Rose Short has made Central Texas — and Harker Heights High School — proud.
Short, a 2002 HHHS graduate who now lives in Killeen, arrived at Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport late Wednesday after advancing to the finals of the NBC-TV singing competition, “The Voice.”
Though she finished fourth on the popular show, which aired its season finale Tuesday in Los Angeles,” Short said in a Facebook post before the show that her heart was full, no matter the show’s result.
Fans of the local singer far and wide are praising her on the impressive run, which began in September when Short was one of 44 contestants who earned spots on the show.
Short, who moved to Killeen in 1996, worked as a corrections officer before quitting her job to embark on her current adventure.
Longtime Killeen resident Tamara Allen joined dozens of others Tuesday night to watch the finale at Chief’s Sports Grill in south Killeen, where Short regularly performs.
It was an emotional night, Allen said.
“We may not agree with the final decision,” Allen said. However, the exposure Short gained on the national show was a blessing from God.
“Hey, the door has been opened, and we are just waiting for the next chapter,” said Allen, who has been listening to Short sing for years.
Allen said Short’s live performances on the show Monday and Tuesday brought tears to people’s eyes who were watching at Chief’s.
Allen said Short was already a star for many Killeen-area residents, but with her phenomenal run on the show, “God just opened the door,” paving the way for worldwide stardom.
Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra was unable to watch the finale but had seen a few performances.
“She represented the city of Killeen very well,” he said Wednesday. “We look forward to her return and recognizing her for what she did.”
About 60 people made their way to the Chief’s Sports Grill on Monday, where many say they had heard the singer perform live on several occasions.
Among those in the audience was Nolanville Mayor Andy Williams, who said he is a longtime friend of Short.
Stacy Walker, Chief’s bar manager, said she, along with owners Tiara and Thomas Campbell, organized the watch party each week.
“This is her home bar; she’s performed here for almost a year,” Walker said. “We’ve been supportive of her since she started singing.”
Country singer Jake Hoot, the show’s winner and top vote-getter, will receive the grand prize of $100,000 plus a recording contract.