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Friday, September 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A&E >  TV

Seeing stars: Looking back at some of the Spokane area’s biggest TV contestants

Cami Bradley pauses a moment from her sound check, June 26, 2014, in Riverfront Park. She was the headline act for the free Hoopfest concert. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Cami Bradley pauses a moment from her sound check, June 26, 2014, in Riverfront Park. She was the headline act for the free Hoopfest concert. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Jacob Maxwell is not the first contestant on NBC’s “The Voice” to hail from the Spokane-Coeur d’Alene area – Breanna Yeager made it to the battle rounds in 2015. Here’s a look at 10 other local residents, past and present, who have shown off their talents in TV competition.

Cami Bradley, “America’s Got Talent”

The Spokane singer-songwriter made it all way to the finals – and the stage at Radio City Music Hall – in this ABC series back in 2013. She advanced to the finals on the strength of her cover of Cher’s “Believe,” and judge Howard Stern gushed, “She looks like a star, she dresses like a star, she carries herself like a star.” Bradley released two solo albums before she went on the show, “Anomalous” in 2009 and “Seas” mere months before “AGT.” Since placing sixth in “AGT,” she’s teamed up with singer-songwriter Whitney Dean to form the Sweeplings. They’ve released the album “Rise & Fall” and the EP “Sleepwalking.”

Read more here and here.

Ryan Benson, “The Biggest Loser”

Benson, who graduated from Mead High School, was living in Los Angeles when he signed on to the first season of NBC’s weight loss competition in 2004. He dropped 122 pounds during the season to claim the show’s first title and win the $250,000 prize. He participated in the web series “The Big Fat Truth” in 2017, which looked at the challenges faces by competitive weight loss. “It was real easy to slip back into old habits,” he told Business Insider in 2017. “The cameras aren’t on 24/7 so no one’s going to see you pick up four donuts on the way to work.” He still lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife and children and works in the entertainment industry.

Kelley Wentworth, “Survivor”

When it comes to “Survivor,” Wentworth is dialed in. The Seattle marketing executive grew up in Ephrata and is currently making her third attempt at the $1 million “Survivor” grand prize. She previously competed with her father, Dale Wentworth, in “Survivor: San Juan de Sur” in 2014. She was voted back on by fans for 2015’s “Survivor: Second Chance,” filmed in Cambodia. She finished fourth that season. Fans can follow her progress on the current season, “Survivor: Edge of Extinction” on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.

Read more here.

Taylor Lee Stocker, “Survivor”

Stocker, who grew up in Liberty Lake and graduated from Central Valley High School, competed in the 33rd season of “Survivor,” the edition dubbed “Millennials vs. Gen X” and filmed in the Mamanuca Islands of Fiji. He lasted nine episodes – 25 days – before being voted off the island. He has since gotten married and is raising his two kids in Post Falls.

Read more here.

Troy Robertson, “Survivor”

Stocker was the second CV grad to land on “Survivor.” The first was “Troyzan,” who graduated in 1979 and lasted 30 days in the 24th season of “Survivor.” “One World” filmed in Samoa in 2011 and aired in 2012; Robertson finished 7th. He returned to the “Survivor” fold for “Survivor: Game Changers,” which aired in 2017. He came closer to the big prize this time, finishing in third place.

Read more here.

Bridger Buckley, “The Titan Games”

Three local athletes made it to the first edition of NBC’s “The Titan Games,” a competition dreamed up by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson: Bridger Buckley, of Pullman, and Spokane’s Erin LaVoie and Julian Stewart. But only Buckely was standing at the end. The Washington State University student made it to the finals last week, but came just a hair short, losing out in a head-to-head matchup against eventual winner James Jean-Louis.

Read more here and here and here.

Sandy Zimmerman, “American Ninja Warrior”

Last summer, Spokane P.E. teacher Sandy Zimmerman competed on “American Ninja Warrior” on NBC. A few months later, her 10-year-old daughter Lindsey Zimmerman competed in the “American Ninja Warrior Jr” on Universal Kids.

Read more here.

Rickey Webster, “Christmas Cookie Challenge”

Not all reality shows are about physical exertion and singing talent. Some center around food. Just this past year, Spokane baker Webster claimed first prize in the Food Network’s holiday cookie competition. His winning recipes were for pecan roll outs and gingerbread, and earned him $10,000. He competed against another Spokane baker, too. Amber Stout made it to the final round with a Santa cookie sporting a piped plaid flannel shirt.

Read more here.

Aaron Crumbaugh, “Food Network Star”

The Spokane chef made his pitch be the next “Food Network Star” in 2016. This was after he’d competed twice on “Cutthroat Kitchen” and once on “The Amazing Race.” (He was teamed up with his girlfriend, Hayden Kristianson, for the sixth season of the long-running CBS series. They finished fourth, but came home engaged. Crumbaugh proposed during the season finale.) He didn’t have as much luck on Food Network, being eliminated in the second week.

Read more here and here.

Chad White, “Top Chef”

A Spokane Valley native, White was living in Southern California when he signed on to Bravo’s “Top Chef” for season 13 in 2016. He won a quickfire elimination challenge with his Grilled Thresher Shark Taco with Oyster & Sea Urchin Salsa and Sal de Gusano in week six, but was eliminated two episodes later. He’s since returned to Spokane and opened two restaurants, Zona Blanca, offering ceviche, and the brand-new High Tide Lobster Bar in the skywalk level of the Numerica building downtown.

Read more here and here and here.

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