Berlin Heights singer wins Country Showdown at Erie County Fair
Alaina West captured the K96 Colgate Country Showdown title Saturday.
West, of Berlin Heights, sang Martina McBride's "Anyway" and LeAnn Rimes' "Some People" at the Erie County Fair.
"I'm thrilled I get to move on to the next contest and see how far I can take it," West said. "I'm just glad for the opportunity. It was fun."
West was one of eight contestants, all vying for a chance to be selected for the state competition.
The talent at this year's competition was exceptional, said Mike Jeffries, master of ceremonies of the event and co-host of K96's morning show.
"Everyone sees an opportunity to become famous and they're going to give it a shot," Jeffries said. "With this competition, there's only a couple steps to become a national sensation. It's a more regionalized 'American Idol.'"
Even if the contestants do not win, the exposure and experience can open doors for many singers, Jeffries said. McBride and Brad Paisley are two country music stars who competed in the contest and won the national title.
"I like country music because it's something you can really sing with," said Laura Fedor, of Willoughby, who sang "Operator." "It's just awesome. I love it."
"Just entering the contest is a big deal because it gives them performance experience," K96 Promotions Director Kami Moon said. "It gives them a chance they might not have had otherwise."
Tommy Kearns, of Castalia, sang "Chiseled in stone." The Kentucky native got his start playing in Kentucky bands and is inspired by country music star George Strait.
"We've got some pretty good singers. All of them are good" Kearns said. "I've got an old country voice. That's all I've got."
West will compete for a $1,000 prize at the state competition and the opportunity to advance to one of five regional finals. The regional final is the last step before the televised national competition. The national winner receives a $100,000 prize.
"It's kind of nerve-wracking," West said. "It's going to be tough so I've got to start training now."