CRS 2019 New Faces of Country Music Show: The 5 Biggest Moments
Country Radio Seminar hosted its annual New Faces of Country Music dinner and show on Day 3 (Feb. 15) of the conference, held in Nashville, Tenn. Each year's lineup features some of the hottest up-and-comers in the genre and allows them to shoot their best shot with a few songs in front of an audience of radio professionals.
New Faces artists have gone on to big things: Alumni include Taylor Swift, Luke Bryan, Reba McEntire, Randy Travis, Carly Pearce and more now-certified hitmakers. Jimmie Allen, Russell Dickerson, Lindsay Ell, Lanco and Dylan Scott made up the Class of 2019 -- and, as this year marked the 50th anniversary of CRS, a few special surprises occurred ...
Tim McGraw Showed Up!
McGraw pulled the biggest surprise of the night with an appearance during the dinner portion of the New Faces of Country Music event, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of his own New Faces appearance. A video interview of McGraw reflecting on that night played before the curtains drew to reveal him onstage, singing his first radio No. 1 from 1994, "Don't Take the Girl." He walked throughout the audience, belting the well-known lyrics, and thanked attendees, saying, "Y'all have changed my life."
Russell Dickerson Turned "MGNO" Into an '80s Dance Medley
Dickerson brought the heat as the first New Faces performer of the night -- a prime slot. After an introduction during which he opted to make a donation to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital instead of producing a video and running through his hit "Every Little Thing," Dickerson impressed with an unexpected segue into his song, "MGNO." The singer began belting the lyrics to Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," and later the chorus to "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" by Whitney Houston; on top of that, he did the "floss dance," popularized by the video game Fortnite and internet culture, and received a few laughs. Dickerson's performance proved his populist appeal and fun side in a creative way.
Lindsay Ell Premiered a Brand-New Track!
Ell stunned as usual with amped-up renditions of her biggest hits, "Criminal" and "Castle," and then announced, "I'm gonna play you a brand new song my label hasn't even heard yet." The singer, who is currently writing for her next album, solicited gasps all across the ballroom. The song, titled "I'm the Heaven That You Wanna Go To," was lyrically prominent and smooth; she finished off the track by working in part of "Where the Streets Have No Name" by U2, from their famous album Joshua Tree.
Jimmie Allen's Performance Was Heartfelt and High-Energy
Allen took the stage after a heartfelt video of his son, playing through "Make Me Want To" and "Best Shot." He paraded into the crowd and thanked everyone in the audience, saying, "I can look my son in the eyes and tell him if you work hard and surround yourself with the right people, your dreams can come true," before closing out with "All Tractors Ain't Green." The song was a statement to the effort toward diversity on country radio.
Lanco Shared a New Song, Too!
The rising five-piece country band played simply and earnestly during their moment in the spotlight; they focused less on thrills and showcased their sound purely. In a bold move, however, Lanco played a brand-new song, titled "Save Me," for the audience. It was a sneak peek of new music that hints at a more polished version of their rowdy but subtly emotive sound.
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