“The X Factor” U.S. Top 12 finalists of 2011 did their first major press event immediately after the series’ first live episode that Fox aired on October 25, 2011. Entertainment Weekly has interviews with all of the finalists. Here are some interesting tidbits that are in the article:
One of the finalists, 13-year-old Rachel Crow, said that she has lost 15 pounds since she has been an “X Factor” contestant.
What has changed the most for you in your life from your first audition to tonight?
RACHEL CROW: My weight. I lost, like, 15 pounds. I was not healthy at all. I’m feeling very confident right now because I can fit into things I normally couldn’t fit into. I’m really happy and I’m doing really well.
“The X Factor” U.S. judge Nicole Scherzinger is mentoring finalists Stacy Francis, LeRoy Bell and Josh Krajcik. Francis and Bell say that they had virtually no input in choosing the song they performed that night, but Krajcik said that he and Scherzinger decided together which song he would sing. (Francis sang George Michael’s “One More Try,” Bell sang Pink’s “Nobody Knows,” and Krajcik sang Rod Stewart’s “Forever Young.”)
How much involvement have you had in your song choices and overall performance on the show?
LEROY BELL: I didn’t come up with the song initially. I hadn’t actually heard the song before. I’m familiar with some of Pink’s stuff, but not that much. I didn’t quite get it right off, but when I started listening to the lyrics, I thought, well, the lyrics I relate to. So we worked the arrangement, so then I kind of forgot about the way she did it, and make it my own.
STACY FRANCIS: Nicole picked the song. We’re trying to find songs that are not so predictable. I did “Purple Rain” [at Judges’ houses], and that was a Prince song. And now we just did a George Michael song and flipped it. So it’s not like so predictable, to do Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, or Mariah. I kinda want to do one of those [Laughs], but I’m willing to be creative. So that’s where we are with it.
JOSH KRAJCIK: Well, there’s a lot of collaboration between [Nicole] and I. She made the choice in the song, and it was the right choice. The song’s great. It’s a powerful message I think the song has, and it’s a beautifully written song. I just kind of cleared my head and just did it. Didn’t think about it. For me, if I don’t think about it, I usually feel a little bit better.
Dani Knight of Lakoda Rayne said it took 13 hours for the group to decide which song to sing for the show’s first live episode. (They ultimately chose Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ “Come on Eileen.”)
LAKODA RAYNE (Dani Knight): It took us 13 hours to find the perfect song. The girls ended up picking that song. Hayley [Orrantia] and Paige [Elizabeth] had sent in the song previously via email to Paula. We practiced it, we loved it, all us girls decided on the song together. We had 100 percent of that input, and with Paula’s blessing we ended up doing that song.
Astro, the 15-year-old rapper whose real name is Brian Bradley, initially hated the idea of having backup dancers as part of his performance. He also says he is not cocky but he is confident.
What do you make of all the backup dancers? If you haven’t used them yet, do you think you will?
ASTRO: I’ve performed with background dancers before, but I didn’t like them. So when L.A. told me I was going to have background dancers for a second, I was like, naw, man, I’m not feeling it. But L.A. never disappoints, so when I saw them, I was like, wow, that’s awesome. They did a good job, and they worked hard.
What’s the best piece of concrete advice or feedback your mentor has given you?
ASTRO: Believe in yourself no matter what you do. When I first came in this competition, I used to talk myself down a lot, because I was the only MC here. Now I’m happy about it. I’m confident. People say I’m cocky, but I’m confident. L.A. told me as long as you believe in yourself, nobody else can hurt you or harm you.
Crow has a very different opinion from other finalists about the judges arguing on the show.
What do you make of the judges’ bickering?
LEROY BELL: I don’t know what to make of it. It makes me nervous, because I’m standing there going, “Oh, what are they going to say? Is he going to convince her not to like me?” But Nicole held her ground. It’s okay, it’s just nerve-wracking.
STACY FRANCIS: Oh my god, I don’t even know what was going on with Simon tonight. He was so hard on me with the outfit and the song. He didn’t like me tonight. But I’m glad that Paula, Nicole, and L.A. had my back. I felt good about it. You know what, that’s the competition. They’re competing against each other. We have to remember that. When Simon is up there beating me up, and Melanie Amaro’s there and all the girls are behind me to perform, of course he’s going to beat me up. I’m not in his category. That’s something we have to remember. They’re trying to win it themselves.
RACHEL CROW: I thought it was pretty cool, actually. I loved the other opinions, and I’m definitely going to take all of them to heart. I felt like, wow, they care; they’re putting a lot into it. I kinda definitely didn’t want them to fight, but I thought I did my best.