The latest music-filled Disney Original Movie, Let It Shine — sort of a modern-day retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac with singing — premiered last Friday on the cable network to a very healthy 5.7 million viewers, and its soundtrack peaked at No. 1 on the iTunes soundtrack chart and No. 9 on the overall soundtrack chart. But a fact you may not realize about the movie is that its star, Coco Jones, was discovered via a talent competition — N.B.T. or Next Big Thing — that’s hosted by the cable channel’s sister music arm, Radio Disney, once each year. The fifth season of the competition is prepping to launch, and EW has an exclusive preview of the five acts that will be competing through this cycle.
Before we give you a little background on this season’s five competing musical acts — you can find a bit of info about them and a video performance from each below — let’s take a minute to learn a bit about the N.B.T. competition. Besides the aforementioned Jones, N.B.T. has launched the careers of recording artists Kicking Daisies, Shealeigh, and Allstar Weekend. It’s a multi-platform competition that puts the spotlight on aspiring young recording artists and showcases their music across national broadcast and online platforms. Over the course of 10 weeks, Radio Disney and Disney Channel audiences are invited to look, listen, and vote for their favorite artists.