Former "X Factor" U.S. contestant Rachel Potter has given a no-holds-barred interview about her "X Factor" experience. In the interview, Potter described how she felt unfairly manipulated by the show's producers and at times treated almost like a prisoner. Potter came in 11th place on "The X Factor" U.S. in 2013.
In an interview published by TheaterMania on Feb. 20, 2014, Potter compared her "X Factor" experience to the cutthroat "kill or be killed" battles in "The Hunger Games" book and movie. Potter has had prominent roles in Broadway productions of "Evita" and "The Addams Family" (and she's been part of the touring production of "Wicked"), but she claims that, against her wishes, "X Factor" producers deliberately chose to hide her Broadway experience from "X Factor" viewers. She also confirmed what some other eliminated "X Factor" contestants have revealed about what goes on behind the scenes: They have very little say in what they can do on the show.
Although many TV viewers already know how manipulated "reality shows" are, most former talent-show contestants who make it to the Top 12 don't expose to the media what really goes on behind the scenes. For public-relations reasons, contestants often stay silent about the seedier aspects of being on a reality TV show. And if they really didn't like being on the show, they rarely will publicly admit it. However, Potter is speaking out by saying about her "X Factor" experience: "I may have been disappointed by the whole thing. I thought that they'd be more truthful about who I was."
Potter told TheaterMania about her "X Factor" experience: "The first audition I ever went to [when] I sang 'Somebody To Love' I told them every show I'd ever been in and they just edited it all out. They were trying to portray me as somebody I wasn't. My history, I thought, was what made my story interesting. It wasn't just that I was a bartender in Nashville but that I gave up a life on Broadway to be a bartender in Nashville. I pushed for that every week. It was very frustrating. I felt like the Broadway community might feel like I was hiding it and I wouldn't ever want anybody to feel like I was ashamed ...
"It's very cutthroat. You're competing with 13-year-old kids. It's very weird. It's sort of like the Hunger Games. They put all of this pressure on you, [saying things] like, 'This is what it's like when you're a star.' No it's not! You're not trapped in a room all day, not allowed to leave, not allowed to eat the foods you want to eat, not allowed to go to the bathroom without asking. When you're on these shows you don't have a choice about what you wear, what you sing, what your staging is like, or anything."
I was at "The X Factor" auditions in Uniondale, N.Y., on June 21, 2013, when Potter auditioned (and in my review, I even said she did one of the best auditions that day), so I can confirm that she's telling the truth: She did talk about her Broadway experience during her audition on stage, but her talking about her Broadway background was edited out and not shown on TV.
Kelly Rowland, who was Potter's "X Factor" mentor, was not mentioned in the article. In her TheaterMania interview, Potter said that "X Factor" producers were the ones making the decisions about what Potter had to do on the show.
Now that "The X Factor" U.S. has been cancelled, Sony Music has backed away from signing some of the Season 3 contestants in 2013 who were being eyed for a Sony Music deal. (Alex & Sierra, the show's winners in 2013, automatically got a Sony Music deal as part of their "X Factor" grand prize.) However, as previously reported, Potter was never on the short list of "X Factor" contestants who were most likely to get signed to Sony Music. Sources told me that since Simon Cowell thought that Potter was too old (she was 29 in 2013) to launch as a new country artist, and he's not a fan of country music anyway.
Potter (who is performing the nightclub 54 Below in New York City on Feb. 24, 2014) also mentioned in the TheaterMania interview that she is working on an album to be released independently: "I really believe in being an independent artist, at least at this stage of my career. It makes so much sense because I have a record ready to go and [can] raise the money to record it and then I can get it out to people right away ... if you can raise the money with your fans, you can be your own record label."
As for her future goals, Potter says that although she is pursuing a career as a country singer, she hasn't ruled out the possibility of working in a Broadway show again. She says that she wants one of the lead roles in the Broadway version of Disney's hit animated musical "Frozen." The Broadway version of "Frozen" was announced in January 2014 and is currently in development.