“I watched four different contestants who didn’t know the words to ‘Sweet Home Alabama!’ Can you even imagine? Well, I couldn’t either. I sent an email to the show, and they called me two days later,” she said during a February interview.
The call led to an invitation by producers to audition in Nashville that she declined because, she told them, she had to work.
They let her audition via Skype. About 50 minutes and 40 songs later, she said, she had been stumped only three times. They told her to pack her bags.
The secrecy started when she got off the plane. Not only was she not allowed to take pictures, but she couldn’t even bring Bobby, her husband of 25 years, with her to the taping of the show.
She did not even know when her episode would air until a few days ago. She and her family have been meeting with friends to watch the Friday night shows — just in case each one might be her time in the spotlight.
A lifelong lover of music, Johnson said she was 3 years old the first time she sang in public.
“An older man at church, Highland Methodist, gave me a silver dollar to stand up in the front of the church and sing ‘I’ve Been Redeemed!’ I’ve been singing ever since.”
She also credits music with giving her the motivation to try harder when she was a below-average student because she had to have good grades if she wanted to perform in school plays.
It is this varied music catalogue — gospel, show tunes and “Sweet Home Alabama” — she took to California and “The Singing Bee.”
Family, friends and excited students will all know soon what she brought back.