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CMT’s ‘Singing Bee’ features local singer

Published 10:32am Thursday, January 21, 2010

By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star

A local man will see his national television debut this Friday as a contestant on the CMT game show “The Singing Bee.”

Paul Bennett, a lifelong resident of Buchanan, had become a fan of the show, which presents contestants with different challenges that require them to complete lyrics correctly.

“You’ve got to sing it word for word,” said Bennett, who has been singing for years.
Various challenges include a chorus showdown, one game that requires contestants to unscramble lyrics and a karaoke challenge with a twist as some of the words are missing.

“I’d seen it on TV,” Bennett said. He checked out more about the show online and found that open auditions for the second season of the show were to be held in Chicago.
Bennett and his daughter hit the road.

The next thing he knew, he said, he received a phone call informing him that CMT was looking forward to flying him out to Hollywood to be a contestant.

“I had a great time. It was fantastic. They were phenomenal,” Bennett said. “I’d love to do it again.”

Though he can’t say how far along he got in the competition, Bennett said that some challenges were tough and that the music ranged from country to rock and pop.

“It’s 60 percent country, 40 percent everything else,” Bennett said, naming bands like Three Doors Down, the Steve Miller Band and Kiss.

“You don’t have to sing it well,” he explained. “You just have to sing it right. They could give you the lyrics to any song – you’ll definitely see, if you watch the show you’ll definitely see how challenging it was.”

He also said he thinks the show, hosted by “Reba” star Melissa Peterman, is starting to grow in popularity.

Bennett’s episode is scheduled to appear Friday.

“The Singing Bee” normally airs on CMT at 9 p.m., but this week will air at 10 p.m. following a “Hope for Haiti” special presentation to air on several stations.

For his national television debut, Bennett said he planned to watch the episode at Memories Tavern in Buchanan with a few friends.

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