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Country singer Michael Ray wins The Next

6/13/2014

Country singer Michael Ray has been crowned the inaugural winner of the CW Network's singing competition The Next during Thursday's (04Oct12) live season finale. Ray first auditioned in Orlando, Florida, where he was coached for 72 hours by country superstar John Rich. Ray easily won over the audience with Eric Church's hit Springsteen, earning him a spot in the semi-finals. The Florida native wowed the audience in Los Angeles once again during the second round, garnering him the first spot for Thursday's finals. Receiving the most fan votes, Ray was crowned the champion and earned a recording contract with Atlantic Records. Ray's coach, Rich, also felt like the first place finish was a win for him as well. Eager to show how proud he was of his contestant, he professed, "I'm glad that our three finalists were so good. I think this show is important. And Michael Ray what we've all been saying about you, this next year is gonna be a big deal and you deserve to be a big deal." Rounding out the top three were Gloria Estefan's hopeful Iliana, and Joe Jonas' team member Jordan Baird.

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