Highland Park High School student Melanie Neilan is doing something a little out of the ordinary during her summer vacation. She was selected to participate in a star search competition in China called Xing Guang Dadao.
“It’s basically a combination of American Idol and America’s Got Talent,” Neilan
Neilan was originally encouraged to submit a tape for the competition by her Chinese teacher Weifang Wang after she received a gold medal in the Midwest Chinese Speech Contest. She sent a dancing, singing, acting and piano sample; some were in English, others were in Chinese. However, if selected, she would have to compete in Chinese.
“I hadn’t heard back from them for two weeks. I thought I probably didn’t get it,” she remembered. “I audition for things all the time,” and added that she’s used to rejection, which is why she was thrilled to find out she had been accepted.
“I think one of the reasons I was chosen is because I’m American and it’s rare to have a foreigner on their show,” Neilan said.
Neilan was already planning on spending a month in China this summer on a Highland Park High School trip. Now, she’ll extend her vacation to compete in July. Her plan is to pursue an acting career in film after high school and thinks that this is a great opportunity to get her foot in the door. She also can’t wait to perform in front of such a large audience.
“I really love being on stage and I don’t think I’ve ever been on the stage with that many people before,” Neilan said. “I think it will be exhilarating.”