Bell County native Jimmy Rose performed his signature song Coal Keeps the Lights On and Garth Brooks' The Dance during the finals of the America's Got Talent television show competition Tuesday night.
The winner of the $1 million prize, who will be chosen by votes from the public, will be announced during Wednesday night's show.
Rose, an Iraq veteran from Pineville who worked briefly as a miner, was the first of six finalists to perform.
He told host Nick Cannon that he is "afraid the town's just going to dwindle away" because of lost coal jobs.
"It's an honor to show the world some insight on what coal really means to us," he said.
The panel of judges responded favorably, praising Rose for the emotion evoked by the coal song.
"I love your voice, I loved that performance and I think America has to vote for you," former Spice Girl Mel B. told Rose.
Lexington-based Big Ass Fans provided four 8-foot fans that served as a backdrop during Rose's performance.
Big Ass Fans said on its website that the art department from America's Got Talent approached the company last week about using the product.
"Talk about a fan base," Howie Mandel quipped after Rose's performance.
Karla Ward: (859) 231-3314. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety