June 09, 2008 08:21 PM by Joe Reality
The Nashville Star 6 premiere could best be described as American Idol on hyperdrive. Things kicked off with some brief highlights of auditions from around the country. The first stop for the auditions was the USS IWO JIMA, where Billy Ray Cyrus sang “Some Gave All.”
Then, the top fifty acts were brought to Nashville, Tennessee, where they auditioned in front of the three judges: John Rich, Jewel, and Jeffrey Steele. After several disappointing performances, the judges gave the remaining contestants a pep talk, and the performances improved considerable.
After discussing the top fifty acts, the judges selected the top twelve finalists: Alyson Gilbert, Ashlee Hewitt, Charley Jenkins, Coffey, Gabe Garcia, Justin Gaston, duet Laura Fedor and Sophie Zalokar, Melissa Lawson, trio group Pearl Heart, Shawn Mayer, trio group Third Town, and Tommy Stanley.
With only twenty minutes having passed on the show, the top twelve finalists burst on the stage and gave a group musical performance of “Life Is A Highway.” After the top twelve finalists performed, special guest Taylor Swift sang “Picture To Burn.” Taylor Swift also offered the following advice to the finalists, “You’ve got to figure out what it is about yourself that makes you different. Also, treat people with respect. No matter how far you get, always remember that you are nothing without fans.”
To kick off the individual performances, Pearl Heart sang “Wide Open Spaces.” Jeffrey Steele said, “You guys have come a long way since that first audition.” Jewel said, “I’m in love with y’all.” John Rich called them, “Incredible good.”
Tommy Stanley sang “Walking In Memphis.” Jeffrey Steele said, “I think you really got the crowd going, but I’m still not sold on you.” John Rich said, “I think you made a mistake a little bit with over singing.” Jewel said, “I liked what you did tonight personally.”
Shawn Mayer sang “Piece Of My Heart.” John Rich said, “Right now, I felt like I was hearing a girl singing at a bar, not going for a major record deal on national television. ” Jewel said, “You’ve got more range than you’re even using tonight.” Jeffery Steele said, “It’s got to be spot on, and I’m telling you this, because I think you are a great singer.”
Third Town sang “Elvira.” Jewel said, “We’ve got to figure out how to make you a modern act.” John Rich said, “There’s got to be a lead vocalist. There’s got to be a defining voice to this band, otherwise you’re going to get lost.” Jeffrey Steele said, “I kind of feel like I’m at the county fair with that song.”
Coffey sang “Give Me The Beat Boys.” John Rich said, “I thought you’re the best thing so far I’ve seen tonight.” Jeffrey Steele said, “To me, there were a few pitch issues that went on.” Jewel said, “What pitch issues? I want to rewind the tape.”
Laura & Sophie sang “Stand By Your Man.” Jeffrey Steele said, “Great, great singing.” John Rich said, “It’s hard to even come up with really a criticism for you two girls to be completely honest.” Jewel said, “Y’all have a great friendship. If you can make this crowd feel like they’re in that friendship to, and then they’re in that intimate space in your heart, then you’re going to be over the top.”
Gabe Garcia sang “All My Ex’s Live In Texas.” Jewel said, “It’s really exciting to see you here.” John Rich said, “Your voice is pure, pure, pure great country music.” Jeffrey Steele said, “I think you’ve got a shot.”
Alyson Gilbert sang “Suds In The Bucket.” Jeffrey Steele said, “Alyson, that was a great performance.” John Rich said, “You ever see like a beauty pageant, whenever they’re out there and they’re just like overdoing it the whole way. Do you know what I’m talking about? That’s how it came off to me a little bit.” Jewel said, “Again, I told you during rehearsals that I don’t want a pageant singer to come out here.”
Ashlee Hewitt sang “Bubbly.” John Rich said, “I think everybody in this room felt what was coming out of your eyes and coming out of your mouth.” Jewel said, “You have a better voice than what this song allowed you to do.” Jeffrey Steele said, “I think there’s more to your voice than what we heard tonight.”
Charley Jenkins sang “I Like It, I Love It.” Jewel said, “I love that you’re willing to come out here and work the crowd. I just don’t buy it.” John Rich said, “I like your voice a lot, when you’re not running around like your’e a Garth Brooks impersonator in Las Vegas.” Jeffrey Steele said, “You’ve got a voice there, but I hate it, I hate it, I won’t no more of it.”
Justin Gaston sang “Drops Of Jupiter.” Jeffrey Steele said, “I did not like that performance.” John Rich said, “I think it’s interesting to hear that done as a country song.” Jewel said, “When you look that good, you’re going to have to sing that much better.”
Melissa Lawson sang “Something To Talk About.” Jewel said, “I think you brought it tonight.” Jeffrey Steele said, “Grand slam out of the park.” John Rich said, “Somebody’s going home tonight, and it ain’t going to be you, I can tell you that much right now.”
After all twelve individual performances, Billy Ray Cyrus called Charley Jenkins and Alyson Gilbert to center stage as the weakest two selected by the judges. Jeffrey Steele voted for Charley Jenkins to go home, while John Rich voted for Alyson Gilbert to go home. Jewel broke the tie and voted for Charley Jenkins to go home. Charley Jenkins said, “I love country music, and I wish all these guys back here, the best luck in the world.”
What do you think of the top twelve finalists? Discuss on our Nashville Star message board. Also, check out our Nashville Star 6 bios. For more great news on Nashville Star be sure to visit SirLinksAlot: Nashville Star.
Photo Credit: John Russell/NBC