Belmont University alumni Steven Clawson and Courtney Cole are among the final 10 contestants on “CMT’s Next Superstar,” which premieres Friday, April 8 at 8 p.m. Central on CMT. The 10 episode series, produced by “American Idol” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe and his son Simon, is a singing/songwriting competition to find America’s next great country star and opens the door for undiscovered singer/songwriters who think they have what it takes to make it in the music industry. The country contest, hosted by Thea Andrews, differs structurally from the usual TV singing competition. Rather than simply performing before an audience, five men and five women ages 22-50 will take on a range of challenges, including writing songs, participating in radio interviews and making music videos.
The show allows the world to see every triumph and every setback unfold weekly. The 10 contestants will live in a music mansion, (Kenny Chesney’s house) in Nashville — providing a rare and revealing inside look at the all-ensuing drama that can take place when musical adversaries live and compete together. Contestants will try to impress celebrity guests each week through a series of music business related challenges and grueling performance rounds. In the weekly competition, a house audience will vote for its favorites. The bottom two vote-getters have to sing to survive, with the judges deciding their fate as one finalist will be eliminated each week. When the competition gets down to two finalists, America will have the final vote to determine who will win the title of CMT’s Next Superstar. The winner will be announced during the CMT Awards in June with a single to be released on radio, a record deal, and a spot on the CMT summer tour.
“It’s really much more of an in-depth look than I think you would traditionally get from a singing competition show,” says Grammy-winning songwriter and producer Matt Serletic, the show’s one permanent judge. He’ll be joined on the panel each week by celebrity guests, including singers Colbie Caillat and Trace Adkins. The premiere’s guests are actress-singer Kristin Chenoweth and Billboard writer Fred Bronson.