when Underwood's last album, Blown Away, was released: "@carrieunderwood has a new album out today. She sings like a bird. Actually a loon."
Underwood, whose name has also been floated in the rumor mix as a possible judge choice, was featured on the the No. 1 hit, "Remind Me," which was recorded for his last album, This Is Country Music. The song also peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100, the highest pop charter of Paisley's career. It won the Collaborative Video of the Year award at the 2012 CMT Music Awards, where Paisley, ever self-deprecating -- gave his co-singer a shout-out, "I'd like to thank this beautiful woman for being in the video. Otherwise, it's just a dork walking through the desert."
Paisley has also reached out to a few budding country stars from "American Idol" as well. When seventh-place finalist Kellie Pickler hit the road to promote her first album, Small Town Girl, she opened for Paisley. And after Scotty McCreery won Season 10, Paisley invited the young North Carolinian to open for him as well.
Paisley has also graced the "Idol" stage, performing that aforementioned tenth consecutive No. 1 song, "Then," in 2009.
Although the "American Idol" camp always seems to be flooded with rumors of one sort or another, the Paisley lead might actually be legitimate. After all, it was Deadline Hollywood that broke the story that the Mariah Carey signing was imminent. And that they're intent on getting a country artist to sit on the panel (a la Blake Shelton on "The Voice" and Jennifer Nettles on "Duets") seems to be supported by the Examiner report (of an upcoming Inland Empire Weekly article) that Toby Keith says he turned down an offer to judge, citing that the show's schedule was too demanding to mesh with his own.
So would the soon-to-be-40-year-old West Virginia singer be a great choice as an "American Idol" judge? He certainly looks good on paper, as the saying goes, but it is difficult seeing him doing anything other than a excellent job. And who knows? If they can sign Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood might sign on as well (due to the third judge's seat still being empty; it is unknown if veteran judge Randy Jackson will return in that capacity for a twelfth season). If the other judge's slot isn't filled by her, perhaps the producers can still get him to dish on the "Idol" alums with whom he's worked. And there would be an extra bonus for hiring Paisley on as well -- with his hosting credits, if Ryan Seacrest became ill, he could fill in as guest host.
(photo credit: Official White House Photostream, Wikimedia Commons)
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