Billy Ray Auditions Soldiers For "Nashville Star"


Billy Ray Cyrus photo courtesy of Walt Disney Records.

April 14, 2008 — With "Nashville Star" set to kick off on NBC June 9, the producers and host Billy Ray Cyrus have been involved thus far in the auditions for the show, which included cattle calls in Austin, Los Angeles and Music City. On Saturday, Billy Ray was also on hand in Norfolk, Va., for a special competition for a slot on the show among 44 military finalists.

"Somebody's going to change their lives out there today," Billy Ray promised the crowd, according to the Tidewater newspaper The Virginian-Pilot.

The auditions were held on the flight deck of the USS Iwo Jima, providing a rather dramatic backdrop for the servicemen and women, including several who were allowed to come from such overseas locales as Afghanistan and Japan to take their shot. More than 1,100 total contestants tried out during the weekend, The Newport News Daily Press reported.

In addition to songs by such familiar acts as Keith Urban, Brooks & Dunn and Toby Keith, the audition material also featured some original pieces inspired by war-related separations from family and by the loss of friends in the Middle East.

Names of those who will be featured on the TV show are being withheld until the season debut in June. John Rich and Jewel have been announced thus far as celebrity judges for the 12-week series.