American Idol: Michael Lynche is Tampa Bay's hometown hero, but Aaron Kelly has local fans, too
All the attention in Tampa Bay during this American Idol season has been on Michael Lynche, a.k.a. Big Mike, a St. Petersburg native and Gibbs High graduate.
But he's not the only Idol finalist with local ties.
Contestant Aaron Kelly has strong ties to Florida. Though he now lives in Sonestown, Pa., Kelly was born in Sarasota and lived in Haines City before moving to Pennsylvania about five years ago.
And as the 17-year-old remains one of six finalists during the popular television show's ninth season, he has a dedicated local following.
Family and friends from Hernando and Pasco counties get together each Tuesday evening at B.B. MaGee's Bar & Grill, 12400 County Line Road in Hudson, to watch Kelly perform, cheer him on, and say they "knew him when."
"We're so proud of him; he's done good," said Charlie Burge of Spring Hill, Aaron's second cousin. Debbie Burge, Charlie's wife, is the driving force behind this fan club.
"He's following his dreams, and he's worked so hard," Debbie said, "and after he performs we vote, vote, vote!"
For more on Aaron Kelly's Tampa Bay fan base, click here to read Eve Hosley-Moore's story.