Share This Page

Findlay teen's version of 'The Cup Song' goes viral

| Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
Kiersten Kelly Credit: Sergei Latachev

Like most non-celebrities, Kiersten Kelly never expected her video to go viral.

By mid-week, at least 38,000 people had watched Kelly's version of “The Cup Song,” which she performed at her kitchen table, on Kelly's YouTube channel, and “likes” of it were propelling traffic on Facebook pages and other media sites. Kelly said her tracking of its hits and postings topped 380,000 as of yesterday afternoon, and her video has also appeared on TV and online media.

“I just put it on my YouTube (channel). I did not expect to get that big. It's really crazy,” said Kelly, 17, a junior at Lincoln Park School for the Performing Arts in Midland, Beaver County. She travels 90 minutes a day each way by bus to attend the school.

The song originally was performed by Anna Kendrick in “Pitch Perfect,” a 2012 film about an all-girl a capella singing group in a national competition. She sings while beating rhythm with her hands and banging a drinking cup on the table.

What puts a unique stamp on Kelly's performance — and likely attracted so many viewers — is that she's missing part of her right arm, from just below her elbow.

“I was born like that. I do everything everyone else does. I just do it differently,” Kelly said.

The aspiring singer, who plays the guitar, said she knows her shortened arm contributed to the video's popularity.

“A lot of people are saying it's because of my arm. That's obviously part of it. It surprises people that I can do it. But there are many people who say they did not notice the arm once I started singing,” she said.

Kelly lives with her mother, Myria Mehalich, and grandmother in Findlay. Her father, Adam Kelly, lives in Massachusetts.

Kelly began singing “ever since I could talk.” She has performed at the Lawrence County Fair and at Jergel's Rhythm Grille in Warrendale.

She participated in the Rocket to the Stars singing program in New Castle, the largest singing competition in Western Pennsylvania. That group sent her video to Ellen DeGeneres, whose television show often is a venue for unknown performers to gain notoriety.

“She is a very good vocalist. There are a lot of people who have their 15 minutes of fame on the Internet, and that's it. I'm hoping that is not the case here,” said Wade Sutton, news director of Froggy 95.1 in New Castle, a country music station, and the founder of Rocket to the Stars.

Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at rwills@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.