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  1. #1
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    Nigel Lythgoe to Launch Country Singing Competition on CMT (Carrie mention)

    Yet another competition show to try to find a "Carrie Underwood".

    The "American Idol" exec producer is teaming up with his son, Simon, for "CMT's Next Superstar," to premiere in April.

    The Brits are going country.

    American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe and his son Simon are teaming for a new singing-songwriting competition series. CMT's Next Superstar -- from Legacy Prods and Big Red 2, owned by Nigel and Simon, respectively -- is in production and slated for 10 episodes beginning in April on the Viacom-owned, Nashville-based country music network. The winner will be announced during the CMT Awards in June with a single to be released in tandem. "Country music is all about storytelling, personalities and putting yourself into the songs" says Nigel. "This show is not about going to a set, it's about being in a location that has history to it. We're down and dirty in the heart of Nashville."

    That means the cast could cut vocals at Sun Studio, where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and others made seminal records. Or they might visit an Army base as part of a patriotic theme. "I'd like to take them to a prison and have them write a song about retribution or why they should mend their ways," says Simon, 36, recalling Cash's classic live album At Folsom Prison.

    Judges have yet to be determined, but the show's finale will be held at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, a former home of the Grand Old Opry. It's not the first time the Lythgoes have worked together. Simon, whose mother is former dancer Bonita Shawe, has been a producer on Idol since 2002, tasked with shooting Carrie Underwood in her hometown of Checotah, Okla. during Season 4. Now, he is taking the lead as Superstar’s Nashville-based showrunner, with Nigel staying in Los Angeles on the Idol set.

    In fact, the older Lythgoe credits his progeny for bringing the original Idol idea to his attention. In 1999, Simon was a young producer on the Australian version of Pop Stars, the inspiration for Pop Idol and later American Idol. " Simon has a lot to do with this entire genre of shows," Nigel says. "It's how this whole crazy situation began."

    Read on for THR’s Q&A with the father-son team.

    THR: CMT’s Next Superstarwill inevitably be compared to American Idol and Nashville Star. How is your show different?

    Simon Lythgoe: No one episode is the same. We’re changing locations all the time, shooting in Nashville, Memphis and Texas. Every challenge is different. Every guest judge will be different. On Nashville star, they didn’t have media challenges. We’re giving them radio training and putting them through photo shoots and music video challenges. We’re putting them on a tour bus. You're really going to get to know these contestants really well, just by being with them 24-7.

    Nigel Lythgoe: It not just going to be another American Idol production, why would I be involved in that? I've got the best. From my point of view, I want to change it up totally.

    THR: What else can you tell us about the format of the competition?

    Simon: We're putting the onus on the contestants, where they can really make the song their own. We will pick the genres and they have to then turn it into a country song, but make it their own. So if they want a fiddle, they can have it. If they want a steel guitar, they've got it. They can go their own their path, but they are responsible for how they perform. We'll give them the tools, they have to take control of it. We're not the run-of-the-mill, studio-based, glitz and glamour show.

    THR: And they will be living together?

    Simon: Yes, we’re putting them into a music mansion outside of Nashville where they will live together and work together. There will be rehearsal studios in the mansion as well. It's not a hundred percent locked in yet, but the one we're looking at is a famous person's house.

    THR: What about the judges and the prize?

    Nigel: The permanent judges will definitely have someone that represents the music label, because the end prize is a record deal. Also the winner will be an act on the CMT Tour, which hits the road in summer.

    Simon: Similar to Idol, we will have a guest judge each week who specializes in a particular field. If we're shooting a music video, which is one of the challenges, we will show all the backstage stuff, the director, the casting, how they produce it. Then we'll stream it to film students who vote to determine who the bottom two contestants are.Otherwise the judges decide.

    THR: Is the production big like it is on Idol?

    Nigel: No, it's not. It's much more about being in bars, famous country music spots, the Mother Church of Country Music, the Grand Ole Opry, where our finale will be.

    Simon: Or Sun Records, where Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and a bunch of royals came out of. So one of the challenges will be to go there and sing a song out of their catalogue.

    THR: Simon, what have you learned from your father about television?

    Simon: How important a person's personality is when you're trying to find a star. I was the first producer to drive nine hours to Carrie Underwood’s hometown, which was the quietest place I've ever been to. But to see that and to draw Carrie Underwood's personality out with Nigel in the edit suite – he will hone that personality and make a star out of it. It's not just about vocal ability, it's about America falling in love with that star. And that's exactly what we're trying to do in this series. We want America to fall in love with the person just as much as, and they'll see that through the song and performances, it's not just about vocal ability.

    THR: Nigel, what have you learned from your son?

    Nigel: Without him, I wouldn't be here, I don't think. By him working on Pop Stars in Australia, and seeing that whole style of production where you actually show the bad auditions along with the good auditions -- and even show the auditions, which had never really been done before -- that sent me on the road to Idol, which is what brought me here.

    Nigel Lythgoe to Launch Country Singing Competition on CMT (Exclusive) - The Hollywood Reporter

  • #2
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    Gosh, they've already found the best Carrie Underwood. Don't think lightening will strike twice!!!! Just sayin'! Knock yourself out trying to find another one but I like the original just fine!!!!

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    Insane Carrie Fan abbeyjones18's Avatar
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    Interesting... I don't think they mean it as "Oh, we have to find the 'next' Carrie Underwood", I think they mean as, "Country music has been in the mainstream, because of Carrie and Idol (and others), and we want to continue that...". I think that the Carrie mention is out of respect for her and her career...

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    Carrie Fans Maniac kewlie78189's Avatar
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    good thought but it wont happen..lol

  • #5
    Insane Carrie Fan Kenny_Chisholm's Avatar
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    Didn't they already have Nashville star and the show didn't do all that well?

  • #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by abbeyjones18 View Post
    Interesting... I don't think they mean it as "Oh, we have to find the 'next' Carrie Underwood", I think they mean as, "Country music has been in the mainstream, because of Carrie and Idol (and others), and we want to continue that...". I think that the Carrie mention is out of respect for her and her career...
    I think you took my post the wrong way -- I know they didn't mean any disrespect to Carrie. I believe that Nigel is quite fond of Carrie. He was one of the producers of Carrie's holiday special 2 years ago.

  • #7
    Insane Carrie Fan abbeyjones18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaisyTweets View Post
    I think you took my post the wrong way -- I know they didn't mean any disrespect to Carrie. I believe that Nigel is quite fond of Carrie. He was one of the producers of Carrie's holiday special 2 years ago.
    I also believe that Nigel is fond of Carrie, too! I was just saying that I think that some might take in "trying to find the next Carrie Underwood" the wrong way...

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    Insane Carrie Fan Gator's Avatar
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    Personally, I think they are setting themselves up to fail if the are trying to find the next Carrie Underwood. There is only ONE Carrie Underwood!

    They would be better off stating their objective is to find a country superstar, that seems like a more reasonable feat for them and takes the pressure off the contestants.

  • #9
    Carrie Guru rainbow1's Avatar
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    Looks like these Idol type shows are giving the labels a run for their money! Simon Cowell's show too!

  • #10
    Carrie Guru Country_Carrie's Avatar
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    Everyone always tries to find the next Carrie Underwood and fail...There's just no one like her, she was a once in a lifetime find

  • #11
    Ultimate Carrie Fan CUFan7's Avatar
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    How do you audition?

  • #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by abbeyjones18 View Post
    Interesting... I don't think they mean it as "Oh, we have to find the 'next' Carrie Underwood", I think they mean as, "Country music has been in the mainstream, because of Carrie and Idol (and others), and we want to continue that...". I think that the Carrie mention is out of respect for her and her career...
    Thank you for such a well said post.

    But in reality on here, every time that the comment "finding the next Carrie Underwood" comes up 80% of the people on here take it the WRONG WAY.

  • #13
    Carrie Guru Carrie_Rocks_The_House's Avatar
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    That is so cool that Carrie made a great impact in country

  • #14
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    At this rate, "the next Carrie Underwood" may be so commonly used that it will appear in a future edition of a published Dictionary.

  • #15
    Obsessed Carrie Fan sur_crazy4carrie's Avatar
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    'the next Carrie Underwood' - a phrase commonly used to describe the kind of person talent shows are looking for but will never find

    I'm glad that country music is being treated like a cultural commodity and not just a radio format but there's a bit of an over-saturation at this point.

  • #16
    Carrie Guru pklongbeach's Avatar
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    This type of show is just so played out.
    It will be interesting to see if Simon can tweek it into something we haven't seen a million times.
    But I gotta tell you, I am really kind of tired of these shows where we are supposed to be "Wowed" by some unknown who is then going to run for a huge career and make it big.
    I'm just kind of over it.
    I am enjoyng Idol this year, and I will likely check out X, but I will not be going over to CMT to watch yet another singing compitition.
    It's all just too much.
    Hasen't every hopeful singer in the country already tried?
    It's always telling to me when contestants who make it on Idol devulge that they already auditioned in the past.
    Like they weren't good enough then but the are now. The human voice doesn't work that way. You are either good enough now or you are not.
    Anyway, just over it.
    Especially considering what we have seen with CMT and how Country Industry will see this winner as "hand chosen" while other winners of other compititions who shall remain nameless are considered outsiders.
    I guess I am just over the whole idea.


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