As covered by Framing Britney Spears, 10-year-old Britney was a contestant on two 1992 episodes of Star Search.
Just as LeAnn Rimes had done the prior season, Spears wowed host Ed McMahon with her first appearance, singing Eva Tanguay's "I Don't Care" and edging out the prior champion.
The next episode, filmed that same day, found Spears covering something more modern: The Judds' 1990 country hit "Love Can Build a Bridge." Not just any aspiring vocalist can hold their own while filling the shoes of Naomi and Wynonna Judd, but young Britney was up to the task.
Spears sang the song at least once more, per 1993 footage from an aunt's wedding.
Star Search introduced more future celebs to the masses than any competition show before or since. Over the years, the show spotlighted pre-fame Justin Timberlake (as Western wear-clad young 'un Justin Randall), Beyonce (as a member of Girls Tyme), Usher, Christina Aguilera, Aaliyah and Alanis Morissette, just to name six. Top that, The Voice and American Idol!
Of course, Spears and Timberlake would soon join Ryan Gosling, Keri Russell and *NSYNC's JC Chasez as members of Disney's The Mickey Mouse Club. A few years later, Spears' life changed forever with the release of debut album ...Baby One More Time.
A short clip from a VH1 program about Spears explains that folks back home were glued to the TV during her Star Search appearances. Friends and family (young Jamie Lynn Spears in particular) were disappointed when young Britney lost out to fellow child phenom and future Broadway actor Marty Thomas. The footage also teaches us that beyond a hometown cheering section, Spears had something else going for her: the maturity to handle a loss and stay focused on larger goals.