Although Kellie Pickler has parted ways with Sony Nashville, she promises there’s a big announcement coming soon. Now that Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez have said they're leaving American Idol, could she be returning to the show that made her a star?
“Well, I’ve not been asked to do it, and I don’t want to judge anyone,” the country cutie, 26, who placed sixth on the talent competition in 2006, tells me Wednesday during the ConAgra Foods Foundation’s Hunger-Free Summer Program event at The St. Regis in NYC. “My life’s a country song, and I just want to sing about it. That’s all I want to do. I want to be on my bus, tour, sing my music and be with our country-music fans and be on country radio. That’s the most important thing to me.”
Concentrating on music isn’t the only reason she wouldn’t make a good judge, though.
“I can’t sit still for too long," she says. "I’m getting antsy now! I’d be doing circles in that chair, spinning around. It’s not something I think that I would enjoy.”
While Jennifer’s job isn’t her dream, she could see herself zinging one-liners as a host.
“I’ll take your job, Ryan [Seacrest],” she says with a laugh. “That’s something I could enjoy and have fun with.”
She certainly would fit in well.
“I got to meet Jennifer when I performed earlier this year. I thought she was great — beautiful, too. Very sweet. And I love Randy [Jackson]. Of course, he was there my season, and I met Steven, who is absolutely amazing, too.”
If Kellie’s not up for the critic gig, who would make a good judge?
“There’s a lot of people,” she says. “I think it would be neat to have different people. If they have country week, get Dolly Parton there to be a judge. If it’s R&B… Get somebody for each format. Each week they do a different format, so bring someone from that format to judge that knows something about it.”
She adds, “I wouldn’t know how to tell someone how to sing a Queen song. I love Queen — they’re my favorite rock group — but I can’t sing Queen. Get one of those guys to come in and judge!”
What’s next for Kellie?
Top priority: promoting her album, 100 Proof.
“I’ve never worked harder on anything else in my life," she says. "There’s no album that shows a truer reflection of me and my soul more than 100 Proof, so right now, that’s the main focus.”
Her tour and next album are also high on the list.
“The No. 1 thing for me is singing country songs,” she says. “My life’s a country song, and I’m gonna sing about it. One thing I’ve always known my whole life is that I want to be part of country music and country radio. That’s the only place I want to be; that’s it. That’s the only place I have to be, because that’s where I belong.”
She adds, “If I have opportunities that come along like acting or hosting or whatever it may be, if that comes along and it fits in with my music and it makes sense and it doesn’t interfere, then I would do it, if it was the right thing.”
For today, though, she’s focused on helping others: “I’ve partnered with ConAgra Foods and Feeding America for this wonderful summer campaign going on right now called Hunger-Free Summer, and it’s all about the kids who have the burden of worrying about when their next meal’s going to be.”
She adds, “It’s so simple to be a part of: Just log on to ConAgra Foods' Facebook page, and download the Hunger Avengers. It’s free. One little click, and you provide a meal for a child that might not get one. It’s so simple, and you can make a big impact. If you share it with your friends, that’s two meals. Our goal is to reach 500,000 downloads. There’s no excuse. There’s no reason why we can’t do this because there are millions of people on Facebook. Why wouldn’t you take two seconds out of your day to be part of something like this?”