Career of Ava Zinn
The overall career of Ava Zinn consists of her tenure as a broadcast journalist since 1989, principal webmaster from 1999 to 2020, film/television producer and director since 2000, animator since 2004, and muscian/singer since 2011.
After working at ATE Media for nine years, Zinn, tired of "the rages and the bullying and violence", decided that the way to further advance her career was to study webmastering. (While at ATE Media, she met Holly Everman, later her Vote for the Girls co-host and long-time closest friend from 1990 until Everman's death in May 2017.) From there, Zinn moved from ATE Media to NoSirGifts, which was founded by her mother in 1987, to work with Jackson Steele and Bob Imperial, both news anchormen. At one time, Ava Zinn states that Jackson Steele was her mentor. She continued her training at NoSirGifts for tweleve years, before giving in to the physical and mental stress of the television news industry and taking five years to work as a retail production associate.
- 1 Broadcast journalism (1989-present)
- 2 Principal webmaster (1999-2020)
- 3 Film/TV producer and director (2000-present)
- 3.1 Amanda & Elisa (2004-2009)
- 3.2 Queen of the Willis (2006-12 and 2019-26)
- 3.3 Hoosier Anchorwoman! (2009-2013)
- 3.4 Vote for the Girls (2010-21 and 2024-)
- 3.5 The Souzas (2020-24)
- 3.6 Caprice & Ella (2021-present)
- 4 Music career (2011-present)
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Broadcast journalism (1989-present)
Zinn first came to prominence in 1999 while serving as news director at WRDS-FLP (channel 47, now WXXC) in Fort Wayne, Indiana. WRDS station owner Rachel Dean, Sr. founded the station while at the same time Zinn launched INNewsCenter. Dean invested heavily in pouring most of the station's resources into its news department. With Dean's backing, Zinn adopted the "News Directors and Producers Have a Choice, Viewers Don't" format heavy on two-woman anchor teams. Zinn was often criticized for an emphasis on all-female news teams, as it was often overlooked that diversity was a major concern for the people of Fort Wayne at the time. However, the "INNCD 47 News" format revived a station that had low ratings prior to its merger with WTOR (channel 41). It also heavily influenced what other NoSirGifts stations' newscasts would look like for many years to come.
At WXXC, Zinn co-anchored with Justin Planck on RAT TV in 2001 and was best known for creating LGBT news formats which pair a news anchorwoman and a transgendered anchorwoman or two anchorwomen presenting newscasts to make news more attractive for LGBT audiences.
On February 5, 2007, Zinn revived her news anchoring career anchoring INNCD News at 10 (now INNCD 47 Action News at 10:00 and produced with WTOR). Zinn, as a transgender woman, did what other transgender women almost never did at that time. Fellow transgender anchorwomen Julia Passalt from Minneapolis and Denver, Fiona Johnson from San Fransisco, Kendra Ray from Des Moines would all do the same in the late 2000s and early 2010s.
In 2008, NoSirGifts acquired stations owned by Imperial Broadcasting (longtime owner of WTOR, Lafayette Fox affiliate WLIN-FTV, now-CBS affiliate WIFX-FTV Indianapolis, and NBC affiliate WVTH Vincennes), NT Communications (owner of now-ABC affiliate WXWI Milwaukee), and DakMedia (owner of Fox affiliate KDNC Denver). Like WXXC, WLIN, WIFX, WVTH, WXWI, and KDNC had long been in third place in the local news ratings. Zinn implemented changes with the hope of turning the stations around. By this time, Zinn's reputation in television news was such that many of the station's veteran reporters in Inddianapolis and Milwaukee resigned. Zinn relaunched stations with a considerably watered-down version of the WXXC format, which was still shocking by Indianapolis and Milwaukee standards. Nonetheless, it led to a ratings boost, especially after WIFX and WXWI respectively switched affiliations from Fox to CBS in 2009 and Fox to ABC in 2012. WXWI soon rose to second place in the Milwaukee ratings while WIFX soon rose to first in Indianapolis and in Fort Wayne, WTOR overtook long-dominant WMRI in key time slots in the 2010's.
Principal webmaster (1999-2020)
Zinn's largest effect on American culture came from her popular web sites INNewsCenter and Vote for the Girls. Shortly thereafter, Patrice Rafferty re-entered her life, offering to set her up with a webmaster position and 10% share in ATE Media. The show was named Wheel of Fortune. Despite the show's success, a dispute with Zinn's business owners and Zinn's dream of running her own web site led to her leaving the partnership in 1998.
In December 2020, Zinn retired from webmastering to focus on other work and declares herself semi-retired.
Original site (1999-2011)
At age 16 in November 1999, Ava Zinn had launched two web sites--her web site (currently known as AvaZinn.com) and INNewsCenter, a site devoted to discussing the television industry in Indiana's 10 markets (initially Fort Wayne and Indianapolis) that serve all of 's 92 counties. Both were launched on November 1, 1999 while Zinn was a junior at Mississinewa High School in Gas City, Indiana. The site covered the changes in the ten media markets that serve the state (originally the Indianapolis and Fort Wayne markets until 2004).
The INNewsCenter site closed on June 30, 2011. The final story posted on the site was Fox's announcement on June 20, 2011 that it would end its affiliation with WFFT and its Fort Wayne affiliation moved to MyNetworkTV affiliate WISE-DT2 on August 1. Nexstar had earlier lost the Fox affiliation for WTVW in Evansville following a dispute with the network over retransmission consent that it wanted its stations to pay to the network.
Revival site (2014-2020)
The revived INNewsCenter debuted on December 28, 2014. Sites that also carried the original site, such as Florida News Center, have picked up the revived site as well. Unlike the previous adaptation of the site, the 2014 version is relegated to a section of Zinn's AvaZinn.com web site. As with the original adaptation, the site still discusses the television industry in the state's 10 markets and five significantly viewed markets that serve all 92 counties. The first story posted on the site was the third Indianapolis affiliation switch in over 35 years as WISH (channel 8) and WTTV (channel 4) swapped affiliations, with WISH-TV becoming a CW affiliate and WTTV becoming a CBS affiliate, after Tribune Broadcasting announced on August 11, 2014 that WTTV would become the market's CBS affiliate through a deal that renewed affiliations on the company's five existing CBS stations; the WTTV deal was spurred by a dispute between station management at WISH-TV and the network during affiliation renewal negotiations over reverse compensation demands. WTTV originally planned to move its CW affiliation to a digital subchannel upon the January 1, 2015 switch until Tribune decided to sell The CW's Indianapolis affiliation rights to WISH owner Media General (which had completed its merger with that station's former owner LIN Media three days earlier) on December 22, 2014, with WTTV operating its subchannel as an independent station instead. The switch was an upgrade for The CW, due to WISH's prior history as a major network station and the fact it had a news department; it was also an upgrade at least for WTTV even if it was arguably one for CBS, as the station had not been a major network affiliate since losing the ABC affiliation to WLWI (channel 13, now NBC affiliate WTHR. It is interesting to note that thirty-five and a half years earlier on June 1, 1979 WTHR and WRTV (channel 6) swapped affiliations with WRTV taking WTHR's outgoing ABC affiliation) in 1957, had not maintained a news department since 1990 or aired any newscasts of its own since 2002 (the newscasts Tribune re-established for WTTV upon the switch use resources from Fox affiliate WXIN (channel 59)'s existing news department, but compete against and maintain anchor teams largely separate from its sister station). In fact, the major impetus of the deal was that it allowed WTTV to become the local broadcaster of the Indianapolis Colts through CBS' rights to the AFC.
In another notable difference from the previous site, the site will often feature clips of stories from the American adaptation of Vote for the Girls when a female contestant appears on a reality based singing competition (notable examples are Alisha Bernhardt and Marrielle Sellars of American Idol 11 and 13, respectively, Valerie Rockey of So You Think You Can Dance 11, Addison Agen and Christiana Danielle of The Voice 13 and 14, respectively) and local (Marion and Fort Wayne) stories appearing on AvaZinn.com (a notable example is the death of Ashley Rheam in 2013).
Another difference from the previous site is the absence of the INNewsCenter Weather Wall, a feature that has since moved to AvaZinn.com.
Film/TV producer and director (2000-present)
Zinn began her film and television producing career as a producer for INNCD 47 (now "CBS 41 Plus") in 1999.
Amanda & Elisa (2004-2009)
Zinn previously had a first running, successful adult animated series in Amanda and Elisa which was in production from 2004 to 2009. To date along with Hoosier Anchorwoman!, Amanda & Elisa are Zinn's animated series to have suffered an official cancellation.
The series ended on June 27, 2009, with a total of 5 seasons and 100 episodes, and the title characters moved to Queen of the Willis in the episode The Story of Amanda and Elisa.
Queen of the Willis (2006-12 and 2019-26)
Although Zinn enjoyed her career as a webmaster and journalist, she felt her real calling was for the small screen and animation, which would allow a much edgier style of humor. She first pitched Queen of the Willis to ABC Fantasy TV Stations, CBS Fantasy Televsion, NBC Owned Fantasy TV Stations, and DakMedia. ATE Media offered the then young writer a strange deal: Patrice Rafferty gave her a budget of US$5,000 to produce a pilot that could lead to a series (most episodes of animated prime-time productions cost at least US$1-2 million). Zinn recalled the experience in an intervie, Zinn stated, "I spent about four years with no sleep and no life, just drawing like crazy in my kitchen and doing this pilot".
In 2002, Zinn returned to ATE Media with a "very, very simply, crudely animated film – with just enough to get the tone of the show across" to present to the executives, who loved the pilot and ordered the series immediately. In Feburary 2006, ATE Media Corporation announced the purchase of Queen of the Willis for a August 2006 debut. At age 24, Zinn (tying with Family Guy crator Seth MacFarlane in 1997) television's youngest executive producer.
Queen of the Willis first aired August 12, 2006. Zinn's work in animating Queen of the Willis has been influenced by Jack Klugman along with examples from King of the Hill, Family Guy and Growing Pains. In addition to writing various episodes, including "Pilot", "Ten Years to Life" and "The Rape of Heather Willis", Zinn voices Queen of the Willis's main transgendered female characters – Ava Willis, Tabby Willis, Zach Mullins, Addison Ellissong, Michelle Wilson – as well as male characters Ron Willis, Dr. Mario Coxson, Zach Mullins, Robert "Crob Bob" Craven and Mullins' grandson Caleb Mullins – and female characters Shushu Willis, Heather Willis, Anna Pamhouser, Angelika Mullins, Amanda Dawson, and Elisa Donovan and additional characters.
Despite its popularity, Queen of the Willis has often been criticized. The Parents Television Council frequently criticizes the show for its content, once organized a letter-writing campaign aimed at removing it from a network's lineup (although it airs in syndication), and has filed complaints with the Federal Communications Commission alleging that some episodes of the show contained indecent content. Zinn has responded to the criticism by saying, among other things, "I've been used to getting a butt load of hate mail and these terrible human beings act like Commies or Nazis."
Queen of the Willis has been cancelled twice, although strong fan support and YouTube views have caused CBS Television Distribution to reconsider. Zinn mentioned how these cancellations affected the lineup of writers each time. "One of the positive aspects of Queen of the Willis constantly being pulled off [the air] is that we were always having to restaff writers and recasting". In Fort Wayne, the show has moved from then-ATE Media owned ABC affiliate WMRI (now an ABC O&O) to NoSirGifts-owned CBS affiliate/independent station (and flagship) duopoly WTOR/WXXC-FDT in 2007 where it aired since while in Indianapolis, the show has moved from WHOO-FTV to WIFX-FTV in 2007 where it aired from 2007 to 2018 before moving to United Broadcasting owned CW affiliate WEVI.
Hoosier Anchorwoman! (2009-2013)
Zinn has a third running, successful adult animated series in Hoosier Anchorwoman! which was in production from 2009 to 2013. To date along with Amanda & Elisa, Hoosier Anchorwoman! are Zinn's animated series to have suffered an official cancellation.
Hoosier Anchorwoman! was first shown in April 2009, three months after the the Indianapolis Colts' loss to the Saints debuting with the episode "Pilot", which Zinn co-wrote. Zinn has described the initial seasons of Hoosier Anchorwoman! as being INNewsCenter, likening title character Kendra Kendall's originally bigoted persona after a sex change. Zinn has also stated that her inspiration to create Hoosier Anchorwoman! derived from her experience of never seeing to anchormen anchor a newscast after the main female anchor takes the day off for any reason from 1987 until 2009, yet does not mind watching two anchorwomen on a tellevision news broadcast. Zinn was described as having difficulty understanding the series in its early going; however, she heavily warmed up to the series after its early seasons once he felt the show truly came into its own. Her fellow co-creators have sensed this through Zinn's greatly increased attention to the series after its early seasons. Zinn has also revealed she is a Hoosier Anchorwoman! fan herself. She has taken note of the positive reaction to the "Joyce" character by fans via her Twitter.
The show focuses on the Kendall family: Kendra Kendall, the endangering, dog-eat-dog, rash and inconsiderate head of the household. She has an exaggeratedly large chin and feminine manner about her. As the family's breadwinner, she works as a news anchor/reporter and was initially portrayed in the series as an old-fashioned conservative bigot but has since grown out of these traits ; Kendra's paradoxically moralistic yet simultaneously inappropriate, corrupt wife, Miles; and their three children, new-age hippie daughter Samantha, daughter Allison and nerdy daughter Jackie. Accompanying the Kendall family are three additional main characters, two of which belong to non-human species: zany, shocking, blithely cruel and rascally cow Joyce, who's full of disguises/alter egos and has few if any limits on her behaviors. She was rescued by Kendra from a slaughterhouse; Kayla, the woman-in-a-snake-body pet. Kayla's unenviable situation came about from the brain of an Russian Olympic gymnist being shrunk and transplanted into a snake body; and Alec Dailey, Samantha's boyfriend turned "whipped" husband, known for his homosexual infatuation with Samantha's mom, Miles.
The series ended on May 19, 2013, with a total of 4 seasons and 88 episodes, and the character of Kendra moved to Queen of the Willis in the episode The Girls Are Back in Quillsville.
Vote for the Girls (2010-21 and 2024-)
The 2004 gender transition and 2018 move to Fort Wayne provided a major windfall for Zinn in 2010, with Holly Everman, Robyn Hurd, and villain Archibald Coolranch, Zinn was a moderator and host on the first season of the American web site Vote for the Girls, which she created using her production company, Aeverine Zinn Holdings. Vote for the Girls was a surprise hit and success with the public launched the Vote for the Girls franchise in the United Kingdom and Australia.
Owing to Zinn's lesbian sexuality as a woman and Zinn's 11 of her 13 closest friends are female (as of February 2012, Alec Dailey and Justin Planck are the only remaining male close friends of Zinn's) being longtime fixtures with Zinn, the social status of Zinn are consistently among the highest-rated during the seasons of The Voice and American Idol. Also due to the the popularity of former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning quarterback as well as Fort Wayne's status as a reality-based competition hotbed with local contestants Addison Agen and Christiana Danielle; Indianapolis based contestants Alisha Bernhardt, Marrielle Sellars, and Valerie Rockey; Louisville natives Olivia Henken and Allison Bray; Chicago-based Haley Reinhart and Alice Lee; Detroit-based Amy Yakima, Jena Asciutto, RoxXy Montana, Malaya Watson; Ohio-based Alexis Gomez and Crystal Bowersox being supported contestants on the web site, Vote for the Girls is consistently among the highest-rated site in Indiana (as well as being the most viewed on the web site's YouTube channel) during the live shows of all competitions in both Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. In 2015, for instance, Vote for the Girls USA (along with some edited from the UK version) attracted a 21.6 rating and a 36 share, the highest viewership for the broadcasts in the United States.
Haley Reinhart and Lauren Alaina, two female contestants on the tenth season of American Idol were prominently featured on the site after the elimination of Pia Toscano. Zinn returned for a third season alongside Everman and Hurd, as well as auditioning for the 11th season of American Idol herself and exposing the previous season's gender bias, the site gained popularity and overtook Vote for the Worst. After launching Vote for the Girls (which was launched to compete with VFTW), in response Zinn stated "It's becoming clear that people want a change that we all believe in. It's only about what you're doing and supposed to do, and I l like I'm supposed to be doing this." The site's YouTube videos featured screaming matches among Zinn, her guests, and audience members. Using a large black bowl for an ashtray, she would chainsmoke during the video and blow cigarette smoke (later e-cigarette smoke) in her guests' faces. Zinn's fans became known as "FWLGBT," patterned after the LGBT Ava Zinn logo used since 2013.
Zinn's signature phrases "WGWG Commies" (in reference to white guys with guitars and communism) and "shush it!" briefly enjoyed some popularity in the contemporary vernacular. She particularly enjoyed making her guests angry with each other, which on a few occasions resulted in physical confrontations.
Because of the controversial format and content of the show, Zinn had problems selling the show to a number of advertisers. Even Zinn's subscribers were so fearful of advertiser and viewer backlash that they would air one or even two local disclaimers during the videos.
Zinn returned for the fourth season in 2012, with Everman, and two new moderators Hillary Matthewson and Michelle Steele, as Hurd passed away after the site's third season ended. Zinn only appeared in the latter part of the American Idol 12 competition, as she was launching Vote for the Girls in Great Britain.
Zinn also launched Vote for the Girls UK in June 2013. It was announced that she would be a moderator and host both on the UK and U.S. editions of the site, which air at similar times of the year. She was joined by Ariel Swaringen, Kathi Jameson, and Khayla Chow. Zinn's pick of Leah McFall of The Voice finished runner-up of The Voice UK 2 as Andrea Begley won that series, and Zinn's pick of Samantha Bailey won The X Factor 10, making Zinn not only the winning moderator, but both victories for the site. Zinn returned for a second series of Vote for the Girls in September 2014 with Swaringen, Jameson, and Chow not returning and were replaced by Tracia Ward, Nermal Everman, Rhonda Rhodes and Kendra Ray. Zinn's pick of Caroline Flack on Strictly Come Dancing won that series, marking Zinn's second series as the winning moderator after she won with Samantha Bailey in 2013.
Vote for the Girls Australia and Vote for the Girls: Junior Edition both launched in 2015. It was announced and confirmed that she would be a moderator and host on the Australian, UK, and U.S. editions of the site, which air at similar times of the year. However, Zinn currently does not appear on Vote for the Girls: Junior Edition due to concerns that Ava Zinn's style of cursing of the supported contestants on Vote for the Girls USA would carry over to Vote for the Girls: Junior Edition. Karly Jameson said that Zinn had only cursed seven times during the production of the episode and never at anyone younger than 18. In the final editing of the pilot, Zinn cursed three times off stage and once in front of (but not at) the supported contestants.
Shortly before Kymberly Alvaraz began the long-term relationship with Ava Zinn, Zinn announced that Alvaraz would be joining Zinn as a duo moderator on the purple team from the pink team (where Alvaraz served as a solo moderator). This means both Zinn and Alvaraz will have at least one supported contestant on Dancing with the Stars, beginning in the spring of 2015, though former So You Think You Can Dance alums Lindsay Arnold, Witney Carson and Allison Holker are mainstays in Dancing with the Stars will be supported by Alvaraz, owing to Arnold, Carson, and Holker being from Salt Lake City (an adjacent market to Alvaraz's home market of Denver) and the Rocky Mountain's status as a reality-based competition hotbed. Advertising within Studios 41 (where WTOR/WXXC's newscasts are produced) and 47 (where Vote for the Girls is taped) are also included in the deal. Additionally, both Zinn and Alvaraz will have whichever celebrity is paired with Derek Hough, with Littleton, Colorado native and R5 singer Riker Lynch (partnered with Allison Holker) as their final pick finishing overall runner-up in the 20th season and Bindi Irwin (partnered with Derek Hough) winning the 21st season. The only time Derek Hough, Lindsay Arnold, Witney Carson, and/or Allison Holker were not be supported by Zinn and Alvaraz would be if both Hough and either Arnold, Carson or Holker are respectively the winner and runner-up, of which the following season of Dancing with the Stars would be chosen by Kylie and Ann Dwyar, Maribel Mort, or before their deaths, Holly Everman and Perri Johnson on the pink team, or chosen by Kathi and Karly Jameson or Rachael Passalt on the purple team. After Zinn and Alvaraz's relationship ended and since then, the only time Hough, Arnold, Carson, and/or Holker are not supported contestants by Zinn on DWTS would be chosen by fellow Purple Team moderators Kathi & Karly, Lanise & Danni or Pink Team moderators Nadine Cole, Kylie Dwyar, Maribel Mort, or Alexandra Moffitt.
In 2016, as she celebrated 10 Vote for the Girls victories (So You Think You Can Dance victories of Lauren Froderman, Melanie Moore, Eliana Girard, and Amy Yakima; The Voice victories of Cassadee Pope, Danielle Bradbery, Tessanne Chin and Alisan Porter and Chloe Kohanski; American Idol victories of Nick Fradiani and Trent Harmon; The Voice Moderators Saves of Christina Grimmie and Meghan Linsey; American Idol Moderator Saves of Angie Miller and Jena Asciutto) in the United States and four United Kingdom victories (Strictly Come Dancing double victory of Caroline Flack and Frankie Bridge; X Factor Moderator Save of Fleur East and victory Louisa Johnson; and The Voice UK Moderator Save of Lucy O'Byrne). with Vote for the Girls site and recently began to wear strapless tops and dresses with thong panties to strongly reflect her gender identity as a woman along with the punishment for failure with Christina Grimmie's third place finish on The Voice and Jena Irene's runner-up finish on American Idol.
Zinn returned for her ninth consecuitive season in 2017 and did not appear in as much of the season, as she was launching Vape Back!, Ava Zinn's Retail Nightmares and Housing Hell in addition to her move to Fort Wayne though her final two picks for The Voice 13 were runner-up Addison Agen and winner Chloe Kohanski. Zinn returned for a tenth consecuitive season in 2018 and did not appear in as much due to her relaunching Queen of the Willis and her move to Fort Wayne. Zinn appeared for an 11th season in 2019 on a regular basis and a 12th/final season in 2020.
The series concluded on May 23, 2021 after 12 seasons.
In late 2020, a report that Aeverine Zinn Digital Media Group was in talks to revive the show for ABC Fantasy Television Stations or for its original syndicator, NoSirGifts. A dispute between Aeverine Zinn Digital Media Group and IdolForums derailed these plans. Later, ABC announced that it had acquired the rights to the series, and that Vote for the Girls would return for the 2022–23 television season.
On April 19, 2023, in a Facebook post by Karly Jameson it was revealed that Vote for the Girls was confirmed to return after she launched a Change.org petition in May 2021. Ava Zinn followed up in a Twitter post saying, "Ending Vote for the Girls in May 2021 is something I regret ever doing and thanks to Karly's (Jameson) Change.org petition, I'm happy to bring the show back!"
In an Instagram post by Ava Zinn, it was revealed that Vote for the Girls would officially return on April 7, 2024.
Record as moderator on Vote for the Girls USA
Zinn also served as a moderator on Vote for the Girls from its inception in 2010 until 2021, and has won 16 times – more than any other moderator since Cassadee Pope's victory on the third season of The Voice and surpassing Archibald Coolranch on December 18, 2012. Seven of the victories were with Kymberly Alvaraz.
Record as moderator on Vote for the Girls UK
Zinn appeared as a moderator on the British adaptation of Vote for the Girls from 2013 until 2015, and won six times (including one Double Victory and two Moderators' Saves) – more than any other moderator.
Record as moderator on Vote for the Girls Australia
Zinn appeared as a moderator of the Australian adaptation of Vote for the Girls in its only season, winning twice. As a ressult, she is currently the only moderator to have judged and won as a moderator in three countries: United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, and was the only moderator to have judged in three countries until Thia Tola surpassed this feat in 2016 as Tola has judged as a moderator in four countries: Thailand, United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
The Souzas (2020-24)
Zinn developed a Queen of the Willis spin-off called The Souzas, which focuses on the character of Deanna Willis and her wife, Brandi, and their family. The idea for the show originated from a suggestion by Queen of the Willis writer and voice of Deanna, Rachael Passalt.
This is the only animated series created by Zinn that does not have her voicing the main character. Zinn did, however, play the character Addison the Tiger until season 3. Adella Watts voiced Addison from season 4 onwards.
Caprice & Ella (2021-present)
In 2021, Zinn began producing the comedy-drama series Caprice & Ella, in which she also stars. The series premiered during the on February 27, 2021, the day after adopting her cat Caprice Haley Zinn from the Allen County SPCA (now Humane Fort Wayne). Her dog, Gabriella Lauren "Ella" Zinn joined the cast in March 2021. She and Caprice have appeared in every episode since its debut.
Music career (2011-present)
On April 18, 2011, Zinn announced on her YouTube channel that she is planning to audition for the eleventh season of ‘’American Idol’’.
She auditioned for American Idol in Pittsburgh not only as a contestant but also went undercover for her “Ava Zinn Wants To Know” segment for her website and “Vote for the Girls.” She sang "In The Air Tonight." A producer commented that she had a "good voice but not right for the competition." Zinn later stated the Katy Perry song “Firework” was extremely difficult. She was eliminated and was denied the opportunity to audition in front of Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson. Zinn said, “my audition not only changed my life but it put ‘Vote for the Girls’ on the map for good.
Zinn had performed the Michael Jackson song Billie Jean (as her ‘’Queen of the Willis’’ character Heather Willis) in the 2009 episode Meet the Pamhousers. The first Queen of the Willis episode to feature Zinn's singing voice was in the 2008 episode "Mellencamp Fever" when Zinn (as Ava Willis) performed Wild Night.
On April 21, 2001 when she was Frank Zinn, she performed Peabo Bryson’s “If Ever You’re In My Arms Again” (in what would be proven to be her last performance prior to her gender transition as well as her next to last public event in a suit and tie) in 2001 in the Mississinewa High School variety show. Zinn posted this on her YouTube channel as Classic Ava. In a Facebook and YouTube post by Zinn, it was revealed she re-released “If Ever You're in My Arms Again” as Ava Zinn in 2020.
On March 6, 2020, Zinn announced she is working on an album titled "40 Years, 40 Songs" that will be entirely of covers.
Zinn is said to have a contralto voice as a female. She is a singer who, after her gender transition, retrained with a vocal coach in 2020 following complaints that despite a good voice, Zinn has admitted that her pitch is an issue. Regarding her musical passion, Zinn's music is predominantly adult contemporary and pop. She also uses musical comedy in her shows and movies.
Voice and influences
Prior to her transition, when she was known as Franky Zinn, she received positive recognition for her vocal talents as a countertenor. However, since her transition from male to female, Zinn has been known for her "pitch problems" and sought vocal lessons.
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- "Fox Moves Afills In Springfield, Ft. Wayne". TVNewsCheck. June 20, 2011. http://www.tvnewscheck.com/article/2011/06/20/52002/fox-moves-affils-in-springfield-ft-wayne. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- Ava Zinn (June 26, 2014). "Ava Zinn to Revive INNewsCenter". AvaZinn.com. http://avazinn.com/2014/06/26/confirmed-ava-zinn-to-revive-innewscenter/. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
- INNewsCenter is Back!. YouTube (July 21, 2014). Retrieved on December 27, 2014.
- "CBS Moving Indianapolis Affiliation to WTTV". TVNewsCheck. August 11, 2014. http://www.tvnewscheck.com/article/78359/cbs-moving-indianapolis-affiliation-to-wttv. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
- Michael Malone (December 22, 2014). "Tribune Sells Indianapolis CW Affiliation to Media General". Broadcasting & Cable. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/local-tv/tribune-sells-indianapolis-cw-affiliation-media-general/136613. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
- Anthony Schoetle (August 11, 2014). "CBS affiliation switch means major changes at WTTV". Indianapolis Business Journal (American City Business Journals). http://www.ibj.com/cbs-affiliation-switch-means-major-changes-at-wttv/PARAMS/article/48994.
- "Ava Zinn's One and Only Male Interview". "..... these terrible human beings act like they are Commies or Nazis. I've read their newsletter, I've visited their website, and they're just complete idots to the core. For an organization that prides itself on Catholic values—I mean, I'm a Methodist and a transgendered woman that still likes women, so what do I know?—they spend their entire day hating people."
- "Ava Zinn, Hoosier Anchorwoman Interview"].
- "'Vote for the Girls' Officially Returning at ABC". April 19, 2023.
- ‘Vote for the Girls’: ABC Confirms Plan to Revive Reaction Series
- "‘Vote for the Girls’ Premiere Date Revealed".