'Nashville Star' recap: Melissa Lawson's first single doesn't suck!

Melissalawson_lA surprise to, well, no one, Melissa Lawson is our new Nashville Star. (Click here to read Whitney Pastorek’s no-holds-barred Q&A with the champ.) In the end, it came down to the mother of five vs. Gabe Garcia, the Hispanic-American former electrician who finally learned how to "turn his Texas on." The evening’s high and low notes:

• Breakout performance: Cohost Katie Cook’s breasts. They’re the only thing that I’m 100 percent certain I’ll remember a year from now.

• Performance we’d most like to forget: Tie between the awkward "(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life" duet Melissa and Gabe were forced to suffer through, and the finalists’ group number with host Billy Ray Cyrus. Was the plan always to use the backup dancers (clones from Jessica Simpson’s "These Boots Are Made for Walkin’" video) just for Gabe’s portion of "Achy Breaky Heart," or did Melissa and third-place finisher Shawn Mayer kindly ask producers to get them the hell off the stage? I wonder…

• Reason Melissa deserved to win: Aside from her pitch-perfect performances of Rascal Flatts’ "My Wish" and Sugarland’s "Something More," the fact that she managed to belt what will be her first single, the inspirational but not-at-all-Idol-schlocky "What if It All Goes Right," while pulling confetti from her mouth and hugging her husband and five boys. That is a pro.

• Reason we’d have been okay if Gabe had won: He finally started showing some personality, singing Brad Paisley’s "Celebrity" (about the inane perks that come with being a reality TV star). He also sounded great on Alan Jackson’s "Gone Country."

• Reason we’re okay that Shawn didn’t win: We love her, but she didn’t do to Miranda Lambert’s "Gunpowder & Lead" what she’d done to Gretchen Wilson’s "Here for the Party." We want Shawn to write songs, hang out with George Jones some more, then give Music Row another go.

So, will you go see the final four (hey, Coffey!) on tour? And will you buy Melissa Lawson’s album, which, like her single, will be produced by John Rich?

addCredit(“Nashville Star: John Russell”)

Comments (130 total) Add your comment
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  • Stephanie T.

    1. Shawn Mayer needs a Spanx Bra.
    2. I feel bad for Billy Ray because it must have felt awkward knowing that the only song anyone knows he sang is Acky Breaky, yet his daughter is bigger than him.
    Mel was awesome. Congrats! And, yeah Garcia will make Freddie Fender proud.

  • Rebekah

    Yes to the album most definitely!!!
    And if the tour comes to Georgia,
    most def. yes just to see her perform but I’ll be somewhere else when Coff”ay” is on stage. Ashley should be touring with them, not him.
    Face it you guys, Melissa is a powerhouse. She’ll be right up there with Wynonna (who I’ve thought se reminds me of from day 1), Trisha, and Martina. Give her time, she’s already on the right road. And John believes in her so He’ll do great things with and for her.

  • Terry

    I’m happy for Mellisa !
    And I agree with Rebekah that
    Ashlee should be touring with
    them, NOT Coff’ay !
    I was rooting for Ashlee from the beginning, i still think she will get a recording contract soon !

  • Whit

    No to whether I will buy the single/album. While the viewers at least got the most talented two in the final, they are both a disappointment. We need more Carter Family/Jimmie Rodgers/early Hank Williams country music. What I heard on this program aint’ country.

  • Wendy

    I can’t say that I’m a country fan particularly, but I know talent when I hear it, and Melissa is great! Country, cross-over, pop, whatever. That girl has great vocals and if the first song that she ever wrote and performed is any hint of things to come, she has a wonderful song-writing career ahead of her also. I just stumbled on Nashville Star by accident, but I will watch it every year, if she is an example of the talent in this genre. But they have to get rid of Billy Ray Stiff Man Cyrus as a host! He was the worst part of every week. Isn’t there anyone else they can get?

  • Zarah

    I was impressed with both finalists. It didn’t look as tho it was killing them to sing. Most singers look as if every note they sing is painful. Melissa, however has the stage presence & attitude to pull this off. Just like Miranda Lambert did. As someone mentioned above Melissa reminds me of Wynona a lot too. Spunk, size & a git-r-done attitude. What if it all goes right is a great song & she does it well. A true pro!

  • JENN


  • maggie

    Melissa won! I am so thrilled about it! I heard her sing “Flower in the Rain” and I was hooked. Awesome voice. Yes, I will buy!

  • kim

    I think the right person won and yes I am buying the cd!!! Gabe is going to make it as well I am sure they both have mighty fine voices. Congrats Melissa I voted for you all alog and glad you are the next star of Nashville.

  • Anonymous

    No No No to the album. LOL. Like someone else said – being the best two in this competition isn’t really saying a whole lot. Both are utterly forgettable. I’d be shocked if they had a bigger career than Angela Hacker (the last Nashville Star – remember her?)

  • Shelly

    I am very happy for Melissa. She is an Arlington, Texas girl and that makes her special with me. I thought Gabe was awesome also. He just needs to connect with the audience more. He is on his way. These two were my favorites from the start. Coffey is not that good and I agree Ashley should have beat him out.

  • rcurley

    no way should Coffey been in the top 4
    Ashlee was a way better singer than him and more talented. she should have been in the top 3. I like Shawn but I think Ashlee was better.

  • bas

    Miranda did a great job, but I was rooting for Gabe. He was the only one on the whole show whose voice would make me stop to listen if I was scanning through radio channels. I just like that whole George Strait, Alan Jackson kind of vibe. Miranda has a lovely voice, but it’s definitely that pop-ification of country, which drives me nuts. As to the comparisons with Wynona — if you’ve ever seen Wy in concert, you would know that Miranda isn’t even in the same ballpark.

  • suzette

    Melissa Lawson is going to do for Nashville Star what Carrie Underwood did for American Idol. Missy L. can sing! AND she’s got the personality and the stage presence to take it all the way. She’s a true talent.

  • bas

    Ack – I don’t know why I keep calling Melissa “Miranda” – it must just be stuck in my head for some reason! Sorry! Also, does anyone know what’s become of last year’s winner?

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