John Rich’s ‘The Next’ Contestant Michael Ray Advances to Live Shows in Los Angeles

Written by SLN Staff Writer
John Rich’s ‘The Next’ Contestant Michael Ray Advances to Live Shows in Los Angeles

Did you catch the premiere of The CW’s new singing competition “The Next” last week?

The new show, which travels to cities across the country to find “The Next” big thing, features four music industry superstars — pop icon Gloria Estefan, country star John Rich, hip-hop star Nelly, and pop star and actor Joe Jonas. In the first episode, the mentors made their way to Orlando, FL to search for four undiscovered artists on the verge of stardom.

Singer/songwriter Michael Ray from Eustis, FL, who was the only country singer on the first episode, was surprised when Rich showed up at his doorstep to help him prepare for the show.

Michael took time to reflect on the experience prior to his performance of Eric Church’s “Springsteen” on “The Next.”

“[John Rich has] taught me a lot of how to relax on stage, how to not try to be so structured,” he explained. “Don’t over think the shows. Just let it go. He told me numerous times, ‘I have faith in you.’ That gave me a huge confidence boost.”

Michael also enjoyed Rich’s company.

“John is one of the funniest guys I have ever met. It was awesome to have him in my life for those three days,” said the 24-year-old singer. “As much knowledge as that man has for country music, it’s crazy. He’s a great guy. I respect him as an artist and as a person. I am very fortunate.”

Fortunate is right – He won over the live audience in Orlando and advanced to the next round…the live shows in Los Angeles!

“The Next” will visit five additional cities prior to heading to Los Angeles. Be sure to tune in Thursdays at 9/8 c.

The CW will broadcast the final three episodes of “The Next” live from Los Angeles on Thursday, Sept. 27 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET), Tuesday, Oct. 2 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET), and the special two-hour finale on Thursday, Oct. 4 (8:00-10:00 p.m. ET). During these live performance episodes, viewers will be able to vote online and through social media for their favorites, narrowing the field until one is chosen as “The Next.” The winner will receive an Atlantic Records recording contract.

Fans can keep up with Michael Ray on Twitter and Facebook. His performance of “Springsteen” can be downloaded HERE.

CMIL fans may also recognize Michael Ray from the 3rd Annual CountryMusicIsLove Concert Benefiting City of Hope. He was one the performers we hand-selected to appear. We wish Michael the best of luck on his way to becoming “The Next!”