Friday, March 22, 2013
More than 6,000 people converged on the North Charleston Coliseum on Tuesday hoping to show their talent to producers of the Fox television show The X Factor.
Mixed in the crowd were many from Georgetown County, including 18-year-old Ashlie Mueller and 14-year-old Taeira Floyd.
Because it is still a relatively new show in America, The X Factor has not produced as many stars as American Idol but both Mueller and Floyd knew as they practiced for their individual auditions, the show — created by Simon Cowell — is a hit-maker.
It is credited for the popularity of the pop boy band sensation One Direction.
From teenage girls in tutus to middle-age men in tuxedos and everything in between, the thousands of popstar wannabes were in line by the time the doors opened just before 9:30 a.m.
Mueller — who works at Starbucks in Litchfield — said she, her father Steve and her friend Kayla Sheridan arrived at the Coliseum at about 6:30 a.m.
She said she had known the judges were coming to the area for about two months.
Choosing her song was not easy because she has more than 6,000 songs on her iPod. She said she immediately narrowed the number to 400 “that were going through my head.”
In the end she decided to do a version of the song “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye.
The contestants were allowed to perform one verse and the chorus of the song they chose.
Mueller did not make it to the next round, but she said the experience is something she will never forget.
“I did not go with high expectations that I was going to get it because I did not want to be disappointed. It was a fun experience,” she said, adding she recently won a competition that is near and dear to her heart.
She won the South Carolina Fine Arts contest, which is a competition held each year by the Assemblies of God. In that she sang the song “Wonder of Wonders” by Meredith Andrews.
She will compete in the national Fine Arts competition in August in Orlando.
Floyd, a Georgetown High student, has been singing since age three at church and at karaoke competitions. She said choosing her song was also difficult because she did not know whether to sing the same song that helped her win another local contest recently or one that showcased the range of her voice.
In the end she decided to go with the one that allowed the judges to hear her voice range as she sang the song “Impossible” by Christina Aguilera.
“I love how the song moves my voice to different ranges,” Floyd said.
She said she arrived in North Charleston at about 8 a.m. and waiting in line was not bad since the staff of the show had music blaring and people were dancing.
“I wasn’t nervous,” she said of her time in front of the judges. “I am used to singing in front of people.”
Floyd also was told “not this time” but she did not leave discouraged.
“I wanted to try it to see what it was like,” she said, adding she plans to audition for American Idol later this year. And, she will keep singing locally any time she gets a chance.
“I did it because my mom inspired me,” she said. “She is the reason why I sing.”
Executive producer Rob Wade said those who made it through the first round returned Wednesday for a second audition.
"Some people may have an amazing voice but may just not have the X Factor, that combination of everything that makes a superstar," he said. Producers are looking for talent, originality and style, he said.
The next audition will be in Charleston in May, he said. The show's celebrity judges — still to be named — will attend that audition, he said. Last season's judges were Cowell, Britney Spears, Demi Lovato and L.A. Reid.
Charleston was the second city to hold auditions for next season. More than 10,000 turned out in Los Angeles on March 6.
By Scott Harper
The Post and Courier contributed to this story.