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Knutson sings at Midwest Regional Finals

“It’s been a fun ride.” ... Kianna Knutson, shown far right among some other contestants, did not win the Midwest Regional Finals talent contest in Wisconsin. She did have a great time. “The audience really got a good taste of how a country showdown is supposed to be,” said Knutson.

After earning her way through local and district talent contests, Kianna Knutson, Philip, represented South and North Dakota when she competed in the Midwest Regional Finals at the Menominee Casino in Keshena, Wis., Saturday, November 5.

Knutson competed against seven other acts to determine who would proceed on to the national competition in Nashville. Each regional act had seven minutes on stage. Of the eight acts, two were duets, one duet being brothers, while the rest were individual performers. Three musicians were 17 years old. A house band was available as backup for all contenders, and strongly encouraged.

Knutson, though not the winner, had a wonderful time. She even played for awhile with the professional band Westside that was booked at the casino where the talent contest was being held.

"It couldn't have been a better show," said Knutson. "The audience really got a good taste of how a country showdown is supposed to be. It's been such a fun ride thanks to everyone who supported me. I really appreciate having such a great community. My next step will be to gain a little experience by playing with a band."

Kianna's mother, Edna, said, "There were eight acts, all fantastic. It was like tuning in to an episode of America's Got Talent, or American Idol - outstanding performances, and every one different and original. This has been such an incredible journey for Kianna, and she made some amazing friends and connections through the process. I was surprised to learn that most of these performers already play professionally in a band and/or have been song-writing/recording in Nashville. There wasn't a bad act in the bunch. It would have been tough to be one of the judges, but Kianna was definitely in the running!"

The announcer who introduced the regional acts was joined by Steven Edwards, Texaco Country Music Showdown representative. Knutson was the second artist introduced to perform.

Eagle Country KZZI 95.9, 96.3 out of Spearfish, was Knutson's original sponsoring radio station. The station held three live interviews and offered continuing support. One aired interview was after Knutson won the local competition in Belle Fourche. Another was a phone interview last week, just prior to leaving for Wisconsin. A follow-up telephone interview was held one morning after the regional contest. Knutson has a Kianna Knutson Fan Club page on Facebook, created by Knutson's first guitar student, Elise Wheeler.