From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Toby Keith to perform on Fox’s New Year’s Eve special
The Oklahoma country music star is coming off a red-letter year highlighted by the viral success of his raucous party anthem “Red Solo Cup.”
Toby Keith will toast the arrival of 2012 with his “Red Solo Cup” as part of a nationally televised year-end bash.
The Oklahoma country music star will perform his popular party hit on the “American Country New Year’s Eve Live,” airing at 10 p.m. Central time Saturday on Fox.
Tulsa comedian Rodney Carrington, who just played his annual post-Christmas stint at Shawnee’s FireLake Grand Casino, will host the holiday special with Rick Harrison and Austin “Chumlee” Russell of the reality TV series “Pawn Stars.”
Country stars Joe Nichols, Rodney Atkins, Lauren Alaina and Eli Young Band also are set to musically ring in the New Year on the show, while comic Howie Mandel will make an appearance to share his New Year’s resolution and offer a sneak peak of his upcoming “Mobbed” series of specials.
For most of 2011, Keith experienced his usual excellent year: He was the highest-ranking country artist on Forbes’ roster of the World’s 25 Highest-Paid Musicians, his U.S. and European tours were blockbusters, and his annual album release, “Clancy’s Tavern,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard country album chart. The album’s first single, the flag-waving anthem “Made in America,” became one of the fastest-rising songs of his career as it bulleted to the top of the charts.
Overseas, the Norman resident embarked on his ninth United Service Organization Tour, and on the home front, he raised more than $650,000 for his Toby Keith Foundation at his eighth annual charity golf tournament and auction. Earlier this month, the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority approved the foundation’s plans to build the $8.5 million OK Kids Korral at NE 8 and Laird, where it will provide lodging for families with children undergoing cancer treatment at nearby facilities such as The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center.
The Clinton native opened several more of his I Love This Bar & Grill establishments, including new locations in Denver, Boston and Cincinnati, and successfully launched his own premium spirit brand, Toby Keith’s Wild Shot Mezcal.
But Keith’s fans will probably best remember 2011 as the year he toasted a familiar plastic beverage receptacle. Two months ago, he released online the music video for his raucous party anthem “Red Solo Cup,” and suddenly, Keith’s year became even more red-letter as the uproarious mini-movie went viral in a big way. Since its October release, the unedited version of the video has earned more than 7.7 million YouTube hits, and its popularity prompted Keith and his team to make it a single.
The top-15 hit has been covered on the cult favorite TV show “Glee” and spawned a holiday variation on the video, plus Keith performed it earlier this month on Fox’s American Country Awards after receiving the artist of the decade title as the country star with the most airplay over the past 10 years.
Keith has jokingly deemed “Red Solo Cup” “the most profound, intelligent thing I’ve ever done.”
“There’s nothing else out there like it, and it’s just one of those crazy things that happens sometimes in music,” Keith told The Oklahoman in a fall phone interview. “It’s just one of the craziest things we’ve ever done. And I’m having so much fun with it.”