A term that’s come up often for the contestants on this years Nashville Star is “Damaged Goods”. It implies that with the talent level of this show, or the way the producers of the show handled the talent, there’s no way that the contestants are going to leave unscathed.
In some ways there is some truth to that. Universally panned as being sub-par, this year’s Nashville Star could be considered (correctly) a cluster. Every opportunity to showcase what some artist could do was all but sabotaged by the use of poor judgement by the producers – who chose the songs, the wardrobe, and most damaging, what America got to see. In many cases, it was less than favorable to the contestants. No more so than to two contestants in particular.
One thing that most of the general public doesn’t understand about television is the amount of footage it takes to get just 15 seconds of film. The camera people are filming you all the time – hours at a time, and what America sees is a minute at the most.
An artist hits a bad note during practice, once on camera – and yet nails the practice 100 times in a row – guess what’s shown? The busted note. But only if that’s how the producers want to portray the act. They could simply show the other 100 times the artist nailed it, but this being ‘reality’ – that’s what we (and again, the judges) see.
When the contestants were announced, we all got a one paragraph blurb about them. This little blurb didn’t really tell us anything about who they were as people, what their experience was in the industry, or why they were chosen over the 45,000 others that tried out. In fact, we don’t recall seeing a tryout – just 12 contestants standing on stage. There they were in all their glory – and who were these people? Who knows.
Take Laura Fedor as an example.
From the bio shipped out that everyone read, it seemed as if she’d only been singing since march, and her parents weren’t too happy about it either. Welcome to ‘reality’ TV.
As it turns out, Laura is a pretty accomplished solo artist. Before this show and the horrible treatment she received, her career was on the rise and interest was gaining. Laura has been performing for years. For large crowds at baseball games. Crowds at hockey games. Fairs and clubs and everything in between. America’s Got Talent, the only other highly popular talent show besides American Idol offered her a solo slot. But a choice had to be made, because as it turned out, she and Sophie were also offered Nashville Star. Nashville - country music, CMT !! - Star. Follow your heart to the place you belong and sing the music you love … Hindsight is 20/20.
Laura was part of the duo “Laura and Sophie”. It was evident from the beginning that there was a real bias from the producers when it came to these two girls. The clips shown to America were always the worst clips you could possibly imagine. A cracking voice. An outbreak. A fight. Mis-statements. Crying. Whatever could make them appear to be too young, too inexperienced, out of their league - America (and the judges) was going to see it.
In truth, their performances together didn’t help.
It also turned out that Laura wasn’t as young and immature as she was often portrayed. For instance, the PR blurb noted she went on Nashville Star despite her parents wishes. At 18, she was entitled as an adult to do that. The problem came when producers decided to use the ‘protectiveness’ of the parents (who in the real world supported her with all their might) to show just how young she was. Laura needed to fit into the demographic they were looking for but hadn’t yet found. And so they showed clips of her in a way that they believed the demographic actually is. That should insult everyone, not just those 18 and below.
By the last show, our enthusiasm for Laura had grown. Because while it seemed drama was all around her, if you watch her closely, she completely kept her composure, remained professional, and kept mostly silent.
As we watch the clips now, her expression tells the real story – ‘I shouldn’t be here… this is killing my career… I can’t believe I’m in this situation… this isn’t how it’s supposed to be… this is how I’m supposed to be remembered?”.
During she and Sophie’s last performance together on the show, singing Taylor Swift‘s “Picture to Burn“, Laura did something we thought was brilliant – while singing her verse she literally did the largest, most exagerated eye roll we’ve ever seen . Brilliant because it seemed to us she was trying to send a message to the judges, and America - “please understand, this is my career here and though I personally don’t approve of what happened or how it happened, it happened, it’s what teenagers sometimes do” – after all, though visibly taken aback by Jewel’s original comments the week before, she had even clapped along gracefully at what was said.
Sadly, her theatrics during “Picture To Burn” went completely unnoticed. After their performance came the infamous ‘eye roll’ confrontation where Jewel can clearly be heard to tell John Rich “you better rag on them!” to which JR replies, “ok“; before going on a completely unnecessary rant. Laura, the picture of composure, professionality, and maturity, can clearly be heard whispering to Sophie “apologize!“. Her career was on the line, and knowing that it wasn’t going to end with Nahville Star, she wanted to do the right thing.
America watched and commented as seemingly everyone threw her under the bus – not based on her talent, not based on her ability, often simply by association. Something so out of control, she could only stand there and let it happen. More 20/20.
Our enthusiam also grew for Laura because, despite what seemed to be the best efforts of the sound man to keep her voice burried, occasionally she would take a verse and you could actually hear her. She has a really good voice – and not the ‘I just started singing’ kind you’d expect from someone with only a few months experience - but the ‘I’ve been on stage for years and I know how to work my vocals and stay on pitch’. Had someone not really been paying attention, or simply heard the girls singing together, they would’ve never known this. Laura Fedor can sing – and she has a really good voice! Hard to believe given her portayal (or rather, betrayal, by the producers) and having to be part of a ‘duo’.
IF this seasons Nashville Star artist are “Damaged Goods” as some people say - Laura is a survivor. In our opinion, the damage to her career by her appearing on this show (and in particular as part of a ‘duo’) isn’t irreversable. Smart industry insiders know the process. And they also know a good voice when they hear one. Laura was thrown under the bus, but she still has a great solo career ahead of her. We don’t know that the Nashville Star experience won’t follow her all the days of her life – but NashvilleHype! is going to help her as much as we can to move beyond the show, and back to doing what she does. Though we’ve never met her or talked to her, we believe she has potential, a lot of potential. And we believe she can be a great success.
Thankfully NashvilleHype! isn’t alone. Some very smart and extremely successful people in Nashville have also recognized this about Laura. You would think after this show and the way she was depicted she wouldn’t have any interest here in town, you’d be surprized. Once this whole episode is completely behind her and all the contractual obligations to the show and NBC are fulfilled, expect to hear a lot more about Laura. A lot more positive things.
Being on this show wasn’t the end for Laura – it was only the beginning. Admittedly it was a rough start. But talent, despite the odds stacked against it, does rise to the top.
Laura Fedor, is once again on the rise.
Laura Fedor Showing What She Can Really Do.