Well, it’s happened. After Music Row hijacked the term “Outlaw” and ran it into the ground with uncool pop country douchewads to the point where the term is virtually unable to be rehabilitated, they’re now moving on to the term “real country.”
Announced on Monday (4-30), a new reality show is coming to the USA Network called, you guessed it, Real Country. Perhaps if the plan was to make it into a launching pad for some of the unheralded real country artists waiting tables and working construction jobs across Nashville because the business won’t give them a break, we’d have something to celebrate here. But when they announced the judges, that’s all we needed to know.
Judging who will be deemed “real country” for yet another reality TV singing competition will be the Queen of Pop/Country interpolation, the one and only leopard-printed Shania Twain. And joining her will be a man that despite some decent songs early in his career, has become the new King of Bad Talk-Singing and is currently making his way up the singles chart with a ripoff of an old John Cougar tune, Mr. Melanoma himself, Jake Owen.
Someone cue up Dale Watson’s “That’s Country My Ass.”
The two will attempt to prop up their lagging careers by cutting eight hour-long episodes to see who will be country music’s next “breakout artist.” And any remaining hope in what this show might turn out to be is squashed by the quotations from Sania Twain about it, who also is named as an executive producer.
“It’s beyond thrilling to be leading the charge with Real Country,” Shania says. “And I’m on a mission to find artists who will keep country music diverse and dynamic. The kind of diversity that inspired all of us.”
Yeah well if Shania’s version of “diversity” would be to ask real country artists such as Aaron Vance or Tony Jackson to participate, or maybe some women such as Mickey Guyton or Lindi Ortega, then I’d be fully on board. But here, Shania’s use of “diversity” is code for “not country” just like the artists who inspired her, and the artists she’s since inspired (see: Taylor Swift, Kelsea Ballerini, et al).
So yeah, this will probably suck. And maybe it won’t. But let’s be honest, we all have better shit to do than watch a 3rd rail cable station take yet another run at a reality TV competition.