American Idol or Nashville Star?
Most everyone in America has seen American Idol, but how many have heard of, much less seen, Nashville Star, the "country" verson of the popular Pop show on the USA Network? Up until a few weeks ago my only exposure to Nashville Star was through seeing the roughly 50 bazillion advertisments for the show that run daily on USA. Indeed, it's nearly impossible to catch a rerun of "Law and Order" or "Walker, Texas Ranger" without Leann Rimes gracing your screen urging you to tune in. The ads are so pervasive that even I, with my commercial-skip enabled tivo, was unable to escape them.
At the urging of Leann (and with a little nudging from my friend Kristin) I finally tuned in about 3 weeks ago and I immediately got a sense of why the network is promoting the show so heavily - because it's good. And I don't just mean "good" as in it's entertaining for an hour, I mean it's really good. It's better than 90% of the shows on network television, American Idol included. So why hasn't it been picked up by struggling ABC or NBC? Don't the TV execs know that country music is a bigger demographic than Pop or Rock? Apparently not. Or maybe USA just has an iron-clad contract that keeps them there. Who knows.
While I can't pretend to know the reasons that the show stews in cable television obscurity, I can urge all of you to check it out. Here are just a few of the reasons that "Star" is better than "Idol":
- The Star contestants play instruments, the Idol contestants don't. It isn't required, but more performers than not are onstage holding a guitar. I don't know, but it seems to me that if you're going to go on TV and claim to be a musician, you should have a guitar in your hand.
- The contetants play original music. Not every week, mind you, but there are weeks when they must sing and perform original tunes. From what I saw, most of those tunes were really good. I will be shocked if half of them don't become hit singles.
- Each week, Nashville Star has a real performer perform. Some weeks it's a contemporary country star, other weeks it's a country legend like Charlie Daniels.
- When Nashville Star has a celebrity guest appearance, you get a current superstar like Tim McGraw. When American Idol has a celebrity guest appearance, you get a shot of a washed up Hall and Oates sitting in the audience.
- The judges and hosts are more knowledgeable/experienced than the Idol judges. How can Seacrest, Paula, Simon, and R-Dawg possibly compare with Leann Rimes, Cledus T. Judd, Phil Vassar, Anastasia Brown, and Bret Michaels? (yes, THAT Bret Michaels.) While the Idol judges do have impressive resumes, they are easily bested when compared to those of the Star cast.
- The Star judges give better advice. You commonly hear the Star judges talking about country, rock, gospel, outlaw, blues, etc, all with authority. What do you hear out of the Idol judges? "You rock dawg!" "That was pitchy!"
And finally, perhaps most importantly of all,
- You don't have to be a country music fan to like Nashville Star. There is definitely something for everyone, especially if you're a music fan.
Unfortunately, this season of Nashville Star is almost over, but you can catch a marathon repeat of the entire season this Tuesday on USA, followed by the season finale at 10pm EST.
You know, it occurs to me that "Idol" and "Star" perhaps shouldn't be compared head-to-head like this - they are, after all, shows about different things. One is about trying to find the next music superstar. The other is about finding the next teen idol. As for me, if I had a choice, I'd much rather be on Nashville Star.
How about you? Comments are open.
Posted by jkhat at April 23, 2005 05:07 PM
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|On Television linked with American Idol or Nashville Star?|
|# April 23rd, 2005 5:17 PM kris|
|I wouldn't get caught up on why Nashville Star is on cable and not on a network. It's probably a huge hit on USA, but a network wouldn't give it the time it needs to find an audience. Cable has had some of the absolute best reality shows:
These were all big hits on cable networks. Part of the problem is, I think, that major networks are completely unwilling to take risks so creative shows like these have to be on cable, where the risks & rewards are less.
The fact that these shows are on cable doesn't diminish the shows at all, it's just is another illustration of why the networks keep losing viewers.
|# April 23rd, 2005 5:21 PM james|
|now that carrie is doing so well on idol, and even bo for that matter, the networks should be thinking "hmm, maybe this country thing is where it's at....." |
|# April 23rd, 2005 5:25 PM kris|
|You could write an interesting post about how networks, based on the coasts, ignore music and trends that originate from the rest of the country. |
|# April 23rd, 2005 5:28 PM james|
|1) i dont think that's true, and 2) you pretty much said all there is interesting to say about the topic |
|# April 23rd, 2005 5:35 PM kris|
|I was thinking of this and then something like "Everybody Loves Raymond" or "Roseanne" which all the coasties seemed to hate, but got huge ratings, compared to all the urban NYC based comedies which got all the critical adoration and press.
But yeah, that's all I have.
|# April 23rd, 2005 5:43 PM kris|
|Ohhh, here's an idea: perhaps the Idol winner and Star winner could have a network-televised sing off? |
|# April 23rd, 2005 8:00 PM TheUnabrewer|
|"Most everyone in America has seen American Idol"
I'm a minority!
Star sounds better solely because of 1 and 2 though. Not that I can watch it now.
|# April 24th, 2005 12:03 AM Daddy|
|The only reason I have an interest is because of Bret Michaels.
I'm not so sure the coast networks ignore the rest of the country; CBS used to be BIG into country music. I don't know if it's changed or not. But I DO remember working for the promo department and hearing "Who says country doesn't ROCK?" about 100,000 times leading up to the Country Music Awards.
|# April 24th, 2005 10:33 AM txbamagirl|
|I agree with you. I have been watching
Nashville Star since last season. I
love it. I also think the contestants
are more talented than the idol contestants. I could see all 3 of the
star contestants having record contracts. I can't say that about idol..
Carrie, Bo, & vonsell maybe, but
certainly not Scott!! How he has managed
to stay on..I will never know!! Also,the
judges on Star do give better advice.
|# April 24th, 2005 10:43 AM kris|
|So who do people like best of the final three on Nashville Star? My favorites were Jayron & Justin, but since they're gone I'm leaning to Erika Jo. |
|# April 24th, 2005 10:59 AM mbrlr|
|I haven't watched, but the Arkadelphia policeman (where I was born, btw) is one of the finalists! I'll be rooting for him. |
|# April 24th, 2005 10:59 AM james|
|i hated justin.
i think that jason is the best performer, by far. he seems like a big phony to me, though. at first i was buying his "golly gee" oklahoman act, but i've since come to think that a lot of it is just that, an act.
erika is good, but ordinary when compared to other female vocalists.
i like jody the best - his original song "chances" was very good, and i like how his sound is reminescent of early hank williams style country. you know, back from the days when elvis was on country radio and hank was on rock radio. jody's style is a breath of fresh air, and one that i think could draw a lot of baby boomer fans in.
|# April 25th, 2005 6:48 AM oticorns|
|Hate to tell you but Hall and Oates are not washed up. They have made a big comeback and were voted into the Singer & Songwriters Hall of Fame last year. Just wait - within the next few years they will make the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. They have written so many songs and they actually look and sound better today. Last week I saw them at XM radio in DC. It was like a private concert - unbelievable. Their band is excellent. Beats that country crap you are pushing. |
|# April 25th, 2005 12:38 PM james|
|hall, is that you? does oates know that you're frequenting message boards as the user "oticorns?"
|# April 26th, 2005 11:17 PM JimBeck|
|I think you nailed it right on the head--I have watched every show of Nashville Star and find it to be everything you stated and more. LeAnn Rimes is truly a superstar and gives the show an outstanding flavor to anyone that loves music. Their voting also gives everyone a chance to select the best--since each person gets ten votes for whoever they want to select. (You can also get one vote on the internet.) The lines aren't locked out like American Idols are. You can't even get through to cast your own vote on American Idol. |