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Exclusive: Gloria Estefan On Why 'The Next' Is The Only Singing Show You Need

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Aug 23, 2012 | 12:42pm EDT

Gloria Estefan The Next CWAmerican Idol, The X Factor, The Voice, and now The Next. That’s right, The CW is throwing its own singing reality show into the mix. Officially titled The Next: Fame Is At Your Doorstep, the show features the new craze of mentors rather than judges, who will help guide relative unknowns after surprising them at their front door.

One of the mentors, the lovely Gloria Estefan, made sure that The Next answered her list of questions in the affirmative before she agreed to jump on stage. “Is it going to be interesting? Am I going learn something new? Is it going to be fun? [The Next] met all of those qualifications,” Estefan gushes to Hollywood.com. "When I found out that I didn't have to judge — I just had to mentor and actually spend a lot of time with our contestant[s] — it really drew me to the whole idea."

In each episode, superstars Estefan, Joe Jonas, Nelly, and John Rich travel to one of six cities — Orlando, Baltimore, New York, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles — in hopes of finding the next big singing sensation. But here’s the kicker: the mentors surprise their contestants at their homes and spend the next 72 hours helping them prepare for a head-to-head music battle to represent their city in the semi finals.

The Glee mama revealed another twist to the show: contestants who did not win in their city can still make it into the semifinals through a wildcard spot. “It’s going to be really interesting to watch who gets that seventh spot because it’s in the hands of the viewers. They can go online and vote for their favorite contestant that didn’t make it to the semifinals,” she says.

Many mentoring shows in the past have been filled with snarky remarks, death glares and bruised egos between the show's professionals, but Estefan wants to assure fans that the mentors on The Next have nothing but respect for one another. The “Conga” singer stresses, “You either have chemistry with your other mentors or you don’t. Sometimes that can create an interesting show to watch when there are rubs but we don’t have any. We really do get along great and we’ve just gotten closer as the show has gone on and I think people can feel that.”

The show features local music heroes who need that extra little push to get them closer to the grand prize — a contract with Atlantic Records. Estefan is looking for some specific qualities in her fame-hopeful contestants. She explains, “Number one I think you have to have a unique voice because there are a lot of great singers out there… And second is someone that makes a connection. Someone that makes people feel something and keeps people engaged so that they want to hear more.”

The Grammy winner says that she and her contestants will continue to stay in touch well beyond the show’s end. “They have my cell phone, they tweet me, we talk back and forth so it’s really great. We’ve created relationships and I feel really good about it.”

You can check out The Next Thursdays at 9 PM on The CW.

Are you going to tune into The Next? Already have a favorite for the wildcard spot? Sing to us in the comments below!

Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera

[Photo Credit: The CW]

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