John Russell, Associated Press
Melissa Lawson, winner of this season's music competition, "Nashville Star," is shown in Nashville, Tenn.

When Melissa Lawson became the "Nashville Star" champion Monday, NBC had the reality-show ideal. This was a "Rocky"-style finish, a win for someone who had been considered an underdog.

She's a mom of five boys. She's 31 and once spent three years without singing. It's a business that seemed to expect its women — but not its men — to be slender. Lawson has lost 70 pounds, 45 of it since the "Star" competition began.

What emerges is a straightforward, mom-next-door persona. The difference is her powerhouse voice.

On Aug. 12, she'll sing on the "Today" show, from Beijing.