It’s an election year, without doubt, but the presidential campaign is not the balloting that’s on the mind of Bangs native Coffey Anderson.
The singer-songwriter is one of 12 contestants on “Nashville Star,” which makes its season debut on NBC Television at 8 p.m. (CDT) today.
“It’s completely in the hands of the viewers,” Anderson said of show’s outcome while speaking in a telephone interview last week from Nashville. That’s where he and the other contestants are following a detailed schedule leading up to the opening show, and a series of live shows that will follow each week.
“Tell everyone to watch, and tell everybody to vote.”
Vote for Coffey, that is.
“Nashville Star” has been broadcast on the USA Network for five years, but it’s now expected to attract a larger viewing audience thanks to its move to NBC — and in prime-time.
The stakes are high, and so are the rewards. The performer who emerges at the end of this 12-week “Nashville Star” run will receive a six-album recording deal with Warner Brothers, a Toyota Tundra pickup and an appearance at the Summer Olympics in China.
“It’s truly going to be a world stage,” Anderson said. “This is going all over the globe.”
Anderson, who has been working lately in the Los Angeles area, recording music and performing in churches, said the timing of his appearance on “Nashville Star” is providential.
“If there ever was a season to be on this show, this is it,” Anderson said. “It’s the first year for it to be on NBC, so there’s a lot of excitement surrounding that. The top 50 acts that wanted to be on the show were competing for 12 spots, and it’s unbelievable that I’m there.”
It’s a situation with which Anderson, who is the son of Stanley Anderson of Bangs and the late Gloria Anderson, is familiar. He has previously made it through several levels of Fox Television’s “American Idol,” appearing on some of the shows before being cut. But he hopes the voters — and especially viewers in the Brown County area — will rally behind him in even greater numbers this time.
“Call everybody,” Anderson said. “Start voting and tuning in.”
Anderson said viewers can expect to see not only his familiar face and sound on “Nashville Star,” but a lot of good entertainment, as well.
“Everybody’s so good,” Anderson said. “You’ll be watching a really good show. And there will be some unexpected treats, too. There’s a lot more to it than some might think. And this time, I’ll be competing against some groups. They’ve got some of those acts on the show too.”
After spending several days in Nashville, Anderson said he’s quite impressed with the city that has adopted the nickname “Music City USA.”
“It’s like stepping directly into your TV, there’s so many big name people here,” Anderson said. But just because they are successful doesn’t necessarily mean they are unapproachable.
“Billy Ray (Cyrus) is the host, and he’s just the nicest guy,” Anderson said. “Everybody I’ve met has been fabulous.”
Anderson said his schedule has been busy since he was last in Brown County in September 2007. He was featured at the Christian music concert for the Brownwood Reunion Celebration.
“I’ve been touring, singing in churches and went to the Cayman Islands,” Anderson said. “Then I heard about this opportunity, and now, we’ve got this big show on Monday.”
A win on “Nashville Star” in 12 weeks would find him even busier.
From its previous position on USA Network, “Nashville Star” has advanced the careers of several performers. They include John Arthur Martinez, who went on to have the most played single in Europe and has performed with Mark Chesnutt and Randy Travis; Miranda Lambert, who had the album of the year, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” at the Academy of Country Music Awards; and Travis Howard, who is pursuing a movie career and is in the cast of “Elizabethtown” while writing songs.
After its NBC broadcast, the show can be seen throughout the week on CMT, Anderson said. But voting can only be done in connection with the Monday viewing.
Judges for the show are Cyrus, John Rich, Jeffrey Steele and Jewel, who is now living near Stephenville.
It’s not as though a Texas connection might give Anderson any advantage, though. Three other contestants also are from the Lone Star State.
“There’s been so much publicity for this show, it’s going to be massive,” Anderson said. “We’ve been so busy, it’s been hard to find time to practice.”
The contestants have been limited to where they can go and what they can do in recent days, a policy Anderson said is designed to keep them focused on the show and their performances.
“I trust the producers,” Anderson said, noting that a program representative was giving a signal that he needed to wrap up the interview. “But it’s been tough not talking to my dad. We usually talk to each other three times a day. If you see him, tell him I love him.”
Anderson also said that being away from his 5-year-old daughter Savannah is like “holding your breath and suffocating.” As a single father, he told the show’s producers he is competing for two — himself and his daughter.