As the new USA Network competition series Real Country continues, we learn more about the goals of coaches Shania Twain, Jake Owen, and Travis Tritt. For Tritt, the goal is to “bring back traditional sounding artists.” Shania says she is interested in bringing back “diversity.” And Jake is looking for modern country music. However, it’s out of their hands as the contestants are competing for the attention of the voting audience and the guest judges.
With special guest judge Wynonna in the house, the three contestants, representing the three coaches, were challenged with performing songs that fit the theme of “hitting the road.” Host Graham Bunn explained that the songs would be about the artists blazing their own trails.
In round one, the first artist to perform, representing Travis, was Scooter Brown from Golden, Colorado. “The thing I love the most about you Scooter is that you approach the music the same way that I always did,” Travis told him. “I always loved to bring in the bluesy side and the rockin’ side. And you represent all of that.”
For his first performance, Scooter sang Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You Say” with his wife and children watching from the audience. As the in-studio audience contemplated their scores, Jake told Scooter, “The whole package is there, man, you did a great job” and Shania commented, “We need to keep rock in country, so thank you.”
With the votes tallied, Scooter received 4.3 stars.
Next up was Jake’s pick, Savannah Keyes from Salt Lake City, Utah singing Kacey Musgraves “Merry Go ‘Round” for her first selection. Immediately following her performance, she broke into a happy dance and declared, “That was fun!”
“You are captivating,” Jake told the bubbly blonde. “Just the way that you bring people into you is what makes a star.” Shania told Savannah, “I think you have a very pretty voice and I think just everybody loves you in here.” Travis added, “The thing about your personality, it reminds me of a young Dolly Parton.”
With the final votes in, Savannah scored 3.9 stars.
Opelousas, Louisiana’s Kylie Frey was up to finish the first round of performances, but before she sang, Shania had a little intel on her pick. She told Kylie and the audience, “I heard a story about you that when you were in kindergarten, Kylie goes into school on career day, and much to the teacher’s surprise, she doesn’t show up as a teacher or a doctor, she shows up as Shania Twain.”
After her cover of the Dixie Chicks’ “Wide Open Spaces,” Travis told her, “I’m doing even better after that performance, that was really good.” Jake added, “This whole show has been full of talent and every time someone like you steps up here it’s like, man, it just gets better and better. You did a great job tonight.”
After fan voting was completed, Kylie earned 4 stars, earning her the second spot in round two with Scooter Brown.
The legendary Wynonna joined the panel of coaches for round two and said she had just arrived from her farm. “I came here to get all of the attention I need because I don’t get this kind of applause at home,” she joked.
Scooter was up first with his rowdy rendition of the Allman Brothers Band’s “Ramblin’ Man.”
Following his performance, Wynonna told him, “I appreciate the fact that it’s simple. I’m so sick and tired of the acrobatics that singers try to weave into a line. Just sing the freakin’ song. This is my therapy, man, this is where it gets real. Sometimes when you watch a singer you feel like they’re removed from the audience, and it was real to me.”
It was a little voice from the audience saying, “We love you daddy,” that may have been the most important vote of the night, but the fans and Wynonna cast their votes, which were held until the end of the show.
Kylie was up next singing Julie Robert’s tender “Break Down Here.” Wynonna had a bit of advice in her feedback to the young singer. She began by telling her, “I’m a Judd, not a judge. I always say that because everybody has got an opinion.” She went on to say, “Your voice, an automatic yes. I’m going to tell you something I didn’t expect to say—keep your eyes open. I wanted to almost see you do one of these. I’ve seen Ann Wilson literally get the microphone and get down on it. You’re so believable, but I want your eyes open and I want to make more of a connection with you because you’re one step away from being absolutely in my soul, and me feeling you.”
With Kylie’s votes tabulated, it was down to revealing the scores and announcing the winner who earns $10,000, a spot on the line-up at Stagecoach Music Festival and a performance in the finale.
And the winner with 4.5 stars was Kylie Frey!