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Macon native a finalist in ugly couch competition

When Christina Stefano Wood took possession of her late grandmother's sofa and loveseat set, she didn't think they were particularly ugly.

Evidently, she's in the minority.

Wood, a Macon native who lives with her husband, Clayton, in Hazlehurst, is scheduled to appear with her couch Tuesday morning on the syndicated talk show, "Live With Regis and Kelly," with hosts Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa because her couch was judged to be among the ugliest in America.

"It belonged to my grandmother for years and years," said Wood, 27, who is studying to be a veterinary assistant. "It was practically brand new. ... She passed away, and it was one of those things nobody needed. It was going to be put into an estate sale. I was just used to (how it looks). To me, it's not really ugly."

But the pattern of the couch was distinctive enough that Wood decided to go online and buy a slipcover for it. She discovered the company, Sure Fit, was sponsoring a contest to find the ugliest couch in America.

Wood e-mailed a photo of the couch to the company in June, and it made the final 10. Though Wood didn't think the couch was uglier than some of the other finalists, her couch was picked in an online vote for the top three, meaning she and the couch won an expenses-paid trip to New York to be on "Live."

"It didn't offend me," she said. "But some of the couches that made it (to the final 10) I thought were worse. ... (I would) go with outdated instead of ugly (to describe it), but I'll go with ugly because it's the ugly couch contest."

It's going to be Wood's first appearance on live TV, and being on a show she watches fairly regularly only makes it more exciting, she said.

"I love Kelly," she said. "I'm a big fan. I never thought I would be on 'Regis & Kelly.' I watch it two or three times a week. ... I've never been on TV, and I've never been to New York, so this is a whole new experience. I'm very excited about it."

The winner of the contest will be announced during the broadcast. If Wood's couch wins, she'll receive $5,000 and 10 Sure Fit products. But will she really want to put a slipcover over the couch that is receiving such attention?

"Well, I actually have the couch and the matching loveseat, so I may cover one and not the other," she said with a laugh.

The Woods also have two dogs that Christina said are like their children. The dogs' days of jumping onto the couch, however, may be numbered.

"I don't know if they will be doing that anymore," she said.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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