Local singer headed to Vegas

Published 8:03 am Friday, May 29, 2009

FRANKLIN—Aime Powell is hoping and praying that what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas this time.

The Franklin woman won a karaoke contest at Franklin Bowl on Sunday and is headed to Sin City to compete against 79 others from across America for $5,000 and time in a professional recording studio. She’s hoping to bring a big win home with her.

“It’s my ultimate dream, and I didn’t know it was going to happen for me right at home,” the excited mother of two said Thursday.

Powell said she saw an advertisement announcing the competition in The Tidewater News but was too nervous to perform in one of the Friday night rounds before the finals.

“I mostly sing in church,” she said. “I sing in Wal-Mart. I sing in elevators. I sing everywhere.”

Powell lifts her voice in prayer at her mother Pastor Joan Jordan’s church — Annointed Prayer Room in Franklin. Her father, William Rigsbee, is a professional gospel singer, and she credits God with giving her talent.

“All the honor goes to him,” she said. “I am highly blessed.”

The karaoke competition was held at Franklin Bowl every Friday night for 13 weeks and was co-sponsored by The Lighting Store, an Iowa-based company that sells professional lighting and sound systems to bowling centers.

“I kept riding by the bowling alley Friday nights,” Powell said with a laugh. “My daughter was in the back seat and said, ‘Mom, you need to enter this.’”

Powell, no stranger to performing in front of audiences, qualified by singing “I Believe in You and Me” by Whitney Houston.

She sang the song again for the Sunday night finals and was picked to be in the top 10.

Those 10 contestants then had to sing a second song and Powell picked Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.”

Kathleen Perry, the bowling center’s owner, was emcee on Sunday night and announced the top three. Six judges for the finals graded the contestants on a 1-10 scale in four categories: appearance, showmanship, song delivery and vocal ability.

“The top three in scores were so close it was amazing,” Perry said. “Aime was a great singer, and her presentation was great.”

Tiffany Jones Roman of Suffolk was first runner-up and Kristi M. Swain of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., was second runner up.

Perry and Powell said the bowling alley was filled with more than 150 spectators for the big event.

“Excitement could be felt all day,” Perry said. “(There was) clapping, cheers and a lot of applause. At times the audience was even dancing while the singing was going on. The whole day was very exciting.”

Powell won a trip to Las Vegas to compete in the 2009 Bowling Karaoke Superstar Contest at the Mandalay Bay Hotel.

The contest is held in conjunction with the Bowling Proprietors Association meeting.

The final winner receives $5,000, the chance to record a CD and will open for a major act in Las Vegas.

Though she loves gospel music and Yolanda Adams best, Powell said she is confident singing Houston’s ballads.

“I think I’m going to stick with Whitney,” she said. “She was my friend through this.”