The stakes and hopes were flying high on Lower Broadway last night as the remaining field of 56 hopefuls began their final auditions for the producers and judges of USA Networks upcoming season of Nashville Star. The final auditions are taking place over the course of the next three days in downtown Nashville at the well-known honky-tonk, The Stage with about 20 artists performing two songs on each night.
Local WSIX DJ, Newman was, once again, the evenings host and began our second night by warming up the audience with his casual and easy-going style and updating everyone on the show and status of the new judges.
Tonight there was not only a standing room only crowd, the entire venue was completely filled, so much so that they were turning folks away at the door. The Producers Balcony was packed full of Nashville Star Producers and local Music Row Executives that included former Nashville Star Judge Tracy Gershon as well as many of the Music Mafia Crowd.
By looking at the set list we could tell it was going to be a night for the ladies, with 13 of the 20 performers listed being of the female persuasion.We noted, once again, several returning artists from prior years who had made the regional finals included Jennifer Kay Bennett, Mary Sue Englund, Bob Neace, and Sammi Moore.
The night's entertainment kicked off with local Mary Sue Englund ripping apart “First Cut Is The Deepest” and following up with her original, Long Black Dress.
As the night progressed we saw some really great performances and surprisingly a few not so great. The ladies did dominate the entire night, which we thought was super as everyone could make real honest comparisons on their performances and stage styles.
The female artists Stage presence seemed to be a big factor in tonight’s performances and while several shined a couple failed miserably in their attempt to connect with the crowd.
While we like many of tonight’s performers we really enjoyed Rickiejoleen Selman. She had the undivided attention of the entire crowd and controlled the stage with ease. Other notable performances were from Nathan Belt who stopped the crowd with his performance of the Phil Vasser Song- Last Day Of My Life.
We thought that several original songs stood out above the rest including two, which were miles apart in styles, the first being “School Girl” by Amanda Williams and “I Bleed Country” Performed by Dustin Wilkes.
The overall big news of the night for avid Nashville Star fans, was the reports that Erica Dunlap would not be performing although there were two additional artist added, Amber Leigh White and Dede Day, this brings the number of finalists back up to 56, for now that is.
Scene & Heard:
In the crowd, were Casey Rivers, former Nashville Star finalists and one of this years open call judges; former Nashville Star Alumni Melanie Torres, this years judge Anastasia Brown was seen hanging out with former Nashville Star Judge Tracy Gershon and John Rich. Let’s not forget Cowboy Troy who was spotted hanging out with a few of his buddies out back in the infamous back alley of the Ryman.
Also spotted in the crowd were several CMA groups in for the CMA Awards, which is being held later this week, and of course the local Music Row management representatives were in full force once again scooping out the entertainment.
We got the chance to talk with finalist Bob Neace, who as usual charmed us with his natural humor and spent a few moments talking to Nashville Star bandleader, John Bohlinger. Many might not know that John is one really smart dude with an Ivy League background. John even has his own cool band called Redneck Buddha and we’ve heard that there might even be a CD on the horizon.
- Mary Sue Englund -
First Cut Is The Deepest – Long Red Dress*
- Jay Hovater
Doing something Right - RedneckYacht Club
- Bob Neace
Born to Boogie - Tremont Avenue*
- Erica Hoyt
Mississippi Girl - When I Think About Cheating
- Jami Lampkins
Burn Me Down - Cowboy Sweetheart
- Angela Hacker
No One Else On Earth - New Pair of Boots*
- Michael Ray
Lonesome Onry and Mean - Price of Freedom*
- Rickiejoleen Selman
New Strings - Boondocks
- Jennifer Kay Bennett
First Cut Is the Deepest - Kerosene
- Dustin Wilkes
Born to Boogie - I Bleed Country*
- Idgy Vaughn
Think Called Love – Red Bloodhound*
- Jordan Lambert
Something Like That – Girls Deserve Better*
- Amanda Williams
Seven Year Ache – School Girl*
- Rich Ortiz
Country Roads - Further*
- Sammi Moore
Play Something Country - Somebody Gets Hurt*
- Dana Pyle
Something's Gotta Give – In your Hands*
- Janny Hershey
Break Down Here - Just Single*
- Nathan Belt
Last Day Of My Life - Four Letter Words*
- Dede Day
Heads Carolina, Tails California – Mr. Commitment*
- Amber Leigh White
Something's Gotta Give - *original
*Denotes original song