‘American Idol’: Why Reba McEntire Won’t Be a Judge Any Time Soon

by Taylor Cunningham

Out of all the singers that would make great additions to the panel of American Idol judges, we think Reba McEntire would be one of the best. But apparently, McEntire has already considered the prospect, and she’s not interested.

In 2017, Entertainment Tonight met the Fancy artist on the red carpet and chatted with her about joining the TV competition series. At the time, it had been on the air for 15 years. And the producers had yet to bring a country singing judge onboard. Reba, of course, was and still is one of the most iconic performers in the genre—and everyone loves her. So some thought she’d be a shoo-in to sit next to Katy Perry.

However, Reba didn’t think critiquing hopeful singers would be a good gig for her. Being a judge on American Idol requires thick skin and brutal honesty. And Reba was raised to be a polite, southern lady.

“If anybody was bad, I don’t think I could I could say, ‘you were bad,’ or ‘you know, honey, go get you a day job or a night job,'” she admitted before admitting that she had the opposite personality as Simon Cowell.

After Reba McEntire Unofficially Declined Joining the Panel, ‘American Idol’ Hired Luke Bryan

Fast forward one year, and American Idol finally gave a country singer a chair among the judges. In 2018, Luke Bryan joined the series. And he’s still lending his opinion to this day.

“I’m excited at the chance to help some deserving artists reach their dreams,” the Play it Again singer said in a statement that year. “To be in a position in my career to help facilitate this along with the other judges is just a complete honor. It’s gonna be a blast!”

Katy Perry was already a veteran with American Idol when Bryan came aboard. But Lionel Richie, who is also still starring on the series, was just getting his start as well. So 2018 was a big year for the reality show.

In a release, Channing Dungey, president of ABC Entertainment, shared that hiring Bryan and Richie was a necessary change-up for American Idol. Until then, most of the judges had been pop artists or music execs. But with the competion trying to branch out and encompass singers of all ages and genres, the panel needed to do the same.

“Luke and Lionel are the perfect additions to round out our panel of judges for American Idol on ABC,” Dungey said. “In their respective genres of music, both Luke and Lionel possess insurmountable popularity and award-winning talent that are undeniable. And we are lucky that they will help in paving the way for hopefuls pursuing their dreams on our stage.”