CMT’s ‘Next Superstar’ Showcases Country Music of Tomorrow
Friday night's premiere of CMT's 'Next Superstar' gave viewers a vote of confidence that country music is in good hands, especially with the 10 contestants competing against each other for the title.
The celebrity judge panel consisted of music business author, Fred Bronsun, music producer, Matt Serletic, and Emmy and Tony award-winning singer/actress, Kristin Chenoweth. After introductions to the 10 finalists, each hit the stage where they took a hit song and put their own country spin on the sound and style.
Matt Mason: Mason took on Matchbox 20's hit 'Unwell,' nailing his attempt at making the rock song sound country. It was the performance of the night that set the bar for the remaining nine contestants to match. His mysterious approach to the song made it a memorable performance and one that will be talked about over the course of the next 10 weeks left on the show.
Wynn Varble: Varble's performed the Katy Perry hit 'I Kissed a Girl.' Varble brought charm and tradition to his first performance of the show, which had the crowd enthusiastic over his song choice and delivery.
Courtney Cole: She hit a home run with her performance of Beyonce's 'Irreplaceable.' The performance was purely countrified as she worked the stage, having her bubbly personality shine through as she was content and confident behind the microphone.
Steven Clawson: Clawson's cover of Sting's 'Every Breath You Take' was full of creative and artistic freedom. His voice was soothing and easy to listen to, and the simplicity was something the fans and judges alike gravitated toward.
Ben Smith: His performance of Marvin Gaye's 'Let's Get It On' brought similarities to another country music giant -- James Otto. While there was plenty of passion and talent behind the microphone, the judges felt the song choice lacked the country music format, comparing his performance to a karaoke contest.
Matt Dame: Dame covered Otis Redding's 'Sitting on the Dock of the Bay' for his song, bringing plenty of country, southern rock, and a touch of R&B flair to his performance. It was clear that Dame had won over the crowd and the judges with his song choice.
Bri Bagwell: Bagwell made Stevie Wonder proud Friday night as she took on 'Superstition' for her song choice. Her performance and delivery was full of charisma and spunk, something that the superstars of country music possess and perfect.
Adrienne Beasley: 'California Dreamin'' by the Mama's and the Papa's never sounded as good as it did Friday night from the stage of the Wildhorse Saloon, as Beasley delivered the tune with plenty of country soul.
Andrea Pearson: Her sultry performance of Bill Withers' 'Ain't No Sunshine' impressed the judges as she owned the stage for her 'Next Superstar' debut. Fans fell in love with her realness and charm, which pretty much gave the impression that this would not be the last time we hear from the star on the rise.
Danielle Lauderdale: Lauderdale brought the sass and vivacious attitude to the Linda Ronstadt classic, 'You're No Good.' She had the perfect balance of country, rock and R&B flavor to the tune which wowed the entire room, as well as those at home.
In the end, it came down to Beasley and Smith who had 40 seconds to sing to survive another week on the show. After Beasley sang Carrie Underwood's 'So Small' and Smith sang George Strait's 'Unwound,' the judges informed the singers and crowd the decision of who will remain in the competition would be revealed the following morning. After the brief commercial break, the judges revealed that Ben Smith would be the contestant who would be going home.