Filling in the blanks

Ashley Marsh competes in CMT game show

Ashley Marsh was chosen to compete in Country Music Television’s “The Singing Bee.” The show will air on Saturday, Feb. 12.

Ashley Marsh was chosen to compete in Country Music Television’s “The Singing Bee.” The show will air on Saturday, Feb. 12.

Ashley Marsh of Maryville enjoys watching the television show “The Singing Bee” on Country Music Television. On Friday, Feb. 12, folks will be able to see her performing on the show.

“I’m not a singer, but the motto of the show is, ‘You don’t have to sing it well, just sing it right,’”said Marsh, 32. “There were several of us who are not singers and some who sang really well.”

The Singing Bee is a game show where contestants finish the lyrics to a song, Marsh said. Each show starts out with six contestants who have been preselected to come out of the crowd. They must compete to finish lyrics to a song, with the top four moving on to the next round. The second round is a karaoke challenge.

“There are 15 missing words,” said Marsh. “You sing along and fill in the blanks, getting two points for each one you get right. The next round is called ‘Singing with the Enemy,’ where they team you up. You go back and forth, and the contestants with the two highest scores go to final challenge,” she said.

Marsh said that to get to the Singing Bee final challenge, each contestant must sing entire choruses of songs.

“You can’t use any ‘ands’ or ‘buts.’ You have to get it correct. If nobody gets it right, they sing a tie breaker. You are playing for $10,000 at the end of the game show. If you’re the last one, you’re the Singing Bee champ,” she said.

Marsh said this is the second season the show has aired on CMT.

“I just love watching the show. I love country music, and it is one of my favorite shows,” she said.

Marsh said she was following updates on the show this past fall on social network Twitter and saw where she could audition for the show in Nashville.

Marsh, who owns Ashley’s Dance Academy in Seymour and teaches ballet, tap, jazz and clogging, had plans to be in the state capitol for a workshop at the same time the auditions were going to be held.

“I tried to get my sister and brother and whole family to audition. They said they would do it, but they all backed out. My mom made me go. She pushed me,” Marsh said. “I was really hesitant at first. I had never done anything like that before.”

Marsh said the auditions were held in the ballroom of a hotel in downtown Nashville.

“They would play radio clips of music and stop it, and we had to write the rest of the lyrics. We did 50 of those, and they chose some of us. There were four auditions in Nashville. I went on a Sunday morning, and there were 50 in the competition, and they chose 18 of us,” she said. “We then played the game, and they said, ‘If we want you, we will call you.’ It was two days later when I got the call, asking if I would be available.”

Marsh said she left for Los Angeles for the show taping on Nov. 13, filmed the next day and returned home on Nov. 15.

“When I auditioned, I thought the show would be taped in Nashville since the show was on CMT. I soon found out I was going to be flying to L.A.”

Marsh said she has never auditioned for anything like The Singing Bee.

“I was completely shocked I got to be on the show. They said, ‘Don’t be nervous. You are only one of 3 percent who actually auditioned. I was just surprised I was able to be a part of it,” she said.

Marsh said that after being one of the six contestants brought up from the audience, her goal was to make it past the first round and at least be one of the top four.

“I wanted to be in the top four. I thought that would be great. I was just excited to get there,” she said. “It was an awesome experience to say I’ve been a part of it. It’s an opportunity a lot of people don’t get to experience.

Marsh said the game is more challenging in person with an audience watching and a camera filming.

“It’s a lot harder when you’re on stage, and you know you’ve got 5 seconds,” she said.

Marsh said she couldn’t reveal how well she did in the show because of contractual obligations to the show.

“They made us sign a contract saying we could not tell details until it airs Feb 12 on CMT,” she said. “The funny thing is you could win $10,000, and if you give away details of the show, they could sue you for $100,000.”

When Marsh isn’t teaching at her dance studio or being a wife and mom to three daughters, she works part time at WIVK-radio. After she got back from her adventure, she bumped into one of her fellow contestants from the show performing at a club in Nashville.

Marsh is married to Micah Marsh, boys basketball coach at Alcoa High School. They have three daughters, 9-year-old Madison, 5-year-old Avery and 2-year-old Laney.

On the air: The Singing Bee

Airs on CMT (Country Music Television)

Fridays at 9 p.m.

Host: Melissa Peterman

The Singing Bee is a karaoke-style singing competition hosted by comedic actress Melissa Peterman.

Contestants are tested on their knowledge of lyrics to well-known songs. Those who fail to accurately sing the correct lyrics are eliminated from the competition.

The Singing Bee blends a mix of 60 percent country music with 40 percent popular favorites from other genres.

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