A Lindale graduate whose father lives in Palestine is one of the 10 performers that will get a chance to win a recording contract on the upcoming season of USA’s reality show “Nashville Star.”

A 2001 graduate of Lindale High School, Casey Rivers, 23, is the son of Roger Rivers of Palestine and Laneigh Childress of Lindale.

“We just found out that he was chosen as one of the finalists,” Roger said. “I really think he’s going to win it.”

More than 20,000 contestants from the United States and other countries auditioned at 18 cities all over the United States for the chance to be in the show. Casey auditioned at Toby Keith’s “I Love This Bar and Grill” venue on Oct. 29 in Oklahoma City, Okla. From there he was chosen for the regionals, where he performed Jan. 6 in Nashville. He performed “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and sang his original song “Good Things Gone Better.”

Casey will leave for Nashville on Feb. 20 where he will remain for three months to live with the other nine contestants. The shows will begin airing on March 14 on the USA network.

“Nashville Star” is a reality show in its fourth season that has the contestants live together while competing on stage in country music competitions. The winner of “Nashville Star” will receive a recording contract from the RCA label group.

The 10 contestants are made up of five female and five male contestants. Strangely enough, the only other contestant from Texas also is from East Texas, Shy Blakeman of Kilgore.

Casey has been singing since he was four years old and decided he wanted to become a musician or singer around the age of 16, his father said.

“He plays the saxophone and guitar and writes his own music — he even sleeps with his guitar,” Roger said.

Singing in oprys all over the northeast for the last few years, Casey has won Male Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year at the Grapevine Opry for the last three years.

He also has sang with country music artists Loretta Lynn, Neal McCoy and Miranda Lambert.

Lambert, who at one time dated Casey, also is from Lindale.

Among Casey’s favorite singers are Kenny Chesney, Elvis Presley and Brad Paisley.

“The boy moves like Elvis Presley and sings like Kenny Chesney,” his father said. “I think he has a good chance to win because he is versatile in his music. He likes gospel, country, and Elvis is a big inspiration,” Roger said. “Hands down, he is the best at stage presentation and entertaining on stage.”

When asked how he felt about getting the chance to be on “Nashville Star,” Casey said, “Maybe all the hard work over the years is fixin’ to pay off.”

Hosting this season’s “Nashville Star” will be Grammy Award-winning country singer Wynonna Judd and Cowboy Troy, as well as other special guests throughout the season.

“I’m proud of him — he’s gone real far for a hometown boy,” Roger said. “I encourage everyone to vote.”

Casey also will be featured in the March edition of the “Country Weekly” magazine.

For more information about Casey or “Nashville Star,” visit Casey’s Web site at www.caseyrivers.com or www.usanetwork.com and click on “Nashville Star Season 4” for weekly updates.

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