American Idol gets all the attention but other music industries are welcoming a public talent search too. For country, it's Nashville Star, beginning its fifth season January 11. Jewel hosts the latest rounds of auditions and eliminations.
Interview: Jewel On Nashville Star
"What's nice is reality TV shows have come such a far way and what I think is great about Nashville Star is it's legitimate," she said. "I think the focus of Nashville Star is they're giving a showcase to legitimate artists and not many people are given any form for that."
Jewel remembers what it's like to struggle as an artist and hopes for the chance to mentor this latest crop of talent. "I think something Nashville Star does a really strong job at is all these musicians here, these next contestants, they all play at least one instrument. Most of them play three instruments and they all also are writers so these aren't just people singing that are great singers. They actually have a whole package which is unusual. I think that's one of the hardest things to promote and when you're that kind of artist to come up through, because people are looking for something kind of poppier and showier."
Though an experienced performer, the nitty gritty of TV work is new to Jewel, so cohost Cowboy Troy is helping her there. "He's great. He's one of the nicest people I've ever met and he's a real pro. He's done this show so he's been really generous with me and helping me along as I learn. This is a totally different format obviously than I'm used to, reading off the teleprompters and doing a two hour show and intros and exits and all that, so he's just been really helpful and I'm lucky to have him."
With the competition ready to begin, Jewel is already impressed by the finalists. "I don't know if it's because this is my first year being associated with [the show], but I have watched the past seasons and they've always been great contestants, but I was really amazed when I watched everybody perform. I read through their bios how experienced and how prepared and ready these people are for a break. It's a pretty fierce field that everybody's going to have to be competing in and everybody's really prepared. Everybody's very stage savvy, they've been on stage a long time. These aren't people that have never been on stage before. I think it's going to make for an exciting competition."
Nashville Star premieres January 11 on the USA Network.