Bulletin Staff Report

The race to become the next “Nashville Star” ended Monday night for Coffey Anderson, a Bangs native who is now based in Los Angeles.

“You’re an incredible showman and star, just not a Nashville star,” judge John Rich told Anderson after his first and only performance during the live NBC Television broadcast Monday. Rich had repeatedly commented during the show’s summer run that Anderson had talent, but that he did not consider him a country musician.

“You’re a great showman, and your charisma has carried you this far,” judge Jeffrey Steele said.

“You’re a natural,” judge Jewel told him. “There’s a difference in performing live and in the recording studio, but you’re great tonight.” Jewel, a resident of Stephenville, was the judge who has mentored Anderson throughout the series.

The show began eight weeks ago with 12 contestants, a field chosen from more than 45,000 who had sought the opportunity to gain national television exposure at the least - and hopefully a recording contract, new pickup, concert at the Summer Olympics and other prizes as this year’s reigning “Nashville Star.”

Audience voting by telephone calls and text messages conducted during the two hours immediately following each Monday night’s program have determined which performer would be eliminated on the following week’s show.

The three singers still in the running for the title are Shawn Mayer of May City, Iowa, and two Texans - Melissa Lawson of Arlington and Gabe Garcia of Lytle.

“This guy is electric,” program host Billy Ray Cyrus said of Anderson after he announced that the tall Texan was the performer whose “Nashville Star” dream was coming to an end this week. “I love you… You’re a class act.”

Cyrus had taken some criticism after last week’s program during which Anderson sang his own composition, “Southern Man.” Cyrus’ positive comments about the song appeared to endorse the tune, if not Coffey.

“I’m so thankful to have been here,” Anderson said. “I’ve learned so much.”

As one of the top four finalists, Anderson will join others from the show on a concert tour. But that will come after the newest “Nashville Star” is named during a live program at 9 p.m. CDT next Monday on NBC.

“You really took a licking and kept on ticking,” Jewel told Anderson on air after his elimination from competition was announced.

As part of Monday’s one-hour program, video shot last week during visits made by each of the four finalists in their hometowns was aired. Anderson, who could have either gone to his native Bangs or his current home in California, where his daughter lives, went to Los Angeles. He was shown with his father, Stanley, still a resident of Bangs, as well as his daughter, Savannah.

Also shown were Anderson being cheered by fans and members of the church where he is engaged in music ministry, the Dream Center near downtown LA. Anderson was shown with celebrities like Patricia Heaton, costar of “Everyone Loves Raymond” and other TV shows, and actor Sinbad.

When Cyrus asked him on the program Monday what he plans to do now that his chance to become “Nashville Star” has ended, Anderson said he was going to go home, take a short time off and then resume his concert touring and work at his church. He tipped his black cowboy hat to the audience, and said if he didn’t see them on tour, he would see them ministering at church near them.

Anderson also said he would probably pause long enough to cast his vote for one of the three finalists on “Nashville Star.”