So I guess my street cred is completely blown by talking about this, but yes, I did watch the NBC premiere of Nashville Star last night. Overall, it is a little bit addictive, but also frustrating when you remember that mainstream country music quit being country music a long time ago. Therefore I'm not even sure this show can be watched in the context of being about country music.
Of the judges, you have:
Jewel - the once-indie singer songwriter from Alaska, who is probably the best of the 3 judges, but... when was she ever country? Maybe she was selected because she's still in a relationship with Ty Murray?
John Rich - of Big and Rich infamy, who was never country and seems to be the newest reality show diva.
Jeffrey Steele - A Nashville factory songwriter that never had a good song as far as I can find, but is clearly a part of the Music Row machine and makes lots of money and gets "trendy" tattoos.
Highlights in my opinion were Gabe Garcia singing "All My Exes Live in Texas," which the judges actually liked even though they forgot about George Strait and real country music a long time ago. I'm surprised they didn't ask who sang the song originally.
And I have to say, "Elvira" by the trio Third Town, was pretty solid. While these guys are kind of suspect, I appreciated the Kenny Rogers/Oak Ridge Boys nod here, and thought it was a great choice, even though the judges have never heard classic country music and were kind of dumbfounded.
The "Stand by Your Man" performance was, I think, the only other classic country song, and it was hit and miss. The performers were two young women (Laura and Sophie), and I didn't think they nailed it the first go round, but the second was pretty spot on.
Billy Ray Cyrus needs some serious help from the producers because he comes out after every song and says something completely off about each singer. He'll say "Wow! So you two have been best friends all of your lives?" To which they answer, "We've known each other 7 years."
Pretty hilarious really. He's like someone's crazy uncle. Also reminiscent of Fred Willard, who plays the dog show commentator on Best in Show.
Since no one reads this blog, I'm also inclined to comment about the military representation in the show. They brought one enlisted person into the top 12, despite the fact that he tanked in his audition. He did a decent job in his first song on the show, but they very truly walk on eggshells around him because they know they can't criticize the military on a show with country music fans. They'll probably have to let him win for fear of seeming unpatriotic. I have no problem with the guy, but the way they treat him is a little ridiculous.
Nonetheless, if I continue to watch this show, I'm going to have to tell myself that it is not about country music. Overall, this show is about as ironic as Alan Jackson singing "Murder on Music Row" with blood on his hands (see "www.memory").