Season Four to Premiere Tuesday, March 14 at 10/9C

Nashville, Tennessee -- February 1, 2006 -- Nashville Star, the nation's top-rated country music series, has named its 2006 cast it was announced today by Jeff Wachtel, USA's executive vice president of original programming. The cast of ten was handpicked from tens of thousands of country music hopefuls in a search that took Nashville Star through 18 markets nationwide. The season premiere will air in an all-new star-studded fashion on Tuesday, March 14, 2006 at 10:00 PM (ET/PT).

"This year's finalists probably represent the highest level of overall talent we've ever seen on the show. With great voices and unique personalities, we have ten real contenders to be America's next Nashville Star," says Wachtel.

The talent pool was greater than ever this year with audition numbers doubling and some of the nation's top music critics helping make the final decisions.

Sandi Davis, music critic for the Daily Oklahoman, helped judge in Oklahoma City and noted: "The caliber of talent who made it to the finals was amazing. We even had a guy show up from Germany! I truly believe the show found their next Nashville Star right here. I can't wait to tune in and see the show."

The talented final ten are as follows:

Matt Mason: Born in Pleasantville, IN, this 20 year-old is such a "country boy" he doesn't even have email. Matt's first performance was at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge in Nashville and was attended by the legendary Hank Williams, Jr.

Monique LeCompte: Monique is a 23 year-old power vocalist who is dead set on becoming a star. She is from Grand Terrace, CA and was raised by her grandparents who both recently passed away. Monique works three jobs to make a living and still finds time to pursue her dream of being a country music superstar

Jared Ashley: A Hobbs, NM native, Jared brings his "been there done that" attitude to the show. Jared joined the US Navy right out of high school and served two tours in the Persian Gulf. He says he is ready to rival Dierks Bentley for most frat houses played in America and has spent the last 6 years looking for his big break.

Shy Blakeman: Shy is a high-energy, southern-rock-infused 25 year-old from Laramie, WY bent on changing the boundaries of country music. After being shot in the face in an attempted car jacking in 2002, Shy approaches every show as though it may be his last.

Jewels Hanson: The self-proclaimed "Female Travis Tritt" from Freemont, CA quit her high-paying corporate job for a shot at Nashville fame and fortune. The 31 year-old says she never wants to work a desk job again.

Chris Young: Chris is a multi-talented 20 year-old with a flair for singing, song-writing and dancing. Chris considers himself an expert at Line Dancing and Hip-Hop. He is from Murfreesboro, TN and has a fan club of hundreds who follow him religiously across the country.

Nicole Jamrose: A 33 year-old mother of two from Schererville, IN, Nicole brings her folk- infused sound to the show. Nicole's Nashville Star auditions marks her one and only contention for any talent show title and was blown away to find out that she will be one of the ten finalists.

Kristen McNamara: A 20 year-old beauty from Napa Valley, Kristen brings a spirited personality and a heart-tugging life story along with her powerful voice and self-written songs. With a boyfriend in the US Army awaiting deployment to Iraq, Kristen plans on wearing a yellow ribbon in every episode in support of the US troops abroad.

Casey Rivers: Casey is a native of Lindale, Texas and hopes to follow in the footsteps of Lindale's other Nashville Star alum, Miranda Lambert. Casey is 23 and claims he briefly dated Miranda in high school. He has already shared the stage with country music greats Loretta Lynn and Willie Nelson.

Melanie Torres: Melanie is the 28 year-old ex-beauty queen from Terries, NM with a voice to kill. She is bilingual, speaking English and Spanish, and wore the Miss Albuquerque crown in 2000. After passing on the tiara, Melanie moved to Nashville with nothing in her bank account destined to make it big.

As previously announced, the winner of Nashville Star will receive a recording contract from the RCA Label Group, home to multi-platinum superstars Alan Jackson, Kenny Chesney, Martina McBride, Brooks & Dunn, Brad Paisley and Sara Evans among others.


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