July 21, 2008

Burris Puts Stanly Back on ‘Gimme The Mike!’ Stage

By Dexter Hinson, The Stanly News & Press, Albemarle, N.C.

Jul. 21--Another Stanly-bred singer has made her way to a popular talent competition.

Richfield native Shelly Burris is preparing to amaze the panel of judges and viewing audience alike as she appears on "Gimme The Mike! Charlotte."

Now in its fifth season, "Gimme The Mike!" has been seen every summer since 2004 on WSOC-TV Channel 9 and continues to be a hit with Charlotte area viewers.

For Burris, the journey began over a weekend in March after television ads for auditions caught the eyes of her mom, Reba. Though reluctant at first, encouragement to audition came from her family and a close friend, Maggie Sells, who went with her to the auditions held at Concord Mills Mall.

The video recorded auditions of more than 400 hopefuls were held on a stage equipped with a microphone. Each person sang 30 seconds of two songs, one fast and one slow. The bunch was narrowed down to 50 who were called back to WSOC-TV studios to be narrowed down again to 24 semifinalists.

The remaining 24 were split into six groups of four, resulting in one winner from each group. The remaining six, plus one "wild card" winner to be chosen by viewers online after Episode 3, will compete on the fourth and final episode, in which one will be chosen as the winner.

Since she was 2 years old, Burris has possessed musical giftings that could not be hidden, largely due to genetics.

"We've always sang," she says in reference to her family.

"Some are singers and some are (instrumental) musicians. My entire family is musical."

Church life is one of the primary things that keeps her grounded. Generally known for singing gospel, her family has toured the area for years, and her father, Bryan, currently pastors Freedom Holiness Church in Albemarle.

A spring 2008 graduate of UNC-Greensboro earning a degree in communication, the dean's list student often reflects on her musical experiences while at North Stanly High School.

While there, her favorite class was chorus, which she was enrolled in all six semesters under the direction of Aza Hudson. A 2004 graduate, Burris sang the National Anthem at graduation, followed sometime thereafter by a selection by classmate and Season 2 "Gimme The Mike!" finalist Kellie Pickler.

Pickler went on to become one of the most memorable contestants on FOX's "American Idol." When asked about Pickler, her former fellow Comet cheerleader and classmate responded by simply saying "Go girl!"

In addition to Pickler, Albemarle's Joy Almond was also a finalist on the third season of "Gimme The Mike!"

Seeing what Stanly natives have done in the past in this competition puts one on edge, as Burris' performance airs at 8 p.m. Tuesday on Channel 9.

Dexter Hinson can be contacted at [email protected]


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