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American Idol Finalist to
perform at Moon Family Theatre

Janelle Arthur

From the Sept. 29, 2021 issue
of The Journal

By Richard Harris
   As a finalist on American Idol, Janelle Arthur has played in front of huge arena crowds across the nation. Now, the hot country star, who has a duet with the legendary Dolly Parton, is headed to Buena Vista for a show at the Moon Family Theatre next Saturday, October 9.
   Janelle grew up in the Tennessee town of Oliver Springs, which like Buena Vista has one "red light", so she has a special place in her heart for small towns. She also has a history with Moon Family Theatre founder Lynn Moon McAllister. Janelle was a performer at the Country Tonite theatre in Pigeon Forge at the same time Lynn's son, Skyler, was a youth performer.
   "I know the family from way back then," said Janelle. "They're such good people. I'm honored to be coming to perform in their theatre."
   The Country Tonite job helped her hone her talents and stage presence, as they performed around 370 shows over a 10-month period.
   "It gave me every bit of the experience that I needed to be on American Idol," she said. "It shaped me and molded me into the performer that I am today."
   Thinking back to her formative years gives her yet another reason to want to trade the big venues for a night at the intimate Moon Family Theatre. She's familiar with the local Performance Academy also operated in the same building.
   "A lot of kids don't have an opportunity

to get help and training like that, so they stop themselves from dreaming big," she said. "I think what Lynn is doing is great."
   Without her prior training and experience, she doubts she could have withstood the challenges presented by the American Idol program. She notes that it was "definitely the hardest, most challenging thing I've done." The combination of crazy schedule and the pressure of performing a song she'd just learned (not to mention the pressure of being judged in front of millions of people) made it quite an ordeal.
   Of course, she is very grateful to have had that opportunity, which opened up many doors for her professionally.
   The country crooner apparently has a knack for making a good impression. Prior to her American Idol days, she was hired to portray Dolly Parton in the Paradise Road show at Dollywood. Of course she got to meet Dolly and all these years later, that connection was rekindled and led to another milestone.
   After writing Hand Me Downs, she thought to herself that the lyrics illuminate things that really matter – family, inherited traits, heirlooms, and pride in heritage. She sent it to Dolly, figuring that she's so genuine that it was right up her alley. It proved to be a great decision, because the legend offered to sing it with her. So now, after having performed as one of the ladies who inspired her in her youth, she has recorded a song with her.
   She's also following in Dolly's footsteps in another way. In addition to her music, she has had success as an actress, including being the lead in the feature film Runnin' From My Roots, for which she was nominated as Best Lead Actress. The movie itself was nominated for Best Picture at the 2019 International Film & Christian Music Festival.
   Janelle Arthur has been described as "one of the most promising multi-dimensional entertainers since Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire with her inherent ability to connect with audiences through film, television, and live shows."
   As for her music, the entertainer says she's heavily influenced by a variety of genres and she appreciates many different artists, but she has always been drawn back to country, because "that's what resonates with how I was raised, how I talk, and everything about me."
   "I love to entertain," she said. "I love to give people an opportunity to escape life's troubles for a while and leave their worries at home. I want to ask people in Buena Vista to come out and have a good time. I'm sure you will recognize a lot of the songs that I do."
   For more information about the concert, including how to buy tickets, see the advertisement on page 2 of this week's newspaper.