Fil-Am singer Ellona Santiago made a strong impression in the pilot episode of The X Factor.
The 14-year-old student received approval from all four judges of the American talent search, namely Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger, and Antonio "L.A." Reid.
The two-hour premiere was aired on Fox TV last September 21 (September 22 in the Philippines). The X Factor airs locally on Studio 23.
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When Nicole learned about Ellona’s age, she remarked, "For 14 years old, I was really impressed."
Paula told her: "Absolutely yes."
Wearing an all-black ensemble with black leather boots, the Fil-Am singer was teary-eyed when she heard that she got the approval of all four judges. She ran backstage and hugged her companions.
According to amerikana.info, Ellona is a Philippine-born singer who migrated with her family to the United States when she was 11 months old. She reportedly developed her love for singing at age 4.
Ellona is also known as the winner of the Ichiban Idol, a singing contest held in the Bay Area in 2010.
Based on info from ETOnline, about 15,000 showed up in Los Angeles to audition for the show.
Hosted by Steve Jones, the U.S. edition of The X Factor offers a $5 million dollar recording contract to the winner.
Singers, 12 years old and above, can compete in the show either as soloists or in a group. Contestants are split into four categories (boys, girls, over 30s and groups), with each judge mentoring one category. Selected contestants will then have to take part in a hardcore boot camp to prove their star potential. Only a few will advance to the next level and have the chance to be mentored by the judges.
The judges will then select the official finalists who will move in together in The X Factor house and compete week every week in the live show where they will be scrutinized by the fifth judge: the viewers.
PRAISED BY CRITICS. Not only did Ellona impress the judges of The X Factor, she also caught the attention of critics for her powerful voice.
Billboard.com described Ellona as "a timid teen with powerful vocals."
Gwen Orel of The Wall Street Journal wrote in her recap of the season premiere: "Elona Santiago, 14, is next. We see her belting a phrase. Four more yeses for her. This is going to be a dull show if they just keep showing us the great ones."
Meanwhile, examiner.com indicated that the Fil-Am singer is making waves in the United States.
Here is the complete article published by the examiner:
"The 12-year-old singer that amazed last night on X Factor, Ellona Santiago is making headlines today. She truly showed her vocal talent, as did some of the other younger contestants, Rachel Crow and John Lindahl. The season is off to a very promising start, and it is clear that there is much for fans of the show to look forward to. The second part of the show’s premiere will be airing tonight, and fans are very excited to tune in to see who else will show their talent.
"Given the amount of talent that has been shown thus far, in just one episode of X Factor, it is clear that someone who has phenomenal talent will win the competition, and viewers will enjoy watching the journey of that artist as the season unfolds. Simon Cowell has a new hit on his hands, and fans are already discussing how much they enjoyed tuning in to watch the show.
"What do you think of Ellona Santiago’s audition for the show? Are you excited about the first season of X Factor in the United States? Do you look forward to seeing the talent that will be discovered on the show?"