Notes From America’s Most Musical Family

By Cathy Applefeld Olson

Nick Lachey, TV personality and founding member of boy band 98 Degrees,will host Nickelodeon’s upcoming music competition series America’s Most Musical Family, and Grammy winner Ciara, digital sensation David Dobrik and singer/songwriter/actor Debbie Gibson will serve as judges for the show.

The net announced the lineup July 25 for the show, which will see 30 families compete across genres including pop, a cappella, Latin and hip-hop for a recording contract with Republic Records and a $250,000 cash prize. Although the series isn’t slated to debut until the fall, Cynopsis got a sneak peek at the action from its talent squad.

Your first thought when you were offered the gig:

Nick Lachey: My initial thoughts were, How did no one ever come up with this concept before now? It’s such a great, no-brainer concept. I wish I had come up with it myself. These are two of the passions of my life at this point—my family and music—so what a great way to embrace both. I’m thrilled.

What’s the vibe of the show?

Debbie Gibson: It’s a very cool, professional, positive vibe. No one on the panel is going to be mean. For anyone showing an interest in music, they all need encouragement and they’re going to get it.

Nick Lachey: There’s a lot at stake here—a quarter million dollars is not chump change—and these groups are certainly feeling the pressure that comes along with being in a competition like this. But it also should be fun, so part of my role as host is to be a sounding board, a support system, and help them be their best when they’re on stage. Whatever I can do to help them prepare for their performance.

What’s something you bring to the show from your own experience?

Debbie Gibson: I was 7 years old and auditioning for Annie, and I got rejected from Star Search literally seven times singing my original songs. I feel like every experience I ever had, whether it was a nurturing one or one where I was simply rejected, has toughened me up. It’s heart-breaking when we have to send a family home but in a weird way, I think this is going to be amazing for them because they are going to have to dig deep and see if they want to do it and be in this business. Hopefully they’ll hear our words of encouragement and will keep working at it, and be inspired they had a moment to shine in front of TV audience.

Nick Lachey: I know how it is to work with a family member, so I can offer a unique perspective to what this show is all about. The experience being in 98 Degrees would’ve been fantastic no matter what but it’s even more special being able to go through it with a sibling who you’re very close to. And musically you also have a blend that naturally comes with being siblings. You see that a lot where when siblings sing together they naturally sound good together. That was true for Drew and I and will probably be true for a lot of the groups we have one the show.

What’s important for these families to know about engaging with the fans in the digital and social realm?

David Dobrik: I think the most important thing to note is that even if you don’t take off on the show, or the show doesn’t work out for you, know that that’s not the end. I think that social media is the best way to get anything you want out there, especially to showcase your talent. That is the newest, most popular and most efficient way to get your family’s names out there and share your talents with the world.

Biggest job perk?

Nick Lachey: When you have kids and take them to school and stuff, and their friends are like, Who’s your dad?… I was just thinking to myself that now, how many of [son] Camden’s friends are gonna say, Hey wow, your dad’s on Nickelodeon. It might be an interesting change from being the old boy band guy. That’s fun.

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