Monday, October 10, 2011
Highland Village teenager still in the running on The X Factor
Hayley Orrantia is one of 43 singers/groups still vying for the $5 million prize.
It wasn't long ago that Highland Village 17-year-old Hayley Orrantia said she was hoping to become known across the country for her singing talent.
Nothing like advancing on a hit TV show to make that happen.
Orrantia, a former student at Marcus High School, made it through to the next round during Thursday night's episode of The X Factor, the newest music competition created by Simon Cowell of American Idol fame.
The show differs from American Idol in that contestants ages 12 and up can audition. The show also accepts auditions from musical groups. The contestants were divided into four groups: boys, girls, contestants older than 30, and groups.
For a few minutes Thursday, viewers saw the selection of the singers who impressed judges enough to advance to the next round. At first, Orrantia, who was competing in the girls group, wasn't among them.
But then judges called back a few contestants and asked them to form additional groups of four singers. That's where Orrantia got a break.
"The hardest part was being eliminated and seeing my friends hurt by it," Orrantia said. "But then when I got called back to join a group, I went from being crushed to being excited. It was the biggest rollercoaster moment I've experienced."
Orrantia sang "Come Home" by One Republic during her "boot camp" performance, which came in front of judges Cowell, Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger, and LA Reid, plus 3,000 fans.
"That night, everybody was struggling," Orrantia said. "A lot of people had trouble with it. I stumbled a little bit, but overall I thought I did well. I was confident. So I was surprised when I was eliminated, but then again there are so many talented singers, and you expect everyone to make it through. But they have to start eliminating people somewhere."
Orrantia got to Thursday's level with solid performances of "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston, "Best Thing I Never Had" by Beyonce, and "Mamma Knows Best" by Jessie J.
Next up for Orrantia and the other contestants are a few days in the judges' homes, where the singers will learn from the experts. Then, the next round of competition will trim the contestants down even more. The "group" category will go from eight to four.
"It's been crazy," Orrantia said. "I've never been involved in anything this big. It's been stressful, and I've had very little sleep because I'm competing against other singers who are all striving for one dream."
The next episode of The X Factor airs at 7 p.m. Wednesday on FOX.
Orrantia has already had a taste of the music business.
Two years ago, she was among 12 artists featured on the Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure soundtrack.
Her song, "The Magic of a Friend," accompanies music from such artists as Selena Gomez, Jesse McCartney, Jordin Sparks, and Demi Lovato.
Later, Orrantia traveled to Los Angeles to record songs. While there, she got an opportunity to audition for a lead role in High School Musical 4, as well as pilot episodes for three Disney TV sitcoms and a made-for-TV movie called Starstruck. She made the final cut for High School Musical 4, but it was never cast.
That same year, she performed at halftime of the World Cup in front of 12,000 people, her largest audience to date.
In October of 2008, she performed on the Chevy Main Stage at the State Fair of Texas. She and three others opened for pop music star Jordan Pruitt, a result of finishing in the top four of an internet song competition hosted by the Texas Music Project. Orrantia was the overall winner. In addition to the opportunity to perform, she also won a package that included graphics support and 1,000 CDs from Crystal Clear Tapes, 10 hours of recording time, and a $1,000 grant to her school's music department.
She used her winnings to record Hayley O, which features three cover songs, such as "Listen to Your Heart," and two songs she wrote.
"This has been many years in the making," said Melody Orrantia, Haley's mother. "She has been toiling away at this since she was 11. This could be her big break."
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