The hit country music talent competition Nashville Star -- now premiering on NBC this summer -- just wrapped up its regional search for new talent, crisscrossing the country in a multi-city casting tour, and now moves on to the final four national calls. Last week, multi-platinum country music singer songwriter and Hannah Montana star Billy Ray Cyrus announced that he will be the new host of the hit music-competition series.

Beginning March 8, singers and songwriters vying for their chance to win the title of Nashville Star and a major recording contract will have four more chances to sing their hearts out beginning in Los Angeles, followed by Washington D.C., Austin and of course Nashville.

The season premiere of Nashville Star, scheduled to debut on NBC this summer, will feature a behind-the-scenes look at the best and worst talent vying for their spot in this year's competition.

While the same heart that the show has shown for the last five seasons will be intact, faithful fans will see some differences. For the first time in series' history, the producers have expanded their search to include solo artists, duets and singing trios. Anyone over the age of 16 is encouraged to audition. Please visit NBC.com or NashvilleStarCasting.com for additional rules and information.

Specific information follows for the open auditions to be held in the following cities:

Los Angeles National Open Casting Call

Saturday, March 8

10 a.m - 6 p.m.

Marriott Hotel & Convention Center

2500 Hollywood Way

Burbank, California 91505

Washington, D.C. National Open Casting Call

Friday, March 14

10a.m - 6 p.m

The Westin Grand

2350 M Street N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20037

Austin, Texas National Open Casting Call

Tuesday, March 18

10a.m. - 6 p.m.

The Hyatt Regency

208 Barton Rd

Austin, Texas 78704

Nashville National Open Casting Call

Friday, March 21

10a.m - 6 p.m.

Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center

2800 Opryland Dr

Nashville, Tennessee 37214

How it works:

1. Those auditioning will perform a song off the approved song list.

2. A select few of the most talented will be asked to perform additional material for the producers. Applicants should be prepared to sing two cover songs from the approved song list or one song off the list and one original song.

As stated above, the auditions are open to men and women, solo artists, duets and singing trios, ages 16 and over (as of March 29, 2008), who think they have what it takes to become the next Nashville Star. Updated information on auditions including cities, locations and times, song lists, applications, as well as how to audition if applicants can't make it to an open call, can be found on NBC.com or NashvilleStarCasting.com.

Nashville Star is the original grassroots talent search to find America's next great country music star and the longest-running competition series on cable. The winner of this last installment received a major recording contract with Warner Bros. Nashville.

The first four seasons of the series have launched the careers of promising artists including Chris Young, Buddy Jewel, Miranda Lambert, Lance Miller and Angela and Zac Hacker -- the siblings who made it a family affair by coming in first and second, respectively, last season.

Billy Ray Cyrus, the multi-platinum singer songwriter, broke into the country music scene in 1992 with his debut album Some Gave All, which sold more than nine million copies. Since, Cyrus has released 10 albums and held multiple chart toppers, including Could've Been Me and Busy Man. Recently he earned a whole new fan base when he began starring with daughter Miley Cyrus on the popular series Hannah Montana. In October of 2007, Walt Disney Records released his latest album, Home At Last, which features the top 5 single -- a father-daughter duet -- "Ready, Set, Don't Go," that the two performed on last night's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Cyrus is currently writing material for his next studio album due out later this summer. The father daughter team were also tapped to host the 2008 CMT Awards on April 14.

Nashville Star is created by Reveille and produced by 495 Productions. Ben Silverman, Howard T. Owens (American Gladiators), Mark Koops (The Biggest Loser) and Sally Ann Salsano (HGTV Design Star, A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila) serve as executive producers.

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