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American Idol” desperately wanted Katy Perry to fill one of its vacant judge’s seats, so much so,  they offered her $20 MILLION … but she she still turned it down … TMZ has learned.

Sources close to the production tell TMZ … “Idol” pursued Perry relentlessly for weeks, eager to get her to sign on the dotted line. According to our sources, they started the offer at $18 million, but threw even more cash on the table … $20 MILLION for a one year contract!!!

We’re told Katy made it clear … she was NOT interested and money wasn’t the issue.

Sources tell us … aside from the fact that Katy’s schedule made it impossible to do the show … she just didn’t think it was right career choice for her.

Mariah must be one pissed, $18 million judge. READ MORE 

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