Star quality

Loveday and Bradley win Rising Star of Tennessee competition

Ask Christina Loveday what she was thinking when she first signed up for the Rising Star of Tennessee competition, and she laughs. It has more to do with what her husband Mike was thinking.

Mike Loveday heard the advertisement for the talent competition and fund-raiser for Patch Ministries on radio station Love 89. The only problem was he heard it on the next to last day entries were due from contestants.

“He stayed up all night and did the CD and rushed down and taped it to the door,” the 27-year-old Newport resident said. “My husband did it without me knowing what was going on. He was really excited.”

Christina Loveday said she has been signing up for competitions for the past few years in hopes of making a career with her voice. She hoped she was ready for the competition, and she worked long hours preparing before the semifinals and final competition.

“When I won, I was really excited. We worked really hard those two weeks preparing for finals,” she said.

Loveday said she hopes to use the studio hours she won to make a demo package so she can recruit a manager and help her career. While she has been singing since she was a youngster, her ambition has taken off in the last three years. She even tried out for American Idol at one point.

“This isn’t first time I’ve won. I try to enter as many as I can. I’m in one on Saturday in Sevier County,” she said. “I’m trying to further my dream.”

Loveday said the Rising Star competition had “awesome prizes,” and her prize package was valued at more than $4,000. Her prizes included:

n RiverSound Productions - full day in studio

n Blount Today - promotional package

n Hulse Mobile Dentistry - teeth whitening process

n Images Coterie - sitting fee and head shots

n Dollywood - 2 season passes

n Reflections & Images Photography - sitting fee and 11 x 14 portrait

n Grounded Coffee & More - appearance

n Fox’s Pizza Den - 1 large pizza a month for a year

n Rising Star Trophy

Alli Bradley, a 14-year-old William Blount High School freshmen, won the Youth division competition.

Alli said when she joined the competition, she was just looking to have fun and for a good experience. “I had a friend who did it last year, and she had a lot of fun doing it, so I thought I would try it and see how it went,” she said.

Alli said she was shocked when she won because 50 percent of the decision was by popular vote. “I didn’t know if people would like me. I knew the judges gave me the highest scores of the night, but I didn’t know if the audience would feel the same way. I didn’t know what to expect,” she said.

Alli thanked God, her family and everyone involved in the event. Her mom, Nancy Bradley. said she thought it would be a great experience when Alli signed up. “It was a unique opportunity. Not only did it give her a chance to sing but it also was such a great benefit for charity,” Bradley said. “They have a great ministry, so we were excited to be able to participate.”

Bradley said she was in awe of her daughter when she won. “She is something,” the proud mom said. “I’ve known that, but to see that appreciated by others is really kind of overwhelming.”

Bradley’s prize package was valued at more than $2,145. Her prizes included:

n RiverSound Productions - ½ day in studio

n Blount Today - promotional package

n LaNese Salon & Spa

n Hulse Mobile Dentistry - check-up & teeth cleaning

n Images Coterie - sitting fee & head shots

n Dollywood - 2 season passes

n Reflections & Images Photography - sitting fee and 11 x 14 portrait

n Kathy Huber - 4 voice lessons

n Grounded Coffee & More - appearance

n Fox’s Pizza Den - 1 large pizza a month for a year

n Rising Star Trophy

Jeff Hutchison, master of ceremonies for the competition and executive director of Patch Ministries, said the event raised a total of $6,500 for Patch.

This is the second year for the competition, and Hutchison said the biggest change was the two categories - the Youth division and the Adult division. “Having two divisions made it more fair for all contestants. Last year, adults had to compete with cute little kids but kids also had to compete with adults who knew what they were doing,” he said.

Another difference was that there were two prize packages. There was a total of $8,000 in prizes for the two winners, he said.

Another improvement was increased support from volunteers, said Hutchison. “A big help this year was we had three times the volunteers,” he said.

The event also went from First United Methodist Church of Maryville to Monte Vista Baptist Church. This meant they went from a 250-seat venue to a 650-seat venue. There were approximately 250 people at each show.

Hutchison said that there were four judges in the final show and each gave a score between five and 10. It was added up and became the final score but was only 50 percent of the final tally. The audience voted and their scores accounted for the remaining 50 percent.

“It was great having live judges. They gave a critique of each contestant’s song,” he said.

Hutchison said the group hopes for a bigger and better contest in 2009. “We’ll start planning right away. We’ll use more volunteers. Anyone who wants to volunteer, we’ll find them things to do.”

Hutchison praised Loveday’s ability and poise. “She’s great. She’s competed before, has great stage-presence and voice and has been doing it for a while,” he said.

Regarding Alli, Hutchison said Doug Hodges with RiverSound told him she sounded very much like Alisha Keyes. “He said, ‘If you close your eyes and listen, her voice is so well trained you wouldn’t know it was someone else,’” Hutchison said.

Hutchison thanked the staff at Monte Vista, especially minister of music Tim Purvis and the minister, Rev. Jerry Mantooth. “The church was so gracious. Whatever we needed, they supplied,” Hutchison said.

The competition benefits Patch Ministries, an organization Hutchison formed to help improve the quality of housing for the less fortunate in Blount County.

Hutchison said Patch still needs to raise $40,000 annually to cover expenses. “I can turn $6,500 into $20,000 in value but that doesn’t take into consideration office expenses,” he said. “We still need the community to step up and sponsor,” he said.

Sponsors for Rising Star of Tennessee included Blount Today, RiverSound Productions, Love 89 radio, HBnC Graphic Design, Image Communications, LaNese Salon & Spa, Hulse Mobile Dentistry, Images Coterie Photography, Dollywood, Reflections & Images, Kathy Huber, Wal-Mart-Hunter’s Crossing; Henrietta Foy, Frito Lay, CocaCola, Grounded Coffee Shop, Fox’s Pizza Den and Campbell Tent and & Party Rentals.

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