Kianna Knutson continues through talent competition

On to the region music contest ... Philip’s Kianna Knutson won the chance to compete in Beach, N.D. for a possible spot in the national competition.

Kianna Knutson had earned a shot at the regional competition of the Country Showdown talent contest, sponsored by Eagle Country 95.9/96.3 radio.

The preliminary round for Knutson was at Besler's Cadillac Ranch near Belle Fourche, Saturday, March 12. The top two of the 12 singers were chosen by judges to move up to the next competition.

Round two was held again at Belle Fourche, this time in Hermann Park, July 3. Along with Knutson, 11 other contestants had placed first or second at one of six separate preliminary rounds throughout the state. Only one would move up to the regional performance. That one top winner of the Dana Dental Arts Texaco Country Showdown was Knutson

Round three will be held August 5 at the Spirit Golden Valley Fairgrounds in Beach, N.D. The six contestants there will be on the main stage at 8:00 p.m. Their performances will be aired by the radio station.

Knutson, daughter of Barry and Edna Knutson, is a senior at Philip High School. Her singing and songwriting talents are backed up by her own guitar accompaniment. In round two, she warmed up the crowd with a conversational stage presence and a brief demonstration of various guitar genres. Knutson followed with three songs, "I Got it Bad (and That Ain't Good)" by Donald Byrd, "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash, and a self-composed song "Always Come Back to You."

According to its website, the 30th annual Country Showdown is designed to find the most promising country music talent in America and to give these performers a chance to launch their professional music careers. A uniform judging system is used at all levels of competition to help ensure fairness.

The showdown begins each spring with over 450 local talent contests sponsored by country music radio stations throughout the United States. Winners advance to their respective state competitions held at leading fairs and expositions. Acts then compete for the state title, a $1,000 prize and the opportunity to advance to one of five regional finals. The regional finals are the last step before the national final at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. Regional winners compete for the grand prize of $100,000 and the national title.