Well, this week, we weren't able to occupy our usual spot at the judges table for last night's eighth and final week of the first round for the Shiner Rising Star contest.
This was an unfortunate absence, too, as this week's event took place at the Southern Junction in Rockwall, one of the venerable, old school honky-tonks in Texas, regardless of region.
The judges that were there instead of us? KHYI-95.3 FM The Range DJ Brett Dillon, Dallas country crooner Nate Kipp (a recent finalist for this very same prize) and the host of the weekly "Official Texas Country Countdown," Chuck Taylor.
After the votes were tallied, it was the Chris Miller Band that came out victorious and earned their spot in the semi-final round, which is now nigh upon us.
Beginning soon, the eight winning bands will begin to face each other and compete for a spot in the finals, where one of them will win a coveted recording contract with Shiner Bock Records.
For those who have been keeping track over the past few weeks, there have been several acts that have simply slayed. At this point, I'd say Shutdown Town, Rock Bottom Ramblers and the Will Callers are the acts to beat. Of course, those names could change at any point over the next few weeks, given the high quality of talent that will be showcased.
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As in years past, there will be a "wild-card round" next week. In that round, a select group of acts that have impressed, but barely missed winning their night, will be picked to compete again for a spot in the semi-finals. Those names haven't been decided at this point, but rest assured, you will know as soon as we do.
Whichever acts are picked for the wild-card round, they will be playing next Thursday night at the lovely Kessler Theater in Oak Cliff.
Below, a recap of the previous winners that will be moving onwards and upwards to the next round...
Week 1: Four Left Turns
Week 2: The Big Benders
Week 3: Shutdown Town
Week 4: The Slow Rollin' Lows
Week 5: Rock Bottom Ramblers
Week 6: Robert Donahue Band
Week 7: The Will Callers
Week 8: Chris Miller Band