On Monday, Melissa Lawson, a 32-year-old mother of five from Arlington, Texas, triumphed over fellow Lone Star Stater Gabe Garcia to win NBC's country music talent competition Nashville Star.
Her first single, "What If It All Goes Right," is already at the top of the iTunes country chart; next, she'll record an album with judge John "Big &" Rich, head out on tour with her fellow Nashville Star finalists, and travel to Beijing, China, to sing at the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.
Melissa Lawson recently spoke to Entertainment Weekly about why she'll be the first Nashville Star to, like, succeed.
EW: Did you swallow enough confetti last night?
Melissa Lawson: [laughs] Yes, I did. I’ve had enough confetti for a lifetime.
EW: Let’s talk about the finale a little bit. Whose crazy idea was the “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” duet?
Melissa Lawson: [Laughs.] Well, the duet idea, I have to take credit for. I’d been asking the whole season if we could do a duet night, 'cause I think it would be really neat and kind of challenging. The actual song selection...the network was involved in that one.
EW: Ah, the network.
Melissa Lawson: Yeeees.
EW: Next burning question: Was the plan always to have those Jessica Simpson-lookin’ backup dancers out there for just Gabe’s part of “Achy Breaky Heart”—
Melissa Lawson: [starts giggling.]
EW: - or were you and Shawn like, "We are NOT singing with that going on behind us?"
Melissa Lawson: It’s kind of funny. Actually, the original version of the song that they arranged because of the time constraints of the show, we had the dancers out with just Billy [Ray Cyrus] alone. And then the dancers left, and it was Gabe singing, and then Shawn, and then me. But ultimately Billy said, "This is my song, this is the way I’ve been singing it for 15 years, and I feel like the fans will be confused if we change it up." So they rearranged it back to the way it should have been in the first place. Because of that change, the dancers had to come out at a different time. Gabe would say that he got to benefit from that. [Laughs.]
EW: What did we think of what [co-host] Katie Cook was wearing for the finale?
Melissa Lawson: I thought it was sassy, actually. We had a wardrobe conversation where I was like, do you ever get tired of the people poking and prodding at you and putting whatever the heck they want on you? And she’s like, "You know, at this point, I’m comfortable in whatever they give me."
EW: It was rather boobalicious.
Melissa Lawson: That it was.
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