Bangs native Coffey Anderson is going into tonight’s fourth week of “Nashville Star” upbeat and enthusiastic about not only his live performances on national prime-time television, but also the entire experience.

“I’m really thankful and blessed to be here,” Anderson said as he prepared for another Monday night show, airing at 8 p.m. CDT on NBC Television. “You can’t believe what it’s like to receive the mentoring we’re getting. Very few people get to learn firsthand from someone like Jewel, because the record labels usually don’t put the established artists with the newcomers.”

Jewel, who lives in Stephen-ville, is one of three celebrity judges on the show, and she is the mentor for the male performers. She and the other judges — John Rich and Jeffrey Steele and Jewel — offer their opinions on each performance, but the television audience votes for their favorites by telephone after the program airs. One performer is dropped from the show each week.

While no one wants to be the one to leave, Anderson said having to watch one of their group exit is tough.

“We lean on one another,” Anderson said. “We’ve been together so long that we’ve become a family, and it’s very difficult to lose a family member. But it’s still a contest. Yes, it’s definitely bittersweet. You don’t want to see anyone go.”

The performer who is left at the end of the 12-week series will receive a multi-release recording contract, a Toyota pickup and a singing engagement at the Summer Olympics in China.

Billy Ray Cyrus is the show’s host.

Anderson said last week’s assignment, in which the performers were asked to take a popular tune and perform it in a country style, was particularly difficult, and that he gambled somewhat with his choice.

Two of the judges weren’t so impressed.

“You take that in stride,” Anderson said of the constructive criticism. “But John Rich got it.” He said the audience for the show also seemed to be with him last week, too.

This week, the format will be back to its country roots, and Anderson has decided to reach to the genre’s foundation with a Hank Williams song.

“Not Hank Williams Jr., but Hank Williams,” Anderson said. “That’s as country as it gets.”

Anderson said the talent is so deep on the show that he’s convinced even those that don’t go deep into the competition have a strong chance of having major entertainment careers, and the exposure they are receiving on “Nashville Star” will give each of them a big boost.

“There’s some lasting friendships being made, and we’re meeting some top people,” Anderson said. “To see all this and to see where careers are going, it’s just amazing. You can’t believe.”

Anderson’s work is featured on his Web site www.coffeysouthernman.com and on YouTube and MySpace, under “coffey

southernman.”

“I just wanted to sing for the people, and I thank the good Lord for this opportunity,” Anderson said. He hopes that the viewers will again vote for him enough times to give him another opportunity on national television next week.