Not surprisingly, big-voiced Melissa Lawson took the title of Nashville Star as the reality show, in its sixth season but now on NBC, revealed that American voters preferred this mom of five with the sparkling personality over Gabe Garcia.
It was the right choice. Garcia has an OK voice, this Texan's country. But he has a wooden stage presence.
Lawson now wins a recording contract with Warner Bros., gets to release the single she sang at the closing Monday night (a treacly, feel-good anthem cut from the American Idol cloth called What If It All Goes Right) and will perform at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics -- where all the athletes will likely go, "Nashville Star??? What's that?"
The closing show was, like Idol, pageanty and not very country. Lawson and Garcia sang the drippy Dirty Dancing pop anthem, (I've Had) The Time of My Life, country legend George Jones was brought out for a millisecond and apparently no reason aside from making the poor guy look bewildered, and the finalists had to pretend to enjoy singing host Billy Ray Cyrus' 90s hit Achy Breaky Heart when they all probably would rather be sharing a stage with his daughter Miley Cyrus.
A Nashville Star winner has yet to fulfill that title (Miranda Lambert did not win NS or even make the final two). Chris Young, two seasons ago, is the most promising talent and hopefully his second album, due this fall, will catch on commercially. (I have an advance and it's the real deal). I hope Lawson fares better than last year's winner, Angela Hacker, who was sabotaged by Warner Bros., as she was hustled into the recording studio immediately after she won and had to record cover songs and weak originals and failed miserably. Lawson deserves better (and, please, no power pop ballads).
Meantime, Idol Watch readers, I'm on vacation but couldn't resist posting these last two items. I'll return in two weeks.