East Texans Sing Their Hearts Out, Hoping To Make It Big

An East Texan is one step closer to becoming a country music star. Saturday, the Colgate Country Showdown Finals were held in Tyler. Just like American Idol, it features local singing sensations. KLTV 7's Courtney Lane shows us the talent we have right here in East Texas.

From picking and singing those twangy blues, to belting out a little Martina McBride.

"I started singing when I was about 4 years old so this is my life," said Cheyenne Smith of Ore City.

The Colgate Country Showdown, once again proves how much talent is in East Texas, with 20 local hopefuls singing their hearts out. It's all to move on to a state competition, then hopefully regional finals, where an East Texan could compete on national TV for $100,000.

"There's been some stars that have come out of East Texas so there's no reason that can't happen today too," said "The Ranch" DJ, Don Jones.

Some write their own songs.

"Sometimes I'll be standing in the shower and come up with a song idea and I can write it off the bat in a few minutes," said Jarrett McAlister of Lindale.

Others perform well-known hits in their own style.

"It really means a lot to me, the message of it, and it's probably the best song I sing," said Chelsea Ogden of Longview who sang I Know who Holds Tomorrow. "It shows my voice the most."

All with big hopes and dreams.

"I'm looking for a record deal more than anything," said McAlister.

"Hopefully, you know one day I'll get that big break," said Smith.  "I'm just praying to God and if it's meant to happen He's got me in his hands and He'll take care of it."

But there can only be one winner.

"This is always where I start to get jittery and get the butterflies," said McAlister awaiting the judges to announce a winner.

And sure enough 16-year old McAlister did win and his hometown of Lindale may have yet another country music star to brag about.

"I'm glad to get the studio time and I can probably get me an album out now," said McAlister. "I'm really happy and I'm very excited."

There were also two runner-ups who will receive free recording time. Former winners of this national competition include big names like Reba McEntire, Willy Nelson, and LeAnn Rimes.

Courtney Lane, Reporting  clane@kltv.com