But before I get to that, here are some of the top 12 introducing themselves in the Acuff Theatre green room (please note I mostly got footage of the male finalists, since the majority of the ladies were still busy getting beautified in the hair and makeup station):
OK, so two of my favorites are the wacky Las Vegas trio Third Town, who almost didn't make the Nashville Star cut at all (see a future blog of mine to hear their entire story), and octave-of-five mom-of-five Melissa Lawson. Here's a clip of the Third Town boys showing their Vegas roots by declaring they're willing to bet good money that Melissa will win the whole thing:
Two more finalists near and near to my heart, so far, are personality-plus cutup Coffey (pronounced "Caw-FAY") Anderson and Gabe Garcia. Both are rare minorities in the country world, and both offer something completely different: Coffey's style has a soul/gospel vibe to it, and Gabe possesses an amazingly pure, true-country voice. Perhaps Gabe can fulfill Nashville Star judge/producer John Rich's dream of bridging the country and Latin markets, in a way that the winner of John Rich's Gone Country show, Julio Iglesias Jr., could not. Here are Coffey and Gabe discussing their unique musical styles:
Tall/dark/handsome Coffey is also a model, too, hence why he lives in the glamour capital of Los Angeles. Here's Coffey talking about L.A. versus Texas versus Nashville, and more seriously, rodeo cowboy Charley Jenkins revealing why he put his country career on hold while his father was ill:
And on a lighter note, Charley proved that if his country career doesn't pan out, he can always go back to the rodeo circuit. Wait until about halfway through this clip (which begins with Third Town's Jeff demonstrating his impressive voiceover skills) to see Charley show off his rope-trick techniques...using Third Town's Tony as his unwitting but not unwilling victim:
Good times, good times. The camaraderie between these finalists was heartening to witness firsthand...though of course, we'll just see how long all this touchy-feeliness and warm-'n'-fuzziness lasts once the real competition is underway.
Anyway, for the record, my personal pets here are Third Town, Coffey, Gabe, and Melissa. But you'll just have to watch the show yourselves Monday on NBC, to see if these country contenders have the big voices and big talents to back up their big personalities...and my big endorsements.
- Nashville Star