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LeAnn Rimes returns to the Annual Country Showdown

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE (January 4, 2011) – For the fifth consecutive year,Grammy-winning recording artist LeAnn Rimes will host and at the 29th Annual Country Showdown National Final Television Special to be produced on January 13, 2011, at the historic Ryman Auditorium. America’s largest country music talent search will stage the five regional winners as they compete for $100,000 and the title “Best New Act in Country Music.” The one-hour special will be taped for television and air in the spring.

 Joining LeAnn and the Regional winners will be Charlie McCoy and the Showdown Band. McCoy, Country Music Hall of Fame inductee and one of America’s legendary harmonica players, has been the Showdown Musical Director for 29 years.

 Annually, more than 50,000 artists compete in the Showdown by entering competitions produced by over 450 radio stations throughout the country. Local winners then compete at 48 state competitions followed by five regional shows. More than $300,000 is awarded in cash prizes leading up to the National Final. The five regional winners compete for a grand prize of $100,000 on the television final.

 This year’s regional winners are: Carin Mari of Buena Vista, Colorado, a national yodeling champion and lover of Western music. She won the Southwest Regional held at Sky City Casino in Acoma, New Mexico, and represents radio station KBVC in Salida, Colorado. Greg Scudder of Cere, California, won the West Regional held at Mill Casino Hotel in Coos Bay, Oregon. He is a 26-year old carpenter by day, but his passion is singing and writing country music. He represents radio station KNTY in Sacramento, California. Kendall Phillips is an aspiring performer from Zionsville, Indiana. A 2006 participant in American Idol, Kendall won the Northeast Regional held at the Marietta Auditorium in Marietta, Ohio and represents radio station WFMS in Indianapolis, Indiana. Reggie Shaw spent ten years in Nashville as a singer/songwriter before recently returning to his hometown of Overton, Nebraska, to reconnect with his roots. He won the Midwest Regional held at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota, representing KRGI in Grand Island, Nebraska. The fifth Showdown finalist is Jaclyn North of Garland, Texas. The music she writes and loves to perform has been described as a smooth blend of southern rock and traditional country, with a sultry kiss of blues. She won the Southeast Regional in Rock Hill, South Carolina, while representing radio station KHOZ in Harrison, Arkansas.

 All contestants are uniformly judged on five categories: Marketability, Vocal Ability, Originality, Talent and Stage Presence. Bonus points are awarded for original music. The five country music experts who will serve as judges are: Brian Mansfield, music journalist for USA Today since 1997; BJ Hill, Senior Director of A&R for Warner/Chappell Music; Lisa Ramsey-Perkins, Senior Director of A&R for Sony Music Nashville; John Ozier, Director of A&R for Curb Records; and, Rod Essig, agent from Creative Artists Agency.

 The Showdown is a “who’s who” in the country music industry with past local, state andregional winners including: Brad Paisley, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Billy Ray Cyrus, Sara Evans and Miranda Lambert.

The public is invited to the show on January 13 at 7 p.m. Tickets are free and can be picked up at the Ryman Box Office or by calling 615-889-3060. For more information contact your local radio station or log onto www.countryshowdown.com.

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