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Toby Keith Took ‘Five Seconds’ to Consider ‘American Idol’ Judge Offer

Jason Merritt, Getty Images

Earlier this summer, when ‘American Idol’ execs were trying to nail down their judges panel, several names of country music stars were thrown into the mix. Before Keith Urban accepted the gig, Toby Keith was approached with an opportunity to take a seat at the table. Now, the in-your-face country star admits that he didn’t hesitate at all when he declined the offer.

“It’s a great big TV show. Lucrative deal. Lot of money, but it’s a lot of time, and it took me five seconds,” Keith told Country Weekly, speaking of how long he ‘considered’ it before turning it down.

In the end, the rowdy singer says he knew that the money would be nice, but he would regret committing to a TV spot. “I know three weeks in that I’d be going, ‘I can’t believe I did this. I am so mad at myself. I knew better,’ ” he added. “And so, instead of even thinking about it or letting somebody down, [I allowed] them to move on and get who they want. Let’s just move on, and I just turned it down quick.”

In the end, being on ‘American Idol’ simply wouldn’t leave Keith with enough time and freedom to promote his forthcoming new album, which hits on Oct. 30. But he’s still a popular commodity for television producers. The ‘I Like Girls That Drink Beer’ hitmaker has been offered a spot on the small screen more than once.

“I’ve been offered a sitcom over the last 10 years by every major network, and we’ve talked to ’em on several occasions, and by the time you get to the end of the conversation, and the ‘We gonna go forward or not?’ it ends up being too much time,” he admits.

Oh well. Perhaps someday we’ll see Keith’s signature cowboy hat and hilarious antics on prime time.

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