Matt Mason emerged as the winner of CMT's Next Superstar when the results of fan voting were announced at the end of the season finale airing Friday night (June 10) on CMT. The 25-year-old native of Fairland, Ind., prevailed over runner-up Steven Clawson, 29, a product of Thomasville, Ga.
They were among 10 finalists selected for the show's first season. The contestants were challenged to impress celebrity guests each week through a series of business-related challenges and performance rounds.
"It's all very surreal," Mason said after the results were announced. "I've wanted this for so long. I couldn't be more grateful for this opportunity and look forward to making the most of it. Huge thanks to everyone who voted for me."
CMT's Next Superstar host Thea Andrews revealed the winner at the end of an hour-long episode that featured a special performance by singer-actress Kristin Chenoweth (Glee, Good Christian Belles.)
Citing influences such as Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard, Mason brought a hard-edged sound to most of his performances. His song choices for the season included Jennings' "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way" and Willie Nelson's "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain." Two of Mason's performances from the series -- "Good Year for the Outlaw" and "After Midnight" -- are available for download at iTunes.
As the winner of CMT's Next Superstar, Mason will receive a deal with Warner Music Nashville's Elektra imprint.
"I am thrilled to have Matt join the Warner Music Nashville family," Warner Music Nashville president and CEO John Esposito said.
Mason will also be the opening act on this fall's CMT on Tour with headliner Luke Bryan and special guests Lee Brice and Josh Thompson. His performance during the finale will also run as a music video on CMT and CMT.com.
View photos from the finale.