Dalton Middle School Student Looks To Advance To Next Round Of 'America's Got Talent'

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - by Lindsey Derrick
Melysa Sparks
Melysa Sparks

In summer of 2014 you may just get to see 13-year-old Melysa Sparks make her singing debut on NBC’s "America’s Got Talent." 

The Dalton Middle School eighth-grader advanced to the second round of the competition and will hear in January if she has been selected to perform in front of the judges on the show.

Melysa, the daughter of Robert Sparks and Leticia Adame, said she has been singing for as long as she can remember. 

“It’s been a long, long time,” Melysa said. “I would hear a show’s theme song and mock it.”

Said Melysa, “Singing inspires me. The songs I sing have a lot to do with my life, and I can relate. I listen to a song, and I feel like I want to dance.”

Melysa has offered her talents to Dalton Middle for a while—she competes in  talent shows and even performs for her homeroom on Fridays—but she has had her eye on "America’s Got Talent" for a while.

“I watch the show, and I’ve wanted to do it for a while,” she said. “I made this image where I’m in it, and it made me feel so happy thinking of that.” 

To be considered for the show, Melysa first had to apply to come to the auditions. She had to answer questions like what are her goals and hobbies, and why she likes to sing.

In early October, Melysa got the news that she was moving on to the audition section. The message said where and when the audition was going to be held, and also had more paperwork to complete. 

Melysa then got right to work. She chose songs to practice, and had to get them down to the allotted 90 seconds for her audition. On Nov. 2, she traveled down to AmericasMart in Atlanta for her auditions—her dad, stepmom and sisters all made the trip with her.

Melysa said when they got to the location, there were cameras everywhere. (Behind-the-Scenes Note: When the show shot footage of the contestants “waiting in line outside,” they were all told to take off their jackets and winter gear since this show would air in the summer.)

“I saw lots of people with different talents, which was pretty cool,” said Melysa of the array of people at the auditions.

When it was her turn to enter the first round, Melysa went in a small room with three judges and sang “Oath” by Cher Lloyd. When she finished her song, they asked her to sing three more songs, and Melysa chose pieces by Macklemore, Adele, and Nicki Minaj.

Melysa then moved on to the second round where she performed in front of nine judges. She once again sang “Oath” and then when asked to sing more, Melysa chose to perform songs by Rihanna and Adele.

“One judge said to me, ‘No matter what happens, you’re a star. This child has talent!’” said Melysa. “It was really fun. I wish that day hadn’t ended.”

More auditions are taking place in other cities around the country, so Melysa won’t know if she has made it to the third round until January. The third round is when contestants appear on TV in front of the celebrity judges.

Melysa said she will be very nervous if she makes it to the third round since so many people would be watching. “It’s just not the judges; thousands of people will be watching you.”

In the meantime, Melysa will practice more songs to put in her repertoire and wait for the news of her fate on the show.

“I like to make people smile, and I love singing,” said . “I want to do this for the rest of my life.”


Lee Conducts Remote Piano Master Class With Juilliard Professor

As a part of Lee University’s 13th annual International Piano Festival, Dr. Michael Shinn of the Juilliard School in New York taught a live interactive master class for participating students.  Students performed for Dr. Shinn on a Yamaha DCFX Disklavier PRO concert grand piano on Lee’s campus while a similarly equipped high-tech “reproducing” instrument at Yamaha Artist ... (click for more)

Roger Shen Takes First Place In Lee’s Piano Competition

Roger Shen took first place in the 13th annual Lee University piano competition for the collegiate division. The award ceremony concluded the International Piano Festival and Competition held June 11-17 on Lee’s campus.  Third place was awarded to Chin-An Lin, with an honorable mention going to Tzu-Jung Peng. For the pre-collegiate division, rather than traditional first, ... (click for more)

Charles Arthur Kyle, 29, Shot Early Sunday Morning

Charles Arthur Kyle, 29, was shot early Sunday morning.   Chattanooga Police responded at 1:30 a.m. to a person who had been shot. The victim was transported to a local hospital via a personally-owned vehicle. He was suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot wound.   Kyle advised that he was in a physical altercation with another person when he was shot. ... (click for more)

Wilkins Found With 2 Stolen Vehicles After Homeowner Catches Him In Break-In

Authorities said Jesse Lee Wilkins was found with two stolen vehicles after a resident on Thursday caught him stealing items from his residence on Cave Lane. Wilkins, 29, of 2906 E. 43rd St., was charged with aggravated burglary and two counts of theft over $1,000. When deputies arrived on a burglary call, they found Wilkins and the resident standing in the driveway. He said ... (click for more)

Exempt Volunteer Fire Departments From Procurement Policies - And Response (2)

The Hamilton County Commission just grouped a bunch of departments together in an attempt to reign in the CVB. I haven't spoken to any commissioners, but I truly believe it was unknowingly. By mandating that all non profits that receive 25 percent of their revenue follow county procurement policies, they might as well have padlocked all local volunteer fire departments. We expect ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Deadly ‘Holy Trinity’

If you have grown tired and calloused to America’s horrifying opioid epidemic, please consider what the epidemic has become. A report last week found that, in the United States, emergency room cases including opioid abuse jumped a staggering 99 percent between 2009 and 2014. It is believed that last year over 60,000 Americans died from drug overdoses and – far worse – more than ... (click for more)