Valley native advances in $1million competition

WHEELING – Bellaire native Katie Orlofske is one step closer to winning $1 million after appearing on a special preview of reality show “The Winner Is” on Monday.

The series officially premiers at 9 p.m. July 11 and will air on Thursdays.

Orlofske, 22, who started singing across the Ohio Valley when she was a teen, stuck to her country roots Monday. She won her initial round of competition against a Las Vegas showgirl with a rendition of “Independence Day.” Both Orlofske and her competitor passed on the opportunity to walk away with $10,000 following their performances, but Orlofske prevailed and advanced with a vote of 96-5 by a panel of 101 judges in the audience.

Orlofske then competed in a final round Monday, facing off against a duo known as the Kalama Brothers. Turning to country music once again, Orlofske sang “Breathe.” Once it was revealed that the judges preferred one act 91-10, the brothers decided to accept a $50,000 offer to leave the contest.

That was a good choice, as Orlofske again proved to be the judges’ choice.

Orlofske, who graduated with a nursing degree from Belmont College, moved to Los Angeles for a couple of years, then relocated to Nashville in February to continue pursuing her singing career. As a contestant on “The Winner Is,” she ultimately will have the chance to sing six songs for the chance to win $1 million.

Orlofske has performed at Jamboree in the Hills, River City Ale Works and other venues in the area. She recorded her first CD at the age of 12 and in 2007 was the West Virginia state winner of the Colgate Country Showdown.