Julio Iglesias Jr. Wins Gone Country
In spite of tough competition from Brown, rocker Dee Snider and erstwhile Marcia Brady Maureen McCormick, the big winner was dark-horse candidate Julio Iglesias, Jr. Host John Rich (the "Rich" half of country superduo Big & Rich) gave props to all seven aspiring hillbillies, but Iglesias was deemed to be the candidate who truly proved his country cred.
During the grand finale, filmed at Nashville's Wildhorse Saloon, Iglesias made like a country crooner with a bilingual and hip-swaying performance of his self-penned song "The Way I Want You," which had all the ladies swooning. (See his semi-shirtless music video here.) His sex appeal -- which trumped his vocal chops -- was something Rich noted when he handed a custom-made diamond encrusted ring branded with the Gone Country logo to an emotional (and obviously shocked) Iglesias.
Carnie Wilson, not shy in expressing her opinion, observed, "No one expected Julio to win! Not even Julio!" Immediately after getting the promise ring from Rich, Julio threw his belongings into a van and presumably headed to Music Row to record the tune for country radio.--Kay WestOrlando Garcia/jpi