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An 'X Factor' Star is Born--Several Years Ago

The Missus and I were watching The X Factor last night, playing that parlor game where you guess whether a contestant getting their biographical closeup on the show will shine or suck when they take the stage.

By the tone of the setup, we decided young Carly Rose Sonenclar would be good.

When the 13-year-old introduced herself, she said she was from Westchester County, NY.

Well, that happens to be where we live, and where we were watching X Factor last night. I was curious where in Westchester she lives. Is she a neighbor? Might she be free to babysit next Friday? Our go-to sitter has left for college.

Sonenclar announced her song choice: “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone. The judges were aghast, clearly wishing the kid would take on something easier.

A brief aside. At the TVB Conference earlier this week, a Nielsen exec offered up numbers on people who watch TV with a web-enabled device in hand. The company’s research says 88% of tablet owners and 86% of smartphone owners do so at least once a month, while 45% do so daily.

I’m in the 45% group, especially during baseball season.

So I picked up the Blackberry as Sonenclar took the stage–and revealed that she is quite a stellar singer–and Googled young Carly Rose Sonenclar.

She actually has a Wikipedia entry, which is not something we can say about the typical 13-year-old, even in a county with some real hard-driving parents.

You can see her performance here.  Carly absolutely killed–winning a standing ovation from L.A., Demi and Britney, and yes, finally, a smiling Simon. A smiling Simon! They were positively blown away.

The segment was set up to look as though the X judges, and audience–both in the theater and at home–were the first to see what kind of one-in-a-million talent Carly Rose Sonenclar is–the first outside of the stuffed animals she presumably sings to in her bedroom each night. Another Susan Boyle, lightning in a bottle moment.

“Yes times 4, plus 4833 additional yesses,” ruled Simon.

But should the judges really have been shocked by Carly’s vocal chops, seeing as she’d, at least according to Wikipedia, made her Broadway debut in Les Mis at 7, has an agent, was a cast member of The Electric Company, garnered a New York Times review, and sung the national anthem at a Knicks game?

“Remember this day,” gushed L.A. Reid. “A star is born.”

In fact, the star was born several years ago.