Martina McBride is trying her hand at something new: She's set to appear as a guest judge on July 31's episode of America's Got Talent, making her part of a growing list of country artists who have thrown their hats into the reality talent show arena.

In a recent interview with Billboard, McBride explains that she's nowhere near a Simon Cowell type, but that fans can expect her judging style to be more of a mix between the show's Heidi Klum and Mel B. "It's not the easiest thing in the world for me to give criticism," she notes. Part of the culture that we live in now is that sometimes there is mean feedback for the sake of being rude or mean or trying to put somebody in their place. But when it's valid and helpful, I feel like I can manage."

When asked if she would have considered appearing on the show as a contestant back in her younger days—if such a thing had existed then—McBride (who is 52) admits, "Probably!"

While pointing out that she believes there's no substitute for old-fashioned hard work, the singer also says, "Who knows what would have happened to me if I had grown up in that environment. I think I would have done well on the show though because I was fearless back then."

McBride also revealed to Billboard that she's currently working on an as-yet-unnamed Christmas album, which she says has a "big band swing ... kind of a vintage-y throwback sound" that's completely different from anything she's worked on before. She expects the record to come out in October.

She's also brewing ideas for a studio follow-up to 2016's Reckless, noting that she's leaning towards the notion of a more acoustic-styled release this time. At this stage in her well-established career, McBride appreciates the flexibility she has earned in regards to creating new projects.

" I don't have a record label right now, by choice. I have a catalog of hits that I can always play on tour but I can also do whatever I feel moved to do. I can do whatever style of music I want. If I want to do like I said an acoustic based record or even a tour like that, I can try it," she explains. "I don't have anybody telling me 'I don't know. They might not play that on country radio.'"

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