Tomorrow night at 9PM (ET), The CW is premiering The Next: Fame Is At Your Doorstep. Yes, it's yet another reality show where singing and a talent deal are involved... but here, things are a little different in that the celebrity "mentors" aren't in any way judging. That's up to the live audience.
The method of choosing candidates is also a bit different -- the contestants are often chosen from already being known in their respective cities, and then the four "mentors" go and work with them for 72 hours to lead into their stage performance. Since these 72 hours are a bit of a surprise, this means the mentors end up going to workplaces and living the every day lives of the folks they are trying to help.
This morning, KSiteTV was one of the outlets invited to talk with the show's four mentors -- a list that includes Gloria Estefan, Nelly, half of a country duo, and a Jonas brother. The Jonas brother in question is Joe Jonas, who, as the youngest celebrity of the four, was happy to explain how he got involved, doing all of this press on a day that happened to be his 23rd birthday.
"It was funny, actually," Joe says about the genesis of his involvement with the show. "I was a little bit on the edge of saying no, just because of my scheduling and everything that was going on," he says, before relating how the producers were really persistent in wanting to meet with him. "They gave me the spiel, and I was like 'wow. Yeah. I want to do some of that.' The fact that I can work with new artists who haven't had the chance they deserve, that deserve a shot and they didn't get it... and it's fun. We don't take ourselves too seriously on this show. There are so many shows out there that are like The Greatest Competition Ever, or The Last Competition You'll Ever See. It's like, how many artists are you going to find that are sweeping floors that you've never heard about? We work with artists that deserve a chance," Joe explains.
In the first episode, which airs on Thursday night, Joe is teamed up with Tayler, a young lady who, in that 72 hour period, also had committed to a huge babysitting job. "There were like 15 kids, and they're actually crazy," he laughs. "They destroyed this house. It was a beautiful home. I walked in like 'wow,' and when we left, it was like 'we've gotta get out of here.' But that's kind of the funny part of the show. It's the Simple Life meets American Idol - us thrown into these normal everyday situations... babysitting. Nelly selling sunglasses at the Sunglass Hut. Gloria's on the tractor. John Rich is bow fishing! You're like, 'this is so bizarre,' but it makes for great television," he says.
These bizarre situations lead to some fun banter between the show's four mentors. "It's like a locker room situation," he says. "We obviously support each other, but at the same time, we're cracking jokes, we're making fun of each other. They, of course, are making fun of me because I'm younger than them. All of the typical funny stuff that you assume is going on... we are all good friends now. We gel really well together."
Joe mentions his father as being a huge mentor figure for himself personally, and credits his dad's ability to separate work, being a father, and being a musician perfectly. This is something that Jonas is quite thankful for. "Now that I'm older, I look back and I go, 'wow. I'm so lucky, becuase there's some crazy parents out there'," he says. As for a professional mentor, Joe mentions an opportunity to sit with Bono in Toronto, Canada as a "mindblowing" experience. "He talked for like two hours," Joe recalls. Bono gave the advice that honesty with lyrics is quite important, and there's a good chance we'll be seeing Joe Jonas giving similar advice on The Next. In fact, it turns out that the first artist he works with, Tayler, is a fan.
"My first artist, she broke down and told me that the reason she wanted to do music is because she saw a Jonas Brothers concert," Joe reveals. "So I'm like, 'okay, let's go win.' That drives me. That's exciting for me. That's why I do this - I can get on stage and encourage somebody to live out their dream. That's something that's exciting for me to hear. It's not always just 'you're hot, I love your music.' I do this because I also can't help it. It's exciting."
"The cool part about our show is we get to really spend time with each artist," Joe continues. "Other shows, I think you meet the artist when they walk up and say 'hi, my name's Mike, and I'm going to sing this song.' You do the song, [but] you don't know what inspires him. You don't know why he chose that song. You don't know what he does for an everyday job. We get to live with these people. Hang out with them. Get to know them. It's pretty intense, but it's really fun," he says. The four mentors on The Next do get to know about the people they will be working with in advance, and they only work with people they think they'd want to work with.
Beyond The Next, a new album is coming for Joe and his siblings in the Jonas Brothers. "Funny enough, we're in the studio again," he says. "After two and a half years, we're back together, and making music. We wanted to take time off. Maxwell said it best [at the Grammys]: 'thank you for letting me live my life so I can talk about it.' I feel like that speaks so many volumes for people. If you just work, work, work, what do you have to say? You can't sing songs about that. When you talk about your songs, and you're able to live your life, go have different experiences, travel the world... my brother got married. He's got a lot to deal with, a lot to talk about! It's all on TV, too," he laughs. "It's really funny. I'm excited for people to hear the music. I think it's the best Jonas Brothers music yet."
The Next premieres Thursday, August 16 at 9PM (ET) on The CW. Come back to KSiteTV soon for interviews with Gloria Estefan, Joe Rich, and Nelly!