Send a musical icon to a budding young performer’s home for 72 hours to give them their undivided coaching and mentoring attention. That’s the idea behind the upcoming show The Next, debuting on The CW next month. Celebrity mentor Nelly found himself on his first assignment in Florida, working with a contestent for the show’s premiere episode so he stopped by 102 JAMZ/Orlando to talk about his experience.

“It’s a platform obviously for artists to really get a chance to show their true talents,” Nelly said. “But it’s not like we’re looking to build these artists. These are artists that may be local heroes. [They] may be artists that have gotten right there but maybe not to that next level yet because of one or two things. We come in as mentors and try to see what they’re lacking a little bit and give them that boost of confidence and hopefully they get a chance to cross that boundary.”

It’s the dedicated personal attention that will be given to the contestants directly on their own turf that aims to set the show apart from the likes of American Idol and The Voice.

“You go to their place of work, you move in to their place of living,” Nelly explained. “So, you know, I’ve been staying with this young lady for the past 72 hours…She’s got a nice little apartment. It’s a cool deal.”

Since the artists all come from a wide range of genres there’s always the possibility that there could be a musical odd couple pairing, but Nelly seemed pretty certain that the show would match the right mentor with the appropriate up and coming talent. “I don’t think they’re pretty much gonna put [country superstar] John Rich with a rapper,” Nelly offered. “I’m not saying that John couldn’t tell ’em a thing or two, because when you’re in this business and you have success, success is success. And John’s a great guy and he’s a smart guy. So I’m pretty sure he could definitely give ’em some guidance. But I think they limit it.”

While Nelly comes from the world of hip hop, the show is set to explore a variety of musical genres utilizing the talents of Gloria Estefan, Joe Jonas, and John Rich to round out the quartet of musical mentors. The Next premieres on The CW on Thursday, August 16th at 9/8c.

-Brad Haynes, 102 JAMZ/Orlando


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