Here we are. The moment hundreds of you have been waiting for – the revelation of who will be this season’s Nashville Star. Over/under on cumulative length of "dramatic pauses" – six minutes.
Host Billy Ray Cyrus opens the show with "Achy Breaky Heart." Wow. Did I really write that? Did that actually happen? I had to check my watch to make sure I hadn’t spontaneously traveled back to 1992. In addition to back-up dancers, the three finalists join in with Billy Ray – first Gabe, then Shawn and finally Melissa. Oh. And all the other contestants pop up at the end and they do a bit of line dancing. It ended with some pyro on stage and it actually wasn’t bad. I might dare say it was good. Odd, but good.
As a courtesy, the finalists get to perform an "encore" before eliminations begin.
Song: "Celebrity" by Brad Paisley
Song: "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts
Song: "Gunpowder & Lead" by Miranda Lambert
Before eliminating one of them, a package shows the three finalists spending time with the judges, a high-level radio dude, and the legendary George Jones who all shared their expertise and insight about being in the biz.
Back from a commercial break, Shawn Mayer has been taken out of the running. You really have to give it up to her – she’d come alive since she fired John Rich as her mentor and moved over to Jeffrey Steele. She took it very well and said that she’ll be out there fighting for her record deal.
Gabe Garcia & Melissa Lawson
Song: "(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life" from the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack
The Countrified version is surprisingly solid but the arrangement is weird in terms of the lines they chose to break up or change. They sound good together, there’s just something…awkward about it.
More adverts and more performances are next. Each contestant gets a journey-to-now type profile package before doing another number. Melissa sings "Something More" by Sugarland while Gabe chooses Alan Jackson’s "Gone Country."
Ah…more filler. The judges are told to pick a winner, but they can’t pick their own person which leaves Jeffrey as the tie breaker. He sidesteps it by saying he thinks Pearl Heart can still come from behind and win. Next, a sequence about recording their first singles with John is aired after yet another set of commercials.
After more producer mandated minute-filling yapping from Billy Ray and another chunk of silence, Melissa Lawson is named the 2008 Nashville Star. To close out the show, she gets to sing her new single titled "What If It All Goes Right." She holds it together admirably during the performance and it’s a much better first single than pretty much any of the American Idol winners. Roll credits and hugs from the other contestants as the confetti of winning rains down upon her.
That’s a wrap folks. Any thoughts from the show? I wouldn’t feel bad for Gabe if I were you, he’ll get a contract anyway. Congratulations Melissa!