Archives For Thomas Rhett

When I think back to the Miss America red carpet earlier this month at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, a number of moments and interactions immediately come to mind…

– This was my third consecutive year covering arrivals and the carpet was in a new location within the hall; a floor I didn’t even know existed let alone had visited!

– The obligatory red carpet photo.

– Chatting with Normani Kordei of Fifth Harmony, which was a complete surprise. She was the last person I spoke with there and was in attendance because she is good friends with Miss Texas, Margana Wood. Kordei was once a Miss Teen Texas in the Miss America Organization.

– Sage Steele, one of the co-hosts, was there on the first NFL Sunday of the season. The next morning she was scheduled to co-host SportsCenter AM. Seemed like quite the feat.

– Her co-host for the program was the venerable Chris Harrison, who doesn’t seem to mind people bugging him about “Bachelor” drama and gossip.

– Sam Haskell is Chairman and CEO of the Miss America Organization. I remembered after Savvy Shields won last year; in the subsequent press conference he mentioned how happy MAO was with the pick. This year, I was sure to ask Haskell how exactly he is able to get to know every contestant ahead of time.

– Speaking of Savvy – what’s next for the outgoing Miss America?

– Country music superstar Thomas Rhett was one of the celebrity judges tasked with picking her replacement.

– And Miss North Dakota’s contingent erupted when Cara Mund was crowned Miss America 2018 inside Boardwalk Hall.

For my third consecutive year, before traveling to Atlantic City for the Miss America competition, I chatted with some of the contestants and celebrity judges. The participants from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island called in along with Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri and first-time judge/country music superstar Thomas Rhett.

Collaborations, cameos and covers are three ways in which Nelly has surprisingly yet seamlessly crossed genres from hip-hop to country. However his latest move, a cover of Thomas Rhett’s hit, “Die A Happy Man” may just be the biggest surprise to everyone, including Rhett, yet.

“It was crazy, man,” Rhett described of not just the new rendition, but of the whole experience with the single. “Just to have a song that was so personal to me and to my marriage, and to have it on the radio and be so successful, and then kind of organically cross over (to other radio formats) I think was the coolest way it could have ever happened.”

“Crazy” is one way to describe it but “unprecedented” might be a more accurate summation. “Die A Happy Man” spent an unheard-of six consecutive weeks atop the country radio airplay chart. The last track to accomplish that feat was Taylor Swift’s “Our Song,” which held the number one spot from December of 2007 through January of the following year.
A country male solo artist hadn’t spent five weeks on top of the airplay chart since Kenny Chesney in August of 2007. Not only did Rhett surpass that reign, but “Man” also ruled the airplay chart, Billboard’s Hot Country Songs and the Country Digital Songs tally simultaneously… for three straight weeks.

And then, Nelly decided to put his spin on it. I asked Rhett how the track clicked with the St. Louis emcee.

“I have no idea,” he replied. “We did talk on the phone the other day, and I’ve been a huge fan of Nelly for my entire life.

“He was just like, ‘Man, if you know me, you know that I love great songs and that I’m a songwriter and the first time I heard this song, I just felt your emotion and I wanted to put my voice on it and make a different track.’”

Rhett didn’t mention a possible remix but if the two artists do attempt to link up for a remix, it might have to be remotely. The Georgia-born singer just wrapped a country music festival in London with Miranda Lambert and following a few one-off dates in April will pick back up with Jason Aldean’s tour this May. The trek, which officially started in Illinois last January, wraps in Virginia on October 1.