WOODVILLE, TX (KTRE) - Woodville native and hometown star Kree Harrison has taken another step on her journey to become the next American Idol.
Last week, the mayor of Woodville presented her with a key to the city to show her how much the town is supporting her. He met with East Texas news to discuss his "American Idol" experience.
Woodville Mayor Ben Bythewood took a trip to Hollywood last week to visit with the producers of the show's 12th season and had the experience of a lifetime when he presented Harrison with a special surprise in front of millions of viewers. The key to the City of Woodville will be something that she'll be able to cherish for the rest of her life.
Bythewood was able to practice the presentation with the show's host, Ryan Seacrest, before the live performance last Thursday.
"She was absolutely wonderful, and as soon as she saw me, she was just extremely excited, and then when I gave her the key, she became very emotional," Bythewood said.
As the third-term Woodville mayor, he says recognizing someone for this kind of achievement from East Texas doesn't happen often.
"It's wonderful to let the world see from the outside just a glimpse of what Woodville is like and the type of people, and the spirit we have here," Bythewood.
The Woodville mayor added Harrison represents that spirit.
"We're very proud of her, and we want to foster the kind of spirit she has in the young people in Woodville, and I'm sure all around," Bythewood said.
With the young woman's major accomplishments, Woodville residents and their mayor felt like it was befitting to give their "hometown hero" the key to the city.
"Kree is someone who is so extremely talented, and despite some very strong adversities that she's had in her life, she's been able to maintain her focus on her goals," Bythewood said. "And she's worked hard and deserves every accolade she gets."
Tyler County residents meet each Wednesday night during "American Idol" to have watch parties to support Kree Harrison at the Tree Restaurant on South Magnolia in Woodville.