'Rockstar' contestant scorches in Ashland

The smallest woman in the room cast the largest presence Thursday night. The rail thin, rock hard rocker fresh off her reality show fame overpowered the audience at the Jefferson State Pub in Ashland on Thursday night.

As midnight approached Pike belted out her last soulful melody, painted as it were with just a touch of the blues, earning a standing ovation from the crowd.

Pike's song, "Beautiful Thing," highlighted the performance Thursday night. It also earned Pike acclaim during last year's hit show, Rockstar: Supernova. Pike was a finalist in the reality show competition to become the lead singer for an all-star band, Supernova, formed by Tommy Lee, Gilby Clarke, and Jason Newsted. Millions of viewers tuned into the show known for its highly talented performers and its hard-edged approach to entertainment.

"I thought it was cool that they were trying to do rock music and bring that sort of genre of music to mainstream television," Pike said.

Pike's powerful vocals impressed the likes of host Dave Navarro, who urged Pike to pursue a solo career.

The entire experience was a strange diversion away from a life of making mostly independent music and touring several months a year, the most recent bringing her through Ashland.

The chance to perform on prime time drew Pike to try out for the show. That experience, she said, didn't disappoint her. Living in one place for two months, in a house with people very different from her usual companions wasn't easy, Pike admitted.

"I was really alone out there in a pretty intense, spiritual and mental way. I was in a space with a lot of people that had a lot of different values, and that was a trip," she said.

The impact of the show, she said, isn't what you'd expect.

"I would say most people who watch a reality TV show aren't the people who come out to watch live music. I came off the show and I didn't watch it. I still haven't watched it. I've never seen a reality show."

Pike's appeal to audience and command on stage is nothing new to her hometown fans from Austin, Texas where she's been a fixture on the deep, diverse music scene. Her strong good looks are framed by an array of harsh looking tattoos, a striking mixture of both natural beauty and feminine strength.

In all the years of performing, Pike has never lost her way.

"I grew up with musician family members in the '70s. It's the roots that I come from. I've been doing it my whole adult life and not had any other job, because I made a commitment to that."

That commitment has put Pike on stage with a virtual Who's Who of musicians, ave Matthews, The Indigo Girls, Natalie Merchant and the Allman Brothers to name a few.

Pike's visit to Ashland is something she hopes to repeat many times in the years to come, she said. "We're coming back through in September," she yelled to the crowd. "so maybe we can do this again!"

After the show, Pike said her first experience in Ashland was everything she hoped it would be.

"It seems like such a great place," she said. She planned an early morning run, breakfast and then back in the motor home with fellow band members pointed north.

"I really get off on meeting people all around the world, who somehow, some way just get drawn in," she said. "It's cool to see how people get drawn into your space. You share that with them, then you go on to the next place. "

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