Website buzzes over 15 rising stars from Minnesota


A select group young entertainers from Minnesota have attracted the attention of the popular website Buzzfeed.

The site has released a list of the "15 Stars From Minnesota You Should Know About."

"Minnesota isn't just a frosty winter wonderland. It also is a thriving and highly regarded arts and theater community," the site said.

The list, which doesn't rank the entertainers in any particular order, includes Holly Henry, a Minneapolis singer who wowed coaches this fall on NBC's "The Voice"; and Tim Olstad, a Winona native whose talents propelled him to the top 10 on the FOX singing competition "The X Factor."

Buzzfeed also called out Lenay Dunn, a University of Minnesota-Duluth graduate who hosts the MTV talk show "10 on Top"; and Analeigh Tipton, a Minneapolis-born actress who has had roles in such films as "Green Lantern," "Crazy, Stupid, Love" and "Warm Bodies."

Owatonna native Adam Young was also recognized by the site as the leader of the pop band Owl City, and late Lakeland teen Zach Sobiech was honored for the impact of his goodbye song "Clouds."

Also on the list were actors Kylie Bunbury ("Twisted"), Ryan McCartan ("Liv and Maddie") and Joey Pollari ("Skyrunners"); model Raina Hein ("America's Next Top Model"); YouTube sensations Dane Boedigheimer ("The Annoying Orange"), Connor Ranta (sketch group O2L) and Tay Zonday ("Chocolate Rain"); and director-producer Brandon Laatsch ("Video Game High School").

Perhaps the most unique Minnesota talent to make the Buzzfeed list was Nick Pitera, a Woodbury native who created a viral video where he sings the parts of Aladdin and Jasmine (in his own falsetto voice) in a cover of "A Whole New World" from Disney's "Aladdin."

Posted six years ago, Pitera's "A Whole New World" video has amassed more than 32 million views to date.

Currently, Pitera is an animator at Pixar Animation Studios, but is still producing Disney-themed videos.

Last month, E! Online declared Pitera's cover of "Kiss the Girl" from "The Little Mermaid" one of the "Coolest Disney-Inspired Viral Videos on the Internet."

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