The Next: Fame Is at Your Doorstep is an American hour-long reality series on The CW television network that consists of a music competition to find new talent, the winner of the competition will receive a recording contract with Atlantic Records. The show is produced by CBS's Raquel Productions in association with 25/7 Productions, LLC and Flavor Unit Entertainment, Inc, and it is produced by Dave Broome ("The Biggest Loser"), Shakim Compere, and American singer and actress, Queen Latifah. The series premiered on August 16, 2012.
Unlike other talent shows, this one does not make auditions, the participants are mere local music artists with devoted fans, huge social media presence on Facebook and Twitter and even, some of them, worked before as opening acts for big names in the music. This competition intends, in every way to give them the big step to move out as headlining acts.
The original mentors panel consists of Gloria Estefan, Joe Jonas, John Rich, and Nelly, with Allison Hagendorf as the host of the show. They will spend 72 hours with musicians in six cities and help them prepare for the competition. The series will have six episodes, one for each city, followed by three live episodes.
In each episode of The Next, four mentors will drop in on the lives of four up-and-coming local musicians, moving on city to city, which will be chosen for a grand performance that would be broadcast on the upcoming 72 hours.
Over the course of 72 hours, each mentor will groom one contestant mentoring throughout the candidates personal life. When the session is up, the four newly groomed artists will go head-to-head at a well-known local venue. The audience will be filled with friends and family, as well as hundreds of local music fans. Since they’ve already established themselves on the local music scene, each contestant will have their own throng of local groupies and fan base. One winner will be chosen and that contestant will move on to represent their city in the semi-finals. Then it’s on to the next city and four more contestants.
Gloria Estefan was invited to form part of the main cast, liking the idea mainly because she would not judge, but help the contestant make a good presentation onstage.
Though Joe Jonas was about to say no to the project, mostly due to a busy schedule, the producers were persistent. After arranging a meeting with him, they gave Jonas a spiel of the show, raising the interest for the program, due the way it would be directed and for giving the opportunity to new artists the chances they deserved.
Rapper Nelly was invited personally by producer Dave Broome to the show, and though he wasn't sure at the beginning, it was the original direction different from other music competition shows which made him accept the mentoring role.
John Rich, an accomplished country music singer/songwriter, producer, and someone who has also been successful as a solo artist as well as a duo (Big & Rich), provided most of the personality for the show. Known for being offbeat, Rich's mentorship was often the highlight of each episode. In the end, it would be a performer mentored by Rich who would end up winning the competition. Rich also performed the most of any of the mentors, being featured 3 of the 5 times. These performances displayed Rich's talents in a variety of formats as he sang and played lead guitar with Nelly on a powerful rendition of "American Woman", then did "Superstition" with Gloria Estefan, and in the final episode performed the inspiring "That's Why I Pray" with Big & Rich partner Kenny Alphin.
Four performers will be chosen in Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Orlando, Los Angeles, and New York City. Each city will have one winner advance to the next stage, though viewers will also choose their favorite non-winner.
The following table contains all the contestants of the season and the song they performed. The participants highlighted in green were chosen by the public in each city to continue to the next round. The participant highlighted in blue was chosen by the public as a wildcard to continue to the next round.
The first round of the semifinals were broadcast live on The CW from the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles on September 27. Jordan Baird, Ali Brustofski, Krystle Cruz, Iliana, Ashley Kimbrae, Michael Ray were selected from their respective cities to compete.
Semifinalist Michael was already voted to perform at the final night, that same night Iliana, mentored by Gloria Estefan was voted as the second semifinalist for the final round. Performances for the third candidates were made, getting Jordan Baird mentored by Joe Jonas, the most public votes to make it to the finale.
Michael, who had John Rich as his mentor, sang Barefoot Blue Jean Night by Jake Owen. He killed it. He sounded just like he should have an album out already. Iliana decided to choose an older song. She came out to sing Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. The mentors thought it was a gamble, but they loved it. Jordan impressed Joe with a Ne-Yo song, and he even got the girls in the audience screaming. Gloria seems to have a little crush on Jordan, too.
Before the winner was announced, some bloopers were shown from the previous few weeks, and the seven contestants came back on stage together to sing Good Life. The mentors also showed off their talent by singing Tell Me Something Good. They did an awesome job.
After the votes were counted, the winner of The Next is... Michael Ray! This was no surprise as he has quite a bit of talent and will join the ranks of some great country singers, including John Rich. Michael will be getting that record contract with Atlantic Records.
Cricket Wireless is the main presenter of the music competition. The Next interacts with Cricket smartphones, using Muve Music and prepares them for the competition by exploring music playlists for inspiration or by selecting songs to perform. Muve Music will be featured prominently in the reality series.