Hey, everybody! It's the new and improved Nashville Star! Featuring the always fresh Billy Ray Cyrus. It's as if a phantom mullet waits in the wings of his hairline, isn't it? We are promised lots of drama, along with duos, trios and soloists. And of course, it's all about the music. And Billy Ray Cyrus' sideswept bangs.
Billy Ray addresses a live audience, saying that tonight the top 50 will become the top 12. They will sing for their lives, apparently. I feel like there's probably some Japanese show that can be found on YouTube where that statement is taken literally. And you'd have to, like, sing the song as you were trying to contort your body to the shape of a cutout edged in barbed wire.
We go back to where it all began: auditions. The major difference between Nashville Star and American Idol auditions can be summed up in two words: line dancing. They also zip through the weirdos and focus on the better auditions, which include a Wynonna doppelganger and twins dressed identically in Von Trapp garb. Oh, wait, but then there are more crazies. One sings with her little CD box karaoke machine. One is black, which I guess automatically implies that he's a real nutbag.
Oh and then, ha! There is an all-military casting call. And I love the troops as much as anyone and think they are doing a brave job in a liar's war, but I don't know if I can handle all that many versions of "God Bless the U.S.A." Everyone pretends to be happy to see Billy Ray. He then sings for them his song, "All Gave Some, Some Gave All." It's about soldiers, and would be very moving if he didn't look like such a douche while singing it. Like, take off your sunglasses, cracker. God, I can't stand him. He totally would have fought for our country if he weren't so busy getting partial foil highlights at the salon and having his soul patch threaded. I'm just warning you all out there that if you're a big Billy Ray Cyrus fan, this is going to be a rough season of weecaps for you. Though Dolly Parton seems to love Billy Ray Cyrus, and I worship Dolly, so maybe I will cut him the occasional break. We see military auditions, and there is some quality talent. One Navy guy in particular, whose name I think is Tommy Stanley, tears it up. He's got some funky teeth, which should endear him to Jewel. And he's awesome. We get a long shot on the naval carrier, but sadly Billy Ray does not bust into "If I Could Turn Back Time."
Back with the live audience, Billy Ray introduces the judges. There is Jewel. I have to say that I secretly thrill that Jewel's career is in the crapper enough that she is on this show. There is John Rich, of the duo Big and Rich, of "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" fame. He... kind of scares me. He has a real "To Catch a Predator" glint in his eye. Then there's Jeffrey Steele, songwriter extraordinaire. I like him most of all already, probably because I know nothing about him.