Big Kenny (part of Big & Rich as well as a talented singer/songwriter in his own right) is also a panelist. On his CMT blog, he talks about how it came to be and that he actually turned down the offer three times. Here’s his reasoning: “So if I was going to be a part of something, it had to be completely truthful and of the highest caliber that we could make it. And I have to make sure that I can have an honest conversation with people.” Now that he’s on the show, he says, “I’m humbled by that process that I could be a part of something that is turning out like this. Because that’s what my heart wanted, was to be part of something.” Watching him on tonight’s premiere has me thinking he’s definitely made the right decision. What I saw was that he is being real and true while still having a blast. Can’t wait to see what else he’ll bring to the table.
Judge number three, and certainly not last by way of placement on my list, is Ms. Naomi Judd, returning from her stint last season. An accomplished singer/songwriter and author, Ms. Naomi also knows a thing or two about being part of a duo as she first reached acclaim singing with her daughter Wynonna as The Judds. She too felt similar to her fellow panelists when first asked to be on the show. She talks about that on the blog on CMT. “At first when they asked me to do this show last year, I said 'No way, Jose! My name is Judd, not Judge!’ And then I thought about it, and A) I like to believe I’ve got some experience and credibility, and B) I feel so strongly about the truth. I obviously love country music, and I’m concerned about the way country music’s going. I call it a pale counterfeit.” As for returning again? “I feel like this year is bigger, better, more!” I loved her last season because she was, in turn, kind and warm yet brutally honest when it was called for. I have no doubt that she will do the same this time around.