December 12, 2006 11:39 PM by Joe Reality
NASHVILLE STAR, the nation’s top-rated country music series, has named its season five cast, it was announced today by Jeff Wachtel, USA’s executive vice president of original programming. The cast of ten was handpicked from over 20,000 country music hopefuls that participated in the nationwide search. Season five will kick off with a supercharged extended 75-minute episode on Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 10 pm/9c.
"Once again, the pool of talent exceeded all expectations," said Wachtel "The ten who made it to the finals are among the best performers and most distinctive personalities ever to appear on NASHVILLE STAR."
This years finalists represent country music’s broad appeal as the five men and five women range from age 18 to 36 and hail from all over the United States, the talented ten finalists are as follows:
Meg Allison: From Chicago, IL, the 25-year-old windy city native is the quintessential American girl. Besides a sweet as sugar voice, Allison draws her inspiration from her mentally disabled sister and uses her voice to sing for both of them. A Graduate from Miami of Ohio University, she is ready to charm Nashville with her voice and smile.
Whitney Duncan: Duncan, a self described tomboy with supermodel looks has spent her entire life overcoming obstacles and looks at NASHVILLE STAR as her next challenge to tackle. The 22-year-old from Scotts Hill, TN has had medical battles from two-years-old when she had heart surgery to her kidney surgery at age 17. Duncan’s fight with her health propelled her drive to fight and succeed. By age 19, she had already performed a duet with the legendary Kenny Rogers.
Angela Hacker: This 29-year-old mother from Florence, AL sees this competition as her last chance to achieve her dream of country music stardom. Her soulful voice and loving demeanor will be sure to capture the hearts of America but her own family might be split when it comes to voting as she’ll be competing against her brother.
Zac Hacker: Younger brother of fellow finalist Angela, Zac is also from Florence, AL and has made his living playing music and singing since age 17. Now 23, his voice has amazing depth and feeling as he lives his life with the memories of mistakes made by his musician father who has battled drug and alcohol addiction.
Tim LaRoche: If fun, adventure and personality could be wrapped up into one name it would be Tim LaRoche. With his unique look and style, this 36-year-old stay-at-home dad from rural White House, TN lives life to the fullest and enjoys performing and getting a crowd going. Born in Iceland and raised in Massachusetts, LaRoche brings his own form of country music to NASHVILLE STAR.
Kacey Musgraves: This 18-year-old from Golden, TX might just have graduated high school but she is not a newbie to the music scene already having performed at the Presidential inauguration, the Olympics and on The TODAY Show. Still a small town girl, Musgraves’ hometown has less than 300 people.
Rickiejoleen: Rickiejoleen puts the "r" in rebel. The 18-year-old from Tempe, AZ left school in eighth grade and has never looked back. A loner at heart, Rickiejoleen won’t back down from anyone or any challenge.
David St. Romain: Recently becoming a first-time father, this Cajun from Baton Rouge, LA has a very strong and passionate voice mixed with a fun-loving personality. At 28-years-old, St. Romain has a new baby girl and a lot more now riding on achieving his goal to be the next NASHVILLE STAR.
Joshua Stevens: With pop star looks and a country music life Stevens will be a force in Nashville. The 28-year-old from Churchville, IA is happily married with two kids but also finds inspiration from his estranged relationship with his mother, whom he has not seen 18 years. Already with a publishing deal as a songwriter, Stevens is ready for the competition.
Dustin Wilkes: A former Marine, Wilkes is a true country boy. The 26-year-old from Jefferson, GA is a former bouncer at the famed Nashville music bar Tootsie’s where he still currently headlines. As a baby, Wilkes was adopted by his grandmother because his birth mother was too young to raise him.
As previously announced, the winner of NASHVILLE STAR will receive a recording contract from Warner Music Group, home to multi-platinum and platinum superstars such as Faith Hill, Big and Rich, Randy Travis, The Wreckers, NASHVILLE STAR co-host Cowboy Troy and NASHVILLE STAR judge Blake Shelton.
NASHVILLE STAR is created by Reveille and executive produced by Ben Silverman ("The Biggest Loser," "The Office") and H.T. Owens ("The Restaurant," "30 Days"). Jeff Boggs will executive produce in association with Reveille. Todd Lubin ("30 Days," "Black.White") serves as co-executive producer. The show is produced by Jon Small ("Garth Brooks Live From Central Park," "Billy Joel Live at Yankee Stadium") and his production company, Picture Vision, alongside co-executive producer Mark Koops ("The Restaurant," "Blow Out").