News: Updated 1/9/06
Rene' Wins Colgate Country Showdown National Final
TN — Singer/songwriter Michelle
Rene' of Phoenix, Arizona was named the Best
New Act in Country Music at the 24th
Annual Colgate Country Showdown National Finals held Thursday
evening (January 26, 2006) at the Ryman
Auditorium in Nashville. For the first time in the
Country Showdown’s history, five females competed for the $100,000
grand prize before host Kassie Depaiva of ABC’s One
Life to Live and country duo Montgomery Gentry presented the
ecstatic Michelle Rene' with a trophy and check.
From the stage of the Ryman, the “Mother Church of Country
Music,” West Regional winner,
Michelle Rene' (KZUA Show Low, AZ); Northeast
Regional winner, Jessi (WBRT Bardstown, KY); Midwest
Regional winner Ashley Ford (KNDK Langdon, ND); Southwest
Regional winner Rebecca Frederick (KKNG Oklahoma City, OK)
and Southeast Regional winner
Catherine Ritter (WKBL Covington, TN) demonstrated their equally
extraordinary talents with verve to validate their competitive edge
before industry veterans Craig Campbell (Sony Records), Keith
Follese (Midas Records) Producer, Garth Fundis, Mike Martinovich
(The Consortium Group) and Tinti Moffat (William Morris Agency) who
were the decision makers.
The judging criterion was based on Marketability
in Country Music; Vocal/Instrumental Ability; Originality; Stage
Presence & Charisma; Overall Talent and
Original Music. To showcase her artistry, winner Michelle
Rene' performed two self-penned songs (the bluesy-feeling “Heart
of Love” and the upbeat “Cowgirl
Heart of Mine”) in front of a full house. Michele
introduced herself to the judges and the audience as the whole
package--with talent and a style she describes as “contemporary
country rock with a little bit of bluegrass.”
Michelle Rene'’s title comes after participating in the Colgate
Country Showdown, a nationwide talent search that begins at a local
level with more than 400 country radio stations participating.
Over 500 local talent competitions were held as part of the 24th
Annual Colgate Country Showdown with more than 10,000 acts
competing. Local winners moved on to compete at the State
level; 46 State competitions were held. The
winner from the State competition moved on to compete in one of the
five regional competitions to make it to the finals.
Eighteen-year-old Michelle Rene' began performing professionally
throughout Arizona four years ago at state and county fairs, music
festivals, professional sports arenas, talent shows and local TV
shows. She currently hosts her own live show, The Michelle
Rene’ Show, in North Phoenix every Saturday evening at the
District AMC Fountain Stage in Desert Ridge. She is a
singer/songwriter who identifies her musical influences as Martina
McBride (for her lifestyle, vocal performance and heartfelt lyrics)
and Shania Twain (for her stage performance and charisma). Mirroring
their style, Michelle Rene' hopes to become a mainstay country music
artist. “My original music has it’s own style,” says
don’t want to follow the fads or trends. I just want to stick with
what I feel and write, and perform songs that have a future. I
have a lot to say and this is just the beginning…of my future in
Michelle Rene' follows in the footsteps of some of the
notable country music artists such as Garth Brooks, Mark Chesnutt,
Billy Ray Cyrus, Sara Evans, Erika Jo, Toby Keith, Martina McBride,
and Neal McCoy who have competed in the Country Showdown.
just enter this competition to win. I entered this competition
to begin. To begin the business of making music and the first
thing I’m going to do is put the money into a business account and
then get into the studio,” adds Michelle.
Michelle is scheduled to record her first single to be released to
radio by late spring. She will begin her publicity campaign
and radio tour immediately.
Colgate-Palmolive is the national sponsor and leading global
consumer-products company tightly focused on Oral Care, Personal
Care, Household Surface Care, Fabric Care and Pet Nutrition. In the
U.S., Colgate sells its quality products under such nationally
recognized brand names as Colgate, Palmolive, Mennen, Ajax, Irish
Spring, Softsoap, Murphy Oil Soap, Ultra Brite and Fab.
The National Final will air nationwide in March and April over
syndicated television with a second airing to follow on Great
American Country and can be seen internationally on government
access channels in more than 175 countries. For more information how
to enter and to learn which television station is carrying the show
in your area, please visit the Colgate Country Showdown website at
West Regional Winner
Home Town: Phoenix, AZ
Michelle René, remembers the first time she sang a solo - as a cow
in a nativity scene. Moving on, musically, she began performing
throughout Arizona the past four years at state and county fairs,
music festivals, professional sports arenas, talent shows and local
TV shows. She also has her own show, The Michelle René Show,
at Desert Ridge in North Phoenix every Saturday at The District AMC
Fountain Stage. As a singer/songwriter, she has the opportunity to
record her own music for demos, play guitar and perform with her
band, The Michelle René Band. According to René, "I love
being able to express myself through my music and see who it touches
Michelle won her local show with KZUA in Show Low, AZ; the
Arizona State Final at the Yavapai County Fair in Prescott Valley,
AZ and the West Regional at the Stockman's Hotel & Casino in
Northeast Regional Winner
Home Town: Bardstown, KY
Jessi began performing in church, school plays, competitions and
recitals at a young age. Her original dream was to become a dancer,
even founding and opening her own studio, Dance Pros of Bardstown,
Inc. after graduating high school. She worked with her young singers
and dancers on stage presence and instilled the importance of
feeling the music. After three years in a successful business, Jessi
sold the studio and moved to Nashville, working at the Red Iguanas'
Wanna B's. Recently, she teamed up with a local band, As Is, from
her hometown and have opened for Hot Apple Pie and Blake Shelton.
She has also used her musical talents to entertain audiences at the
Nelson County Fair, the Bourbon Festival and the Lincoln Jamboree.
Jessi says she is "able to pull you into the songs she sings
whether it is a break your heart ballad or bring you to your feet
get down song."
Jessi won her local show with WBRT in Bardstown, KY; the Kentucky
State Final at the Executive Inn Rivermont in Owensboro, KY and the
Northeast Regional at the Capitol Music Hall in Wheeling, WV.
Southwest Regional Winner
Home Town: Ada, OK
Rebecca Frederick considers herself "blessed with a unique
background having been born in Argentina where my parents were
missionaries, and living there the first 12 years of my life."
While in Argentina, she began singing in church with her sisters
before branching out as a solo act. At age six, she played Cossette
in the musical Les Miserables. She has entertained audiences on the
Carnival Cruise Lines, 4th of July Special with Collin Raye, and the
Centennial Rodeo Opry at Magnificent Country in Branson, MO. She was
awarded the Top Ten Female Vocalist in Branson, the Aura and Tele
Awards at the Showcase Jubilee and the Female Vocalist of the Year
for the McSwain Musical Theatre. Rebecca's talent can be described
in one word: Diversity. From her voice to her songwriting, her music
could easily fit into several musical genres: country, blues, pop.
Rebecca won her local show with KKNG in Oklahoma, OK; the
Oklahoma State Final at the Tumbleweed Concert Arena in Stillwater,
OK and the Southwest Regional at the Sky City Casino in Acoma, NM.
Midwest Regional Winner
Home Town: Cavalier, ND
Ashley Ford began singing as a child in church, she has been playing
the piano for nine years and had private vocal training. The
University of North Dakota communication major has opened for
country sensation Rascal Flatts, Terri Clark, and Sawyer Brown, and
has performed at the North Dakota State. Ashley was crowned the 2005
Miss North Dakota, was a contestant at the Miss America 2005 pageant
and a performer at the Miss North Dakota 2006 pageant. She has sang
and spoke to over 20,000 students at 80 schools throughout the U.S.
Ashley says that "country music is my passion and my goal when
I'm performing is to entertain my audience so they feel connected
with my music."
Ashley won her local show with KNDK in Langdon, ND; the North
Dakota State Final at Kickin' Up Kountry in Lake Bronson, MN and the
Midwest Regional at the Royal River Casino in Flandreau, SD.
Southeast Regional Winner
Home Town: Linden, TN
Catherine Ritter is no stranger to musical competitions; she came in
2nd at the West Tennessee Idol competition, won the TSTV Talent
Search at Opry Mills, earned a 2nd place title for the Sonic Search
for a Star Competition and was a finalist in Nashville's famous
Wildhorse Saloon's Sing to Win contest.
She sings the National Anthem at sporting events, political rallies
and is actively involved in her church's youth praise team.
Currently, she performs at the Huntington Hayride, a live onstage
radio show, along with Dixie Carter, Car Mann, Kelly Cash and Linda
Davis. Catherine is currently the Miss Teen Tennessee 1st Runner-up.
She has performed with the band 6Stroke and opened for the Christian
duo Lost and Found.
Catherine won her local show with WKBL in Covington, TN; the
Tennessee State Final at the Tennessee Valley Fair in Knoxville, TN
and the Southeast Regional at The Ritz Theatre in Thomaston, GA.