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CMT's 'Gone Country' Is Surprisingly Entertaining

February 11th, 2008 9:35am EST | MatthewJ Swanson By: MatthewJ Swanson favorite Add to My News
Dee Snider"Gone Country," a show in which mostly washed-up singers are resurrected as country stars, is the first show, to my knowledge, on CMT that I've watched in its entirety. I wouldn't call myself a country fan by any means, and at first glance this didn't seem like an appealing show at all. That was until I saw the lineup of goof balls that they had enlisted:

Dee Snider: He's the cross-dressing front man of Twisted Sister whose last major hit was over 20 years ago. I "met" him once in Chicago. He was going through a revolving door with me. I threw some metal horns at him with my hands, and said, "Dee flipping Snyder" through the glass. He ignored me, so I assumed he was a jerk. But I'm sure he's sick of morons like me, and I will say, he comes off very likable in this program. I can also relate to his caffeine addiction. You haven't seen a true caffeine junkie until you see a hair metal dude rummage through a house for a coffee maker and then scream into his microphone that if he didn't get some coffee he was driving out to get some. Dee has truly broke ground by being the first reality show star to yell into his microphone and to flip out over a hot beverage.

Carnie WilsonCarnie Wilson: Okay, fine, she is the daughter of rock legend Brian Wilson, but when they played clips of "Hold On," her stomach churning hit with Wilson Phillips, it was a painful reminder of just how crappy that song was.

Maureen McCormick. TV's Marsha Brady: Why? Well, evidently she parlayed her TV success on the corniest show of all time into a moderately successful singing career. That was news to Dee and me. Dee and I also learned that, as he said, "She needs to be medicated." This gal is moved to tears and/or laughter by just about everything. To say she is excitable is an understatement, and I look forward to lots of nutty moments from her in the episodes to come. However, as wacky as her personality may be, she did put out a country record and star in "Get To the Heart: The Barbara Mandrell Story," so she may have an inside track to country stardom.

Julio Iglesias, Jr: This guy is my "horse" as far as who I think will win, and he might actually sell records as a direct result of his involvement with this show. He has good looks and a strong voice, he plays guitar, he writes his own lyrics, and he may be able to bridge that gap between Latin and country fans. He gets a lot of flack from the other contestants for being a pretty boy, but he seems like a real good guy. Jeez, it sounds like I know these people, so I guess I'm no less nutty than them, right?

Cisco: That's right, the guy who gave us "The Thong Song" is trying his hand at country stardom. It turns out he's more of virtuoso than a lot of people may have given him credit for in that he did his own string arrangements on his records, etc. This pint-sized, yellow haired, African American kid is taking this thing seriously, so I wouldn't count him out either.

Bobby BrownBobby Brown: I'll be honest. He is why I tuned in to "Gone Country." I loved watching him on "Whitney and Bobby," and I grew up a fan of his music. Surprisingly, he's not nearly as goofy when he's free of Whitney, drugs, and combinations there of. It always did seem that he was the more together of the two, which may not be saying much, but given his history with her (his arrests, drug habits, and strained working relationship with New Addition), I was expecting a loose canon. To the contrary. He comes off as a gracious, humble contestant who gets along well with the other folks in the house. Okay, fine, his police escorted plane landing to board the Motor Home with the rest of the cast was not a very humble entrance, but after that, Mr. Brown has been a model, reality show fella.

I don't like his chances at winning, based on a lackluster performance of "My Prerogative" he put in during an early episode, but he may be able to dig deep and pull it off. He had a number of great songs in his career, and he was a member of New Addition, the best boy band ever to lace 'em up. That is a fact. I've seen them live, and the Backstreet Boys couldn't carry their jocks in a suitcase. By that I mean they're talented, not that they're well endowed. That I can't speak to. Let's just move onto the next contestant . . .

Diana DeGarmo: She's a 20-year old from American Idol. She could also be a favorite, since to compete on that show one has to be used to being put to the test over and over. She wasn't born when "We're Not Gonna' Take It," "Cool It Now," or "The Football to the Nose Episode" came out, but she still is in awe of her celebrity elders.

Look Out For...

1. Bobby Brown and Marsha Brady to sleep together? They seem to be bonding, mostly over cigarettes, since they're the only two smokers on board. What an unlikely pair! No less bizarre than Brigette Nielson and Flavor Flav, but somehow these two are cuter, smarter, and less scary.

2. Bobby to drink too much: He got blind drunk on wine, and as a result he slept through a shopping trip for a cooking contest the next day. However, he did, as Dee said, "apologize profusely," to everyone and was quick to help out when his housemates returned.

3. Dee to be super competitive: He is a strong willed guy, not easily deterred, and he lost his marbles, perhaps justifiably, when Bobby tried to steal his limelight during a performance.

4. Julio Jr. to be quirky: When they were shopping for cooking ingredients, he would only gather items that were yellow. WTF?

5. More of Marsha Brady being bat crap crazy

I know a leap into the world of CMT is not one to take blindly, and it wasn't easy for this Yankee to take the plunge. However, "Gone Country" has assembled an interesting mix of personalities who are sure to keep things fun, and believe it or not you may find yourself giving a hoot about how they interact with one another and who makes strides towards country stardom.

- Check out more 'Gone Country' pictures

Story by Matthew Swanson
Starpulse contributing writer


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