Author’s note: This is a guest post from Melissa Chase, one of the judges of The Hourly Gig. Melissa is a morning show radio host on "River Mornings with Melissa & Jack" & Program Director for 103.7 The River in Richmond, Virginia.
“American Idol”. “The Voice.” “X-Factor.” “Duets.” With all the success of reality competitions on TV to find the next radio superstar, it's no surprise that musicians everywhere realize a big break can come from anywhere. And hundreds of them realized that "anywhere" could be the Snagajob Hourly Gig contest, which offers the opportunity to open for country musician Brantley Gilbert at Innsbrook After Hours on Sept. 19.
About 600 videos were submitted to The Hourly Gig and, just like any great reality show, were narrowed down to five. As someone who's been in the radio industry for over a decade and received thousands of songs to listen to and judge, here's my take on the Final 5.
Pro: This Americana singer has gritty vocals that pour honest lyrics over down-home, country-blues notes, amid harmonica and finger-plucked guitar.
Cons: While the video for "Harvest Moon" was artsy, it was distracting toward the end with the layered video effects. I'm already A.D.D. enough and I want to listen to your music, not have to try to focus on three different scenes overlaid on top of each other.
Pro: His boyish charm and innocent-with-a-touch-of-trouble stage presence definitely make him a hit with the ladies (whom you can clearly hear singing all the words to his songs in his video for "Hold Onto Me").
Con: Poor thing is definitely going to get his heart broken – with lyrics like, "She's my drug, I get addicted to her love," he may be too nice. And you know what women say about guys that are "too nice."
Pro: The bands' solid harmonies feel easy and comfortable, like hangin' out with your friends and knocking back a few brews at your favorite dive bar. Hopefully if that's the case, these guys will be the house band.
Con: The issue isn't really with me, but with my iPhone. Apparently auto-correct doesn't like your band name. Do I mean "Everclear"? No. I do not.
Pro: Girl next door meets the big city of Nashville with a pretty smile, pleasant voice and great lyrics - how can that not be a recipe for success?
Con: Though her voice is sweet, it lacks some emotion. You're telling an ex that he has to "get through those cowboys first" to come back in your life? I know you've got some bitter woman who's finally single elation in there - let's hear it so we can all high-five you on your new-found freedom!
Pro: Like a male Colbie Caillat, his relaxed attitude had me feeling like I should change into cut-off jeans and kick off my shoes ... preferably on my way to chill someplace sunny and warm.
Con: Know how some artists make great music while in pain and horrible music when happy and fulfilled? This is the exact opposite. Jarsi, I hope you never have your heart broken, because we all need more infectious positivity in our lives.
Do you agree with Melissa’s thoughts? Leave your opinions below and vote for your favorite!