Friday, January 12, 2007

Nashville Star Season Five

Hey, "American Idol" isn't the only game in town. "Nashville Star" has been a terrific country music showcase for years. I don't like all the changes they've made to the show, but since the contestants can be any age and are expected to be songwriters as well as singers (and it's usually the person with the best original song that wins), the performance level on the show is much higher. Last night was the season five debut with new host Jewel (who was born on a farm and has dated cowboy Ty Murray, so don't laugh). Typically, the judges were toothless. No matter how weak or tentative their vocals, Blake Shelton and Randy Owen of Alabama could almost never bring themselves to say anything remotely critical. Owen mostly complimented everyone on claiming that they loved their wife/kids/siblings while Shelton showed a little spark by complimenting a singer's ass. That left Anastasia Brown as the reality check, which she did fairly often. This season, the women seem much stronger than the men, with my early favorite being Angela Hacker, who gave by far the best performance last night. Still, it's always been the best original song that seals the deal on this show and I'm sure that will be the case this year. If you can't get enough "Idol" or love country music, "Nashville Star" (Thursday at 10 p.m. on USA) is worth your time.

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