CMT Next Superstar kicked off with its first episode airing tonight. The show is produced by Nigel Lythgoe and Simon Lythgoe of American Idol. It will air every Monday night at 9/8 central on CMT.
Each week the ten contestants will compete against each other for the chance at a major record deal with Warner Music. At the end of the episode one hopeful will be eliminated and forgo their chance at being the new Cmt Next Superstar. Fans at the venue’s of each performance will have the chance to vote for their favorites and the two with the weakest amount of votes will face off in a one on one sing to survive performance. At the end of the series America will have the power to vote for the last two finalists and that artist will become the winner.
Matt Serletic said it best “Talent is not enough, you have to be unique” as the new challenge was presented. It automatically took the contestants out of their comfort zone as they had to chose a top rock hit and put their own personal spin on it to make it into a country song and perform it in front of a live audience and the judges at the world famous Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, Tennessee. Judges for this weeks episode were Matt Serletic, Fred Bronson, and Kristin Chenoweth.
Courtney Cole a 24 year old who describes herself as ” very energetic, little clumsy , and extremely goofy.” Her song choice was Beyonce’s ” Irreplaceable” a very popular song that did well on the charts. Courtney looked very comfortable performing , but seemed to force her voice in certain places. She has a great vocal range though. The judges seemed to enjoy her, she was applauded for her song choice by Kristin. Matt said she had a beautiful voice but somewhat pinched and shrill in certain places and wanted to see her bring more of a country sound to the song. Fred seemed to enjoy her the most as he praised her saying she had a very commercial voice and would love to hear her on radio.
Wynn Varble a 50 year old was up next. He is already an established songwriter and has penned great hits such as Brad Paisley’s “Waiting on a women” , and Easton Corbin’s ” A little more country than that.” He joked around that if he won the competition that the show was rigged and had a ease about him and sense of humor. Wynn chose Katy Perry’s ” I kissed a girl” and completely made it his own with a little humorous twist on it. The judges all seemed to get a kick out of it as Kristin rated his song choice a 10, his audience a 10 and his charm a 10 as well. Fred was captivated by his magnetism and thought it was the perfect song for him although he shared Matt’s opinion that he didn’t have the best voice. Matt’s advice was Willie Nelson doesn’t have the best voice either and he needed to loosen up abit.
Steven Clawson a 29 year old picked Sting’s “Every breathe you take”. He had an amazingly relaxing voice that automatically made me want to close my eyes and relax. The only problem was while he did the song justice, it felt to safe played and didn’t sound any more country than the original version of it. The judges seemed impressed by his vocal ability as Kristin said she loved his buttery voice, while the other two agreed on his voice they all three wanted more of a connection to the song and that it wasn’t exactly country.
Matt Dame is a 37 year old former police officer from Batesville, Arkansas. He sang Otis Redding’s ” Dock of the bay” While his voice was amazing It was too much like the original and didn’t have a country spin on it. The judges seemed to like Matt Dame the most so far saying that he had a countrified voice and it was a great country version.
Matt Mason is a 26 year old from Fairland, Indiana who took a risk in his first weeks performance and it payed off tremendously. He chose Matchbox 20’s “Unwell” because its a song that he can relate to and while it was produced by Matt Serletic himself. He had an amazing stage presence and seemed completely at ease and the crowd was behind him. The judges absolutely loved his performance and Fred raved that he had set the new bar for country authenticity within the show. Kristen agreed and told him to not just play his guitar but own it. If he decided to put it down that he would still be able to make the crowd fall in love with him. The judge everyone was waiting for a comment from was Matt Serletic and he raved that Matt had just brought Southern out.
Adrienne Beasley is a 22 year old Kentucky native. Her song choice was “California dreamin”. She had a strong voice and seemed confident in her ability and performance. Fred didn’t think she brought enough country to the song while Kristen loved her voice. Matt stated that he thought she had chose the wrong song.
Danielle Lauderdale is a 23 year old waitress from Orange Park, Florida that works at the Tin Roof in Nashville, Tn. she chose ” Your no good” by Linda Ronstadt. She put the stage to use tonight, moving around and having alot of fun. Fred thought she brought country to the song and she commanded the stage at the same time. Kristin was surprised at the sultriness of her and said she sounded great. Matt thought she was sassy and was a great performer and in it to win it.
Andrea Pearson is a 29 year old from Vancouver, Canada and she chose “Ain’t no sunshine” by Bill Withers and she had a great vocal range within the song. Fred was entranced from the first moment and thinks she’s the top girl. Kristin said to watch the words and that she has the thing you can’t teach. Matt gave her a great comment saying she was soulful and a contender.
Ben Smith is a 29 year old from Gainesville, Texas who chose “Let’s get it on” by Marvin Gaye. He had alot of fun with the song and seemed a little too confident in his choice. He played it too safe and didn’t step much out of his comfort zone with the challenge. Fred said he needed to work on his vocals to stay in the competition. Matt thought the looks and personality wasn’t enough. They’re looking for a superstar not a karaoke star.
The final performance went to the 23 year old Bri Bagwell from Las Cruses, New Mexico.She chose to sing “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder. She was the only female to play the guitar this week. Fred said she did a great job. Kristin thought she was a natural and was glad she chose the song she did. Matt gave her the advice to step it up and find her inner star.
The audience voted on their favorites and Adrienne Beasley and Ben Smith had the least amount of votes and faced off in a sing to survive. One last chance to impress the judges with a country song of their choosing. With the second chance the judges deliberated and decided that Adrienne was a better choice to keep until the next week and sent Ben home.
Tune in next Monday night at 9/8 pm central to CMT and see the artists take it to the street in their next challenge and to see which hopeful will be eliminated from the show.