The Next Best Thing

The Next Best Thing (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

The Next Best Thing: Who Is the Greatest Celebrity Impersonator? is an American reality TV series competition of celebrity impersonators with a grand prize of $100,000. It was hosted by Michele Merkin. The judges were Jeffrey Ross, Elon Gold and Lisa Ann Walter; ultimately, the winner was chosen by viewer voting. The eight-episode series debuted May 30, 2007 on the ABC television network and ended the same year.


The premiere featured contestants impersonating (among others) Howard Stern, Jack Nicholson, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Superman, Jennifer Aniston, Janet Jackson, Bill Cosby, Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Marilyn Monroe, Neil Diamond, Tony Soprano, David Letterman, Johnny Depp (as well as Captain Jack Sparrow), Jerry Lewis, Sean Connery, Gwen Stefani, Phil McGraw, Michael Jackson, Hank Williams Jr., Arthur (Fonzie) Fonzarelli, Marilyn Manson, Sonny Bono, Cher, Ozzy Osbourne, and Avril Lavigne.


The judges narrowed down the contestants to 30 semi-finalists, 28 of whom were featured in fully shown performances over two episodes. The semi-finalists were:


Of the 30 semi-finalists, the judges chose the following 10 to be finalists:

  • Sebastian Anzaldo
  • Trent Carlini
  • Donny Edwards
  • Roger Kabler
  • Suzanne LaRusch
  • Garry Moore
  • John Morgan
  • Sharon Owens
  • Natalie Reid
  • Cookie Watkins
  • Erv Dahl

Order of finish

American viewers voted, and ranked the finalists in the following order:

  1. Trent Carlini
  2. Sebastian Anzaldo
  3. Donny Edwards
  4. John Morgan
  5. Suzanne LaRusch
As the winner, Trent Carlini received $100,000.


  • The ten finalists of season 1 included two Elvis Presley impersonators; to reduce confusion, they were named "Blue Suede Elvis" (Donny Edwards) and "Heartbreak Elvis" (Trent Carlini), after the songs "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Heartbreak Hotel."
  • Little Richard appeared as a "surprise celebrity guest" in the last episode of season 1 (#108).

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