Saturday, June 11, 2011

Matt Mason wins 'CMT's Next Superstar'

Matt Mason
'CMT's Next Superstar' wrapped up its first season Friday night with a one-hour finale culminating in the "crowning" of Matt Mason as the winner. The finale was a nice, neat package opening with a mash-up of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash songs sung by Mason and runner-up Steven Clawson. From there, it only got better.

Rather than plump up the finale with filler, 'CMT's Next Superstar' producers Nigel and Simon Lythgoe kept it spare, focusing on the finalists. At one point, the entire Top 10 took to the stage, not for a cheesy group number, but for a little chit-chat with host Thea Andrews. Contestants had a chance to reflect on their favorite moments of the show and offer their thoughts on the finalists.

The only deviation from course came with a performance by Kristin Chenoweth, who it would appear, is intent on a career in country music. Chenoweth's off-key and under-rehearsed performance seemed almost an afterthought.

A highlight of the finale was a video recap of the season featuring a song written by fourth-place finisher, Wynn Varble. Varble, who turned 51 Friday, emerged as one of the more memorable and popular characters of the series. CMT would be wise to keep Varble around, possibly in his own show. Clearly, we've not seen the last of this cowboy!

In the end, 25-year-old Mason was declared the winner. In a flurry of confetti, Mason sang his new single, "After Midnight," which is available on iTunes. As the winner, Mason will be signed with Warner Music Nashville's Elektra imprint. In addition, Mason will open this fall's CMT on Tour show, with headliner Luke Bryan.

'CMT's Next Superstar' has been renewed for a second season. Auditions will take place this summer. For additional information, email

Watch the entire finale here.

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