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Braxtons Choose W&L's Michael McGuire

The morning after finishing his Winter Term finals and then driving from Lexington to his home in Easton, Md., Michael McGuire, a rising junior at Washington and Lee, got up bright and early to record a song that he hoped would earn him $2,500 and a chance to meet one of his favorite singers, Toni Braxton.

Turns out, it did.

Late last month, Michael was named the winner of We TV’s “Unbreak My Heart” Cover Contest, which is a feature of the reality TV show “Braxton Family Values.” One of the 100 videotaped entries submitted to the contest website, Michael’s version of “Unbreak My Heart” earned enough votes to get into the semifinals and, from there, into the final five finalists. Then it was up to the Braxtons to choose their favorite.

“Toni Braxton is one of my favorite singers,” says Michael, “and I was happy that she watched me.”

A journalism and Spanish double major, Michael is a member of Washington and Lee’s Chamber Singers. He also performs as a solo artist on campus. He has been playing piano and singing for private parties back in Easton since his sophomore year of high school. You can listen to him on his YouTube channel.

Getting to claim the non-cash part of the prize — the three-day, two-night trip to meet the Braxton sisters — is posing some logistical challenges. The contest stipulates that Michael will have a two-month notice about his trip. Trouble is, he is spending the Fall Term in Spain on a study abroad program, leaving on Sept. 1 and not returning until Dec. 1.

“We’re trying to work it out,” he says. “I can go at a moment’s notice.”

Click below to watch Michael’s winning video: