While Jake Owen would have been excited about the prospect of joining any televised singing competition that features a lineup of judges including Shania Twain and Travis Tritt, the country star says Real Country, the eight-episode TV series that will premiere in the fall of 2018, was a particularly compelling opportunity for him from the very beginning, due to its focus on exposure for young artists.

"I know when I started on a barstool somewhere, all I wanted was for someone to say, 'That guy's good,' and give me a chance," Owen explained to The Boot and other media outlets backstage at the 2018 CMA Music Festival. "I think that's what any of us have wanted since our earliest times making music, is that opportunity."

While many televised singing competitions include recording contracts or publishing deals as part of the prize for winning the show, Owen says the fact that Real Country will not feature contract packages will help the show focus on the music.

"When they came to me with this opportunity, they said, 'Hey, this isn't anything contractual,'" he goes on to say. "We're not signing any of these people ... We're just gonna put them on a pedestal and put them in the spotlight, so that they have the opportunity at some point for somebody to come forward and give them that chance."

Owen says each of the judges brings a unique and important knowledge of the country music genre to the table: "I think what [Tritt]'ll bring to the table is that classic country honesty that he's always had, and a little more grit," Owen explains. "I think there are those out there looking at Shania thinking she'll understand more of the pop side of it, even though I believe in my heart that Shania very much knows her country music history and is proud of it. I understand more of the world of modern country music, although I still very much have an appreciation for the classic side of country as well."

Between the three of them, Owen explains, he's excited to spotlight country newcomers and help them take their place in the genre. "The three of us trying to find the next people that we believe have the ability to shine a light and let the world hear them is what I'm excited about," he adds.

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