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After not making the cut for the TV show Nashville Star, Bob Villa wrote a song about it. Photo by Phil Houseal

Bob Villa will be back in Fredericksburg on July 18 at Silver Creek and Lincoln Street, and on July 19 at Woodrose Winery in Stonewall. Contact Villa at Mrs.Bob@DesertManMusic.com, (602) 705-2320.

Read an earlier column about Villa.

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Too good to be a star

by Phil Houseal
June 4, 2008


The music business can be a fickle temptress; she will flirt with your passion, flatter your talents, then leave you standing at the altar.

This happened to Bob Villa (the singer, not the home improvement guy). Not once, but three times. He didn't get mad; he wrote a song about it.

Villa was jilted by Nashville Star, a television show that has aired for five seasons on the USA Network. For those whose TVs do not go higher than Channel 12, Nashville Star is the American Idol of country music. Wannabe country singers compete for a recording contract. (This year the show moves to NBC, where it will air on Monday evenings, starting June 9).

Villa is a singer and songwriter based in Arizona, who performs regularly in the Fredericksburg area. His latest love song is called “Good Enough For Nashville Star." It would be fair to say it is not very flattering to his audition experience. Sample these lyrics:

I guess I ain’t young... thin... or cool enough
To make it on Nashville Star
They never really listened to my singin’
They wouldn’t even let me play my guitar

Oh, it gets better:

They picked five Barbie dolls... three Tim McGraws
And a musical family
If they’d take my advice... it’d be kinda nice
If most of them could actually sing*

Ouch! It's a good bet they won't be inviting Villa back for season seven.

Villa claims he wrote the song not to be spiteful, but to be funny. But his experience during the auditions was not very humorous.

The process was perfunctory at best, demeaning at worst. Villa and his wife, Penny, drove from Phoenix to Denver, where he waited in line in the snow with 600 other hopefuls. They were called in front of a panel in groups of eight, where one by one they had all of 30 seconds to sing with no instruments, no backing, and no microphone. Villa was called to a second 30-second audition in Burbank, California, and then asked back for a third opportunity where he could play his guitar and sing for 90 seconds.

All together, contestants' professional futures were determined in less time than it takes to pop popcorn.

Villa never heard again from anyone associated with the show. So, like all songwriters, he turned disappointment into a song.

Fresh out of the recording studio, Villa is sending his song to radio stations across the country. He is asking his fans and followers to call their local stations and request it during the first part of June, which happens to be when Nashville Star premiers (hmmm... what a coincidence).

In fairness, writing this song was less "sour grapes" than it was Villa's way of turning lemons into a margarita.

"The show's producers seemed to be interested in my Native American heritage," said Villa, who is Gila River Pima. "I wanted this opportunity so I could be a model for native youth. We decided that we could still use the Nashville Star phenomenon to our benefit. We hope we’ll see some success with this song."

And when Nashville Star premiers on TV this week, Villa hopes you will tune in... to your radio.

*Lyrics © Bob Villa, ® BMI.