Shana Nelson, the daughter of Marlene and Howard Nelson and a Logan High School Junior, was named West Virginia’s Teen Idol Saturday, May 10 in Macy’s Court at the Charleston Town Center Mall.
There were five rounds of auditions that began in early April. Only 22 made it to the final round.
Each of the 20 semifinalists (two dropped out for personal reasons) performed two minute solos. For her performance, Nelson sang “Mercy” by Duffy.
Directly after, the judges narrowed the field to five finalists, who immediately performed again. For this round, Nelson performed “Someone Like You” by Adele.
“It’s my absolute favorite,” said Nelson. “I love Adele.”
Nelson was shocked when her name was called as the winner.
“It was really the best and worst situation I could have been in,” says Nelson. “I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I was standing there with one of my close friends, Seth Bunting [who was runner up and voted fan favorite], and we were holding hands. I just told him that I loved him. Next thing I know, they took him off the stage and it was only me standing there.”
Nelson will now have the “Ultimate Recording Experience” as an award for her success: a three-night trip for two to Nashville that includes 10 hours of studio time to record two songs with a professional backing band and a career consultation with a music producer. She also won $500 spending money for the trip, a $250 mall gift card for wardrobe needs, promotional headshots by Steve Payne Photography, a private vocal/performance workshop in preparation for the trip and a performance slot at FestivALL and Live on the Levee.
They will leave for Nashville in July.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic to go to Nashville,” says Nelson. “I’ve only been to Tn. one other time, and that was to Gatlinburg. I always thought Nashville was a cool place.”
Nelson said that, although the trip is all-expense paid for two people, she has a lot of family members who are paying their own way to go and support her, including her grandmother and her cousin.
Nelson has been active in theater in the county for several years. Last summer, she was seen as Dorothy in the Aracoma Story’s Wizard of Oz production. She also starred as Tracey Turnblad in the Logan High production of Hairspray.
But she says this experience was completely different.
“I’ve been in plays and performing since I was maybe 9 or 10 years old. But during these performances, I wasn’t performing as a character, I was singing as myself. I was singing as Shana.”
Being Shana is exactly how she plans on managing her musical career.
“You know these artists you see, like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, they’re one of a kind, but they still fit in that pop genre. That’s how I want to be. I would like to be in that country/pop genre, but I want to be unique,” says Nelson.
“I want my genre to be myself.”
You can watch Shana’s performance of “Someone Like You” at this link: youtube.com/watch?v=U0BfkM5Zv7c