America’s Most Musical Family is the latest music competition series to hit the television airwaves. But what makes this one special is that, as the name implies, it focuses on uber-talented musical families. Thirty families will compete, with five performing each week for the first six weeks and two out of those five advancing to the next round. The family who wins the ultimate prize will take $250,000 and a recording contract.
To help weed out the performers from the pretenders, Nickelodeon has tapped three judges who are quite talented in their own rights. The panel consists of musicians Ciara, David Dobrik and Debbie Gibson, plus Nick Lachey has been tapped as host. The show premieres Friday (Nov. 1) and runs for 12 episodes. As you get ready to decide who should take the title of America’s Most Musical Family, here’s what you need to know about the judges and host.
1. Ciara is kind of a big deal
Ciara (full name Ciara Princess Harris) is arguably the biggest name attached to the show. Her debut studio album titled “Goodies” went triple platinum and earned four Grammy nominations. Her follow-up album, “Ciara: The Evolution,” also went platinum in 2006.
That same year, Ciara started acting, which eventually led to a recurring role on The Game. She then became a Global Brand Ambassador for Revlon as her modeling career took off.
While all this was happening, Ciara caught the eye of Seattle Seahawks’ Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson. The two were married in 2016 and welcomed a daughter in 2017. The 34-year-old star also has a son from a previous relationship with rapper/producer Future.
2. David Dobrik is a social media BMOC
Dobrik is already a household name among YouTube fans. The 23-year-old got his start on now-defunct social video app Vine, then became popular on YouTube with his comedy vlogs. His video work, which consists of pranks, jokes, comedy bits, and cute animals, and his popular podcast have earned him several Shorty Awards, Streamy Awards and Kids’ Choice Awards.
In 2018, PAPER magazine named him one of “10 Social Media Personalities Making the Most Noise” and the next year, on the fourth anniversary of his YouTube channel, which boasts 14+ million subscribers, The Verge lauded his “short run times and fast cuts” that led to a wave of imitators and still “shape the site’s content today.”
3. Your mom probably loved Debbie Gibson
If you aren’t sure about the identity of the third America’s Most Musical Family judge, that’s OK — you could ask your mom. Or just keep reading.
Gibson was a huge hit in the late ’80s. Her debut album “Out of the Blue” went triple platinum and all of its tracks were written by Gibson herself. One of its singles, “Foolish Beat,” made Gibson the youngest female artist ever to write, produce and perform a song that topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Her follow-up album, “Electric Youth,” went double platinum and gave her another No. 1 hit with “Lost in Your Eyes,” both of which made her the first female artist to have an album and a single at No. 1 simultaneously.
She also gave ’80s kids some serious hat envy.
In addition to her pop hits, the 49-year-old singer has appeared in several Broadway and West End productions in London, including Eponine in Les Miserables, Sandy in Grease, Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, Belle in Beauty & the Beast and Sally Bowles in Cabaret.
4. Nick Lachey is boyband royalty
At the height of the late ’90s/early ’00s boyband craze, Nick Lachey was leading the group 98 Degrees alongside his brother Drew Lachey and fellow members Jeff Jeffre and Jeff Timmons. Their singles “Because of You” and “The Hardest Thing” were solid hits, plus the group was featured on the Mulan soundtrack.
Of course, TV fans might better remember Lachey for his marriage and subsequent reality show with Jessica Simpson. Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica ran for three years on MTV before the couple’s 2006 divorce. Lachey later married actress Vanessa Minnillo in 2011; they have three children together.
Finally, America’s Most Musical Family is hardly Lachey’s first hosting gig. From 2009 to 2014, he hosted NBC’s a capella singing competition The Sing-Off, and he has also hosted the last two Miss USA competitions. So this should be old hat for him.
5. The judges were blown away by the talent
In a recent Today interview, the judges and host tell Al Roker and his cohorts that they were absolutely floored by the level of talent the 30 families on the show brought to the stage. So with that in mind, they really had to look for something that made each family stand out.
“A star shines like a star. You just want to see someone that has that ‘it’ factor,” says Ciara, adding, “Someone that’s gonna own the stage and make it theirs, that’s what real stars do and that’s what we’re looking for.”
Gibson adds that growing up, she and her sisters sang together “for the joy of it” and “that’s what [she] was looking for.”
“[We want] families that love to just sit around their living room and sing for the fun of it.”