Oklahoma country crooner Kylie Morgan is relishing a rare opportunity not only to open for one of the biggest names in country music but also to appear in a reality TV show that's unlike the usual television contest.
The Newcastle teenager is one of the undiscovered hopefuls who will be featured on the new series “Opening Act,” premiering at 9 p.m. Monday on E!
“The awesome thing is I've never seen a show like this on TV before because there are no auditions, there's no judges, there's no, like, competitions or anything. I mean in a sense, we've already all won. You know, we've gotten the chance and the experience of a lifetime. That's what's awesome about this show, is it's not a competitive show,” Morgan said in a phone interview last week from Nashville, Tenn., where she was recording her new single “On the Radio” that will be released in conjunction with the series.
The latest show from “American Idol” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, “Opening Act” surprises up-and-coming performers with an opportunity to open a date on a major concert tour. Superstars Rod Stewart, Nicki Minaj, Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley, LMFAO, Jason Mraz and Gym Class Heroes provided the showcases for the aspiring entertainers, who were plucked from the vast YouTube and online ranks for the reality show.
“I know that the (big-name) artists feel like they were there at one point, and for them to give someone else a chance is really great,” said Morgan, who is prominently featured in the show's trailer receiving a surprise invitation from Aldean to warm the crowd for one of his shows.
Although she had previously opened for the likes of Steel Magnolia, the JaneDear Girls and Ty England, sharing the bill with Aldean, one of country music's hottest stars, brought her to a whole new level.
“It was definitely the biggest stage I've ever performed on,” she said. “I'm not used to the big lights and the big sound and all those people, of course. So it was an overwhelming experience, and it was something of course I'll never forget.”
Morgan, who turned 17 this week, has been releasing music videos and live performance clips on YouTube the past few years while working on her debut album for Oklahoma City-based indie label Land Run Records.
“When I was like, I don't know, I think 12 years old, my Papaw got me my very first little pink guitar. So that's when I started taking lessons and writing songs,” she said. “I grew up with music. My mom was a singer, so country music was in my blood. I absolutely just loved being on stage and loved ... being able to tell people how I feel through my music. I love when people tell me that they relate to it.”
To begin their journeys to becoming an “Opening Act,” Olivia Lee from “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” shocked Morgan and the other YouTube standouts with the news of their selection for the reality show.
“We had no idea what we were signing up for. ... All of the artists were completely surprised and had no idea what was going on,” Morgan said with a laugh.
Each up-and-comer was given just a few days to prepare for his or her big opening performance, with the show chronicling its artist development team, which includes Mary J. Blige and Rock Mafia's Antonio Armato, working intensely with the aspiring entertainers.
“We went through all this training ... so it was an amazing experience, 'cause they like completely just tear you apart with each critical thing. It was really fun, though,” Morgan said. “The artist development team definitely taught me so much that I had no idea was even out there to learn.”
The Oklahoma native believes the noncompetitive show will inspire viewers.
“I'm just really excited to be a part of a show like this because the audience gets to know not only our abilities but just who we are as well. They get to look inside our lives and our journey to the big stage,” Morgan said. “It was just an amazing experience to be able to be a part of show that's so different and a show that's not out there yet. I'm just really excited to just see what people think of it. And I really think they're gonna like it, 'cause I know I really do.”
“Opening Act” premieres at 9 p.m. Monday on E! The noncompetitive show surprises up-and-coming performers with an opportunity to open a date for one of eight touring superstars: Rod Stewart, Nicki Minaj, Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley, LMFAO, Jason Mraz and Gym Class Heroes. Newcastle teen Kylie Morgan will be featured, although the air date for her episode has not yet been announced.