February 9th, 2011
05:21 PM ET
"American Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is teaming up with Simon again.
No, not Simon Cowell; this time around, Lythgoe is working with his son Simon to launch a singing-songwriting competition series on CMT, according to a statement from the network.
"CMT's Next Superstar" is slated to begin in April on the Nashville-based country music network.
“This isn't just a singing competition, the contestants will also be judged on their song writing, radio interviews and music videos,” Nigel Lythgoe said in a statement. “We're looking for more than just a singer, we want the complete creative, talented package – performer, personality and writer. We want the next Country superstar.”
It is not the first time the Lythgoes have worked together. Simon has been a producer on "Idol" since 2002. The elder Lythgoe credits his son with some of his success, since it was Simon who, in 1999, was a young producer on the Australian version of "Pop Stars," which was the inspiration for "Pop Idol" and later "American Idol."
But in the sea of reality competition shows, how will this one stand out?
According to Simon, this show is the only one "where the contestants take an active role in deciding who's in the band,” he said. “Whereas contestants must sing in different genres on other shows, this is all about Country music. Our contestants will turn some world renowned songs from other genres like Pop or Motown, pour their soul into it and make it Country.”
The contestants will attempt to win over celebrity guests each week by competing in music business challenges and performing. Every week a contestant will get the boot, but the viewers will determine who gets to win the title in the end.
The judges for the 10-episode series have not yet been announced, but the finale will be held at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, a former home of the Grand Old Opry, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The winner will be announced during the CMT Awards, to be held in June, with a single to be released in tandem.
"Country music is all about storytelling, personalities and putting yourself into the songs," Nigel told THR. "This show is not about going to a set, it's about being in a location that has history to it. We're down and dirty in the heart of Nashville."
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