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USA reveals 'Nashville Star 5' finalists, series to premiere January 11

By Steve Rogers, 12/15/2006 

USA Network has announced the identities of the ten finalists who will compete in its upcoming fifth edition of Nashville Star, the American Idol-like reality music competition that searches for America's next big country music star.

Hosted by Grammy-nominated singer Jewel -- the show's fourth host in its last four seasons -- Nashville Star 5 will premiere on Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 10PM ET/PT with a "supersized" 75-minute episode.

Cowboy Troy, who served as Wynonna Judd's co-host during last year's fourth season, will return and serve as Jewel's fifth season co-host. Also gone from the fifth season will be third and fourth season judge Phil Vassar. Instead, Alabama lead singer Randy Owen and country star Blake Shelton will join returning judge Anastasia Brown on Nashville Star 5's judging panel.

According to USA, over 20,000 country music hopefuls participated in the show's fifth season nationwide talent search. "Once again, the pool of talent exceeded all expectations," USA Network executive Jeff Wachtel stated in the network's cast announcement. "The ten who made it to the finals are among the best performers and most distinctive personalities ever to appear on Nashville Star."

Nashville Star 5 winner will receive a recording contract from Warner Music Group.

Nashville Star 5's ten aspiring country music star finalists -- and their USA-supplied profiles are:

Meg Allison, a 25-year-old quintessential American girl from Chicago, IL

Besides a sweet as sugar voice, Allison draws her inspiration from her mentally disabled sister and uses her voice to sing for both of them. A Graduate from Miami of Ohio University, she is ready to charm Nashville with her voice and smile.

Whitney Duncan, a 22-year-old a self described tomboy with supermodel looks from Scotts Hill, TN

Duncan has spent her entire life overcoming obstacles and looks at Nashville Star as her next challenge to tackle. She has had medical battles from two-years-old when she had heart surgery to her kidney surgery at age 17. Duncan's fight with her health propelled her drive to fight and succeed. By age 19, she had already performed a duet with the legendary Kenny Rogers.

Angela Hacker, a 29-year-old mother from Florence, AL

Hacker sees this competition as her last chance to achieve her dream of country music stardom. Her soulful voice and loving demeanor will be sure to capture the hearts of America but her own family might be split when it comes to voting as she'll be competing against her brother.

Zac Hacker, a 23-year-old from from Florence, AL

The younger brother of fellow finalist Angela, Zac has made his living playing music and singing since age 17. His voice has amazing depth and feeling as he lives his life with the memories of mistakes made by his musician father who has battled drug and alcohol addiction.

Tim LaRoche, a 36-year-old stay-at-home dad from rural White House, TN

If fun, adventure and personality could be wrapped up into one name it would be Tim LaRoche. With his unique look and style, LaRoche lives life to the fullest and enjoys performing and getting a crowd going. Born in Iceland and raised in Massachusetts, LaRoche brings his own form of country music to Nashville Star.

Kacey Musgraves, an 18-year-old recent high school graduate from Golden, TX

Musgraves might just have graduated high school but she is not a newbie to the music scene already having performed at the Presidential inauguration, the Olympics and on The Today Show. Still a small town girl, Musgraves' hometown has less than 300 people.

Rickiejoleen, an 18-year-old from Tempe, AZ

Rickiejoleen puts the "r" in rebel. She left school in eighth grade and has never looked back. A loner at heart, Rickiejoleen won't back down from anyone or any challenge.

David St. Romain, a 28-year-old from Baton Rouge, LA

Recently becoming a first-time father, this Cajun has a very strong and passionate voice mixed with a fun-loving personality. St. Romain has a new baby girl and a lot more now riding on achieving his goal to be the next Nashville Star.

Joshua Stevens, a 28-year-old from Churchville, IA

With pop star looks and a country music life Stevens will be a force in Nashville. He is happily married with two kids but also finds inspiration from his estranged relationship with his mother, whom he has not seen 18 years. Already with a publishing deal as a songwriter, Stevens is ready for the competition.

Dustin Wilkes, 26-year-old from Jefferson, GA

A former Marine, Wilkes is a true country boy. He is a former bouncer at the famed Nashville music bar Tootsie's where he still currently headlines. As a baby, Wilkes was adopted by his grandmother because his birth mother was too young to raise him.

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