By BRAD SCHMITT
The “Nashville Star” finale Tuesday night had excitement, fun, good music — and no surprises.
As predicted by the show’s own judges and many on Music Row, 20-year-old Murfreesboro native Chris Young became the fourth season “Nashville Star” champion in front of a packed BellSouth Acuff Theatre audience and an expected TV viewership of about 3 million.
The one person who was surprised: Young.
“I bet (contestant) Matt Mason $20 that (runner-up) Casey Rivers was going to win. At first I said $100 and Matt said $20, so I’m grateful for that,” Young told The Tennessean shortly after winning.
“I’m very excited my fans voted for me.”
Young hopes the second time will be a charm.
His first shot came a couple of years ago when he recorded some songs for a demo CD with producer Byron Gallimore (Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Jessica Andrews). Gallimore pitched Young to several labels but nothing came of those efforts.
Young said he thinks that past experience will actually help his future.
“I’ve been shopped around Nashville quite a bit. But you know what? It’s all about timing. And the relationships from before are going to help.”
Young had his struggles on the show, getting mixed reviews from judges in the first half of the season.
But he finished strong, especially on the show’s original songs night, wowing judges and the crowd with the music and some falsetto in a ballad he wrote, “Drinking Me Lonely.” He performed the song again last night.
Young will receive a deal with RCA Label Group — home to superstars Kenny Chesney, Brooks & Dunn and others — a Grand Ole Opry appearance and a new Chevy Silverado pickup truck.
Nicole Jamrose, 34, from Indiana, accepted her third-place finish with a smile and happy words. Jamrose told show co-host Wynonna: “Don’t you dare be sad … It’s been a wild ride.”
AMTC footnote: Chris Young, came to AMTC when he was 14 years old in the Summer of 1999. Way to go, Chris!
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