OFFSTAGE: American Idol Needs Country Judge

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

This just in from the Most Depressing News Ever files. Steven Tyler isn’t coming back to American Idol. So now what? Well, the show has to find a new judge. Quickly. Because auditions have already started.

As you can probably imagine, I have a few ideas for replacements. OK, a lot of ideas. They’ve already done the rock star, the pop star(s), the talk-show host and the heartless industry vet. The missing judge is just so obvious, right? A country star would be the perfect fit.

I mean, look how well that’s worked for The Voice, here and in Australia. It should be someone who has had major success, but also wants newcomers to succeed. Let’s make a list. I’ll start. Brad Paisley, Kix Brooks, Sara Evans, Zac Brown, Kenny Chesney and Luke Bryan.

Your turn. Which country star would you choose to be a judge on American Idol?