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"Either one would be great," Karen Fairchild says of Keith and Brad, pointing out that the show usually has a night every year where contestants are required to sing a country song. "Both would show off the format, and I can't wait for that. Both of those guys are so well-spoken and they are just consummate professionals and artists, writers, singers and players. I don't know how they would decide -- we love both of them so much."
LBT's Phillip Sweet says he's not sure, however, that the powers-that-be at "American Idol" understand the wide scope of country music, and that goes for the audience as well.
"They may have seen a narrower view of it, but to have someone in that seat is very important, because it might open the world's eyes to how broad and diverse the country genre really is," he reasons. "It's not all checkered shirts and cowboy hats. A lot of times people get dressed up that way at country-music festivals, but country music is so much more than that. It's so amazingly diverse. I think this would be a great way to show the rest of the world, that might not have tuned into country before, what it is all about."
Kimberly Schlapman points out two exhibits that are currently underway at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum as an example. "They have a Taylor Swift exhibit and a Patsy Cline exhibit, and that is country music, from way back to today. Philip was saying people have a skewed sense of what country music is, so having either Brad or Keith on 'American Idol' would certainly educate people about country music."
Country music has played a major part in "American Idol" over the years. Carrie Underwood is the show's biggest selling artist. While Kelly Clarkson is a pop act, she certainly has delved into the country market with her duets with Jason Aldean and Reba McEntire.
Casey James, Kellie Pickler, Bucky Covington, Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina, Crystal Bowersox and Danny Gokey have all entered country music through the doors of "American Idol." Southern rock artist Bo Bice moved to Nashville after his second-place finish to Carrie's first-place win.
Both artists in the running have television experience, Brad as co-host of the CMA's annual awards show and Keith on the Australian version of "The Voice." So, we'll just have to wait and see if either one lands in the coveted spot. For his part, however, Keith says his current priority is to work on his upcoming album, which wouldn't leave him much time to accept the TV offer even if it comes his way.
Little Big Town's new album, Tornado, will be available Sept. 11.