I have to admit - I'm hooked on "Nashville Star" this year. I've never really watched the show before, but this time around it's different, because I know four out of the six remaining contestants! Josh Stevens is a friend and cowriter of mine, and a fellow staff songwriter at Full Circle Music. Whitney Duncan is also a cowriter - she used to have a record deal on Capitol Records and we wrote some songs together for that project. Zac and Angela Hacker, a brother and sister from Florence, AL, are friends from my days of being a staff writer at Fame Publishing and demoing my songs at the Fame Studios head office in Muscle Shoals. All four of them are talented musicians who put on a great show, so watching them grow and blossom on national TV is really exciting. Last week, Josh reserved me a ticket for the taping of the show. It was great to be there and see the competition in person, and to cheer, clap and shout out the contestants' names in the crowd. Looking around, I saw audience members holding up signs with my friends' names on them, and it made me a little teary-eyed to see them finally getting some of the recognition that they have worked so hard for. Some people would consider it tacky to be excited about something like this...you're not supposed to jump up and down about anything when you're a professional...but I say "POOH" to that! If you can't celebrate your friends' successes, you are not going to be a very happy person in this business. And successes are hard-earned, few, and far-between, so we should celebrate them with every chance we get!
Yesterday, I was playing tour-guide for my cousin Barb and her boyfriend Brian who were visiting from Canada. We went to the huge Opryland Hotel for dinner, which also happens to be where the Nashville Star contestants are sequestered for the duration of the show...and lo and behold, after dinner we unexpectedly stumbled across the contestants doing an acoustic performance on one of the hotel's stages. We sat in the front row and cheered them on as they performed some of their original songs in-the-round. At the end of the show, Josh even surprised me by inviting me up on stage to play my song "Saints & Angels" while they all sang harmony, which was very sweet of him. I don't know what it is about this city, but somehow the stars always seem to align to provide a fantastic experience for my visiting friends and family, and this one couldn't have been better!
So this Thursday at 9pm (central), I'll be glued to the USA channel once again, cheering on my friends!
P.S. Now that I'm reading this entry after the show is over, I wanted to add congrats to all the great finalists, and especially to the winner Angela Hacker and runner up Zac Hacker!