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Erika Jo wins Nashville Star
Apr 28, 2005 12:00 am
APRIL 27, 2005
Dubbed "the underdog" by judges and the USA Network alike, Wilson County native Erika Jo Heriges captured the Nashville Star title Tuesday night at the BellSouth Acuff Theater.
Heriges, 18, was crowned the winner of Nashville Star, beating out fellow Wilson Countian Jason Meadows and Arkansas native Jody Evans in the country singing competition called tighter than ever by the show's host, country music singer LeAnn Rimes. The Wilson Central High School senior's victory in the show's third season marked the first win for a female singer. The previous two Nashville Stars were Buddy Jewell and Brad Cotter.
"Can you believe that just last weekend I was at my prom?!" Nashville Star winner Erika Jo Heriges said after winning. "And now here I am with a record deal and an album to record in the next month. I'll barely be done in time for finals and graduation!"
As part of her 2005 Nashville Star title, Heriges earned a recording contract with Universal South Records as well as a 2005 Chevy Silverado SS truck and an appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.
Heriges has rocked the television airwaves over the past few months, beating stiff competition and emerging one of three finalists on the USA Network show. Evans, who works as a law enforcement officer in Arkansas, was the first of the top three finalists eliminated in Tuesday's finale show, leaving both Wilson County residents vying for the top spot. Ultimately, Rimes announced with more than 10 million votes tabulated, Americans chose Heriges as the 2005 Nashville Star.
Heriges, of Mt. Juliet, was the youngest contestant ever to compete in Nashville Star, although she has been singing professionally with her father's band since she was a young child. The first female and youngest winner of Nashville Star, Heriges won over the judges and viewing audience with her soaring vocals and charismatic stage presence during performances of such varied material as "Here For The Party," "Broken Wing," and "Black Velvet."
Heriges' debut single is "I Break Things," written specifically for her by Nashville hit tunesmiths Wade Kirby and Monty Criswell. The petite blonde performed the song during the finale Tuesday night in Nashville.
Heriges's debut album will be released June 14 on Universal South Records.