Oklahoma country music superstar Toby Keith has declined an opportunity to become one of the new judges on “American Idol.”
In an email to The Oklahoman, Elaine Schock, Keith’s publicist, verified Friday (today) that “Toby was flattered but turned down the offer” to join the celebrity panel for the hit reality TV show.
Keith, 51, declined to take on the role as an “Idol” judge because he doesn’t have the time to commit to it, reports Examiner.com, citing an upcoming cover story in the California publication Inland Empire Weekly.
The Clinton native is known for releasing new music on a yearly basis; along with recording the vocals, he also writes most of his own songs and produces his albums. On Tuesday, he dropped “I Like Girls That Drink Beer,” the lead-off single from his next album.
Traveling the country through late September on his “Live in Overdrive” 2012 tour, Keith, who was raised in Moore, also is principal of his record label, Show Dog-Universal Music.
Among his other business endeavors are the expanding chain of Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar And Grill restaurants — the original locations in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas are marking their seventh anniversaries — and his premium mezcal spirit, dubbed Wild Shot.
In May, he helped the Toby Keith Foundation break ground on the OK Kids Korral on the south end of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Set to open in fall 2013, the Korral will provide housing for Oklahoma pediatric cancer patients and their families seeking care at The Children’s Hospital and other nearby facilities.
Earlier this month, Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler announced they would leave their posts as “American Idol” judges after two seasons to refocus on their music careers. Pop belter Mariah Carey has been confirmed to fill one of their seats on the panel.
Country superstar Brad Paisley, “Idol” Season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert and even actor Charlie Sheen are among the celebrities whose names have been bandied about as rumors have swirled as to who will judge the hopefuls on the popular reality singing contest’s 12th season.