HunterGirl joins roster of Chattanooga-area singers in reality TV shows

“American Idol” runner-up HunterGirl, born in Grundy County and raised in Franklin County, Tennessee, will learn her fate Sunday night during the ABC reality show’s 20th season finale. She’s not the only Chattanooga-area contestant to have sought stardom in televised singing contests.

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Staff File Photo/Lauren Alaina performs on the Coca-Cola Stage on the final night of the Riverbend Festival in Chattanooga June 16, 2012. The Rossville native was a runner-up on the 10th season of ‘American Idol’ the last year.

—Lauren Alaina: The Rossville, Georgia native was a runner-up on the 10th season of “American Idol” on Fox in 2011, losing to fellow country artist Scotty McCreery. In addition to her musical endeavors, she’s written a book, starred in a few movies, appeared on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” and CBS’s “Beyond the Edge” reality shows, and fulfilled a lifelong dream. when she was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in February.

(READ MORE: With her new album, Lauren Alaina turns heartbreak into hits)


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File Photo/2015/Fox Broadcasting Co. / ‘American Idol’ contestant Clark Beckham, who grew up near Nashville and graduated from Lee University, was a finalist for the 14th season of ‘American Idol.’

-Clark Beckham: The Lee University alum, who grew up in White House, Tennessee, near Nashville, was a Nick Fradiani finalist on Fox’s “American Idol” Season 14 in 2015.

(READ MORE: Clark Beckham credits Lee Prep for his success)

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Contributing photo by Matthew Berinato / Kane Brown, country music superstar

— Kane Brown (Honourable Mention): The Chattanooga native dabbled in a few reality shows, but viewers never saw him on TV. He told TheBoot.com that he tried “American Idol” after seeing his friend and former classmate Lauren Alaina succeed, but was rejected, he said, because “they didn’t need another Scotty McCreery.” He was then cast on Fox’s “The X Factor,” but quit the show, he said, when they tried to put him in a boy band. “I went home and made my own ‘American Idol’ with covers online,” he told the country music news site. A video of him covering Lee Brice’s “I Don’t Dance” had “about 60,000 shares” the next day, he said.

(READ MORE: Country music superstar Kane Brown returns home to Chattanooga)

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Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / Dran Lewis, left, plays guitar as Amber Carrington performs during the 4 Bridges Arts Festival at the First Horizon Pavilion on April 9, 2022. Carrington moved to Chattanooga after her time at the fourth season of “American Idol,” when she finished fourth.

— Amber Carrington: The Texas native who now lives in Chattanooga finished fourth in the fourth season of NBC’s “The Voice” in 2013, with Adam Levine as coach.


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Staff File Photo / Chase Guyton, shown in a 2010 file photo, traveled to Hollywood tours during the seventh season of “American Idol” in 2008.

– Chase Guyton: The Lee University alum was a finalist in Hollywood on the seventh season of “American Idol” in 2008.

(READ MORE: Brothers in a hair salon)

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Staff File Photo/Ben Honeycutt visited Hollywood on the ninth season of “American Idol” in 2010.

—Ben Honeycutt: The Chattanooga native who attended elementary school in Trenton, Georgia, and graduated from Plainview High School in Rainsville, Alabama, qualified for the Top 96 on the ninth season of “American Idol” in 2010 before being eliminated in the group round. He and fellow singer Jermaine Purifory were chosen by USA Today as singers to watch during auditions.

(READ MORE: Two local singers rebounded from ‘American Idol’)


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Michael Becker/Fox/Paul McDonald performing “Rocket Man” on “American Idol” on March 30, 2011.

– Paul McDonald: Raised in Huntsville, Alabama, McDonald was based in Nashville when he appeared on the 10th season of “American Idol” (with Lauren Alaina), finishing eighth. His mother, Susan McDonald, is a teacher at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

(READ MORE: McDonald: ‘Idol’ was a search for credibility)

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Staff File Photo / Singer Jermaine Purifory performs with his band Twain D Productions at Miller Plaza during Live on the Big Nine: Music for the Soul on June 27, 2021 in Chattanooga.

— Jermaine Purifory: The Lee University alumnus from Cleveland, Tennessee, made it to the final Hollywood tour of Season 9 of “American Idol” on Fox in 2010. He then sang backup vocals on the TV show at Fox hit “Glee” and sang the lead with The Impressions on the band’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame farewell tour of the US and UK.

(READ MORE: Cleveland resident’s original song earns him a trip to the Grammys)


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Brooke Simpson, who placed third in season 13 of “The Voice” / Photo provided by NBC

– Brooke Simpson: The Lee University alum, from Hollister, North Carolina, finished third on season 13 of NBC’s “The Voice” in 2017, with Miley Cyrus as coach, and fourth on season 16 of ” America’s Got Talent” from NBC.

(READ MORE: Lee alum Brooke Simpson sings for ‘The Voice’)


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Staff File Photo / 2015 ‘The Voice’ winner Jordan Smith performs at the Conn Center during his return to Lee University on February 18, 2016 in Cleveland, Tennessee.

—Jordan Smith: The Harlan, Ky., native was a student at Lee University when he won Season 9 of NBC’s “The Voice” in 2015. Earlier this year, he represented Kentucky in the “American Song Contest.” from NBC, finishing third with the song “Sparrow”.

(READ MORE: Who’s Nervous? Not Lee University’s Jordan Smith on ‘The Voice’)

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Staff File Photo/Former “American Idol” finalist Phil Stacey visited Chattanooga in November 2018 to speak about his support for Lee University’s Volley for the Cure volleyball game, which was raising funds funds for the MaryEllen Locher Foundation.

—Phil Stacey: His first appearance on the sixth season of “American Idol” revealed the Lee University alum and U.S. Navy officer was missing the birth of his first and second daughter to audition for the show in Memphis. He finally finished sixth in that 2007 season.

(READ MORE: Phil Stacey refocuses his career on Christian music)


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KRT Photo by Nicolas Khayat/Abaca Press / ‘American Idol’ winner Ruben Studdard performs on NBC’s ‘Today’ show May 26, 2003 in New York City.

—Ruben Studdard: The season two winner, who lives in Birmingham, Alabama, recently joined the full-time faculty at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

(READ MORE: American Idol winner Ruben Studdard teaches UTC students lessons that can’t be found in a book)

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Voices of Lee director Danny Murray rehearses the singers ahead of their appearance on NBC’s “The Sing-Off” in 2009.

— Lee’s voice: The Lee University ensemble appeared in the first season of NBC’s a cappella competition “The Sing Off” in 2009, finishing third.

(READ MORE: A behind-the-scenes look at “The Sing Off”)

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Candace Whittington, third from right, with members of Delilah. The female octet is made up of female singers who performed in “The Sing-Off” Season 1 or 2. Photo: BNC

-Candice Whittington: The Mentone, Alabama native sang with Voices of Lee when the co-ed ensemble performed on season one of ‘The Sing Off’ and returned in season three with a group of eight women who had appeared in bands in previous seasons, singing under the name Delilah. They finished eighth in the competition.

(READ MORE: Former University singer Lee back on NBC’s ‘Sing-Off’

Contact Lisa Denton at [email protected] or 423-757-6281.

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