The taped premiere episode recaps the elimination process that pared 8000 entrants down to the 12 featured on the series. Nancy O'Dell hosts. Panelists include musician Charlie Robison, journalist Robert Oermann and music executive Tracy Gershon.
Included: contestants are profiled in individual segments. Performances: Miranda Lambert (“Honky Tonk Blues”); Brandi Gibson (“Walking After Midnight”); Brandon Silveria (“Act Naturally”); Anne Louise Blythe (“Poor, Poor Pitiful Me”); Travis Howard (“Blue Eyes Cryin' In the Rain”).
Wynonna appears. Included: Brandon Silveria performs Merle Haggard's “I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink”; Amy Chappell sings “Walk Softly on This Heart of Mine”; Tasha Valentine pays tribute to Elvis with “Little Sister”; Prentiss Varnon delivers “Milk Cow Blues”; Buddy Jewell rocks out on Lynyrd Skynyrd's “Gimme Three Steps.” Also: a contestant is voted off.
The contestants perform pop hits in a country idiom, following the example of the Dixie Chicks' cover of Stevie Nicks' “Landslide.” At the end, a fourth performer is dropped from the contest by the judges.