Shows like The X-Factor are famous for two reasons. The first, of course, is that they often scout out amazing talent from people who’ve never had their chance to shine. Live TV auditions have launched the careers of some of the most famous people in the music industry, including Susan Boyle, Carrie Underwood, and One Direction.
Of course, the other reason these shows attract attention is for the auditions that go …not so well.
In 2012, one of those auditions was, unfortunately, 16-year-old Sophie Stockle, a student from Hartlepool.
There’s no doubt that Sophie is surrounded by a loving support system. Accompanied by her mother, father, and aunt, she was set on becoming the next big star. And in their minds, her family had no doubt she would make it.
“Sophie’s really, really good,” said her mother. “I can’t believe that when she’s singing, that that’s coming out of my little girl. It can bring me to tears.”
Sophie herself was understandably nervous.
Not only was she about to sing in front of a live audience on national TV, but she was also throwing herself out there in anticipation of making big.
“Today’s audition is very important,” said Sophie. “This is all I’ve ever wanted, is to be a successful singer.
When the 16-year-old walked onto the stage, she was already eye-catching.
Dressed in a bright, multicolored blazer, tights, and high-tops, she had the look of a star. All that remained to be seen was whether she had the voice of one, too.
Sophie chose a difficult song — “Love You I Do” by Jennifer Hudson who’s known for her powerful vocals. Clearly, Sophie was willing to take a big risk in front of the judges.
The moment she started to sing, two things were clear.
First off, she definitely had a powerful voice. Secondly, that voice, unfortunately, wasn’t hitting the right notes. The judges knew she wasn’t professional singer material. All that remained was breaking the news to her as tactfully as possible.
“Well, let me start off by saying you, Sophie, are a beautiful girl,” said Judge Nicole Scherzinger. “I’m not gonna lie — you have power and projection. Unfortunately, we were missing the pitch and the tone. Yeah…you need all of those things.”
Backstage, Sophie’s family looked stunned at the feedback.
They were sure that she would do well — and convinced the audience had loved her performance.
“I want to try and be encouraging, but it was vocally really, really bad,” said Judge Gary Barlow.
Sophie took the criticism with good grace, although she was clearly hurt and disappointed. But Judge Tulisa was more frustrated with Sophie’s parents than with her.
“Her parents — what are her parents doing?” asked Judge Tulisa. “If that was my child, I’d say ‘Stop it!’”
Judge Simon Cowell once famously put the parents of a poor performer in their place.
He said they were irresponsible to tell her that she was a good singer when they could encourage her to develop other talents. Whether or not Sophie’s parents realized her faults isn’t clear. It seemed as though they personally thought she was a wonderful singer.
There’s no knowing what Sophie is up to these days or what other talents she might have. But with any luck, she’s moved past the disappointment of her X Factor audition and learned to cultivate other strengths.
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