A singing competition specializing in Country Music
, aired from 2003 to 2008. It ran on USA Network
for five seasons, before hopping to NBC
for its sixth and final season.
The show's original host was Nancy O'Dell. From Season 3 onward, each season brought a new host: LeAnn Rimes, Wynonna Judd, Jewel
and finally Billy Ray Cyrus. These seasons also had co-hosts: Cledus T. Judd
in Season 3; Cowboy Troy in Seasons 4 and 5; and CMT
personality Katie Cook in Season 6.
Basically the Country Music
version of American Idol
- Season 1: Buddy Jewell
- Season 2: Brad Cotter
- Season 3: Erika Jo
- Season 4: Chris Young
- Season 5: Angela Hacker
- Season 6: Melissa Lawson
- Guest Host: During Season 3, Sara Evans filled in for LeAnn on two episodes.
- Irony: Blake Shelton (one of the rotating judges) said of the show, "In order for the show to have credibility and for it to take another step, we need a Carrie Underwood to come out of it." Not long afterward, he married Season 1 third-placer Miranda Lambert, easily the biggest star the show has produced.
- Recycled IN SPACE!: American Idol WITH COUNTRY MUSIC!
- The Runner Up Takes It All: Zig-zagged.
- Season 1: Buddy Jewell had a strong start, with a gold album that produced two big singles ("Help Pour Out the Rain" and "Sweet Southern Comfort") that both peaked at #3 country and in Top 40 of the Hot 100. However, his second album completely tanked and he's barely been heard from since. The aforementioned Lambert had modest commercial (and very high critical) success from the get-go, but didn't really break through until her third album, Revolution, in 2009.
- Season 2: Winner Brad Cotter got into the Top 40 with "I Meant To", but disappeared after his debut album. Runner-up George Canyon had a flop single in the US called "My Name", but has maintained a steady career in his native Canada.
- Season 3 was a draw: Erika Jo had one album with a dud single ("I Break Things"), while runner-up Jason Meadows did one indie album and didn't chart with any of his five singles.
- Season 4: Averted, as Chris Young has had a fairly successful career despite a false start with his debut album — the next two albums produced five straight #1 hits, with his second album going gold.
- Season 5: Winner Angela Hacker got a contract with Warner Bros., but her only release for it was a CD full of demos she made while on the show. Fifth-place Whitney Duncan also got a contract with Warner, releasing a full album and two EPs, also charting a couple minor singles; she had previously gotten a guest vocal on a Kenny Rogers single back in 2004. Even seventh-placer Kacey Musgraves did better, as she had a successful album for Mercury Records in 2013.
- Season 6: Winner Melissa Lawson signed with Warner Bros. and fell just short of Top 40 with her single "What If It All Goes Right" before exiting the label. Fourth-place Coffey Anderson has had minor success as an indie Christian artist, and Justin Gaston got a few TV gigs.
- Sibling Rivalry: Angela Hacker beat her younger brother, Zac Hacker, in Season 5.