Stacy Francis, one of the Top 12 “X Factor” U.S. finalists in 2011, has been vigorously denying that she lied in her “X Factor” audition. She has been experiencing a backlash (mostly on the Internet) from numerous people who say that she deliberately misled viewers into thinking that she is an inexperienced singer who never had a chance to make it big in the music industry.
Francis has been defending herself by making statements on the Internet. On her Twitter account, she said:
“If I am such a huge star. I have a question for all of my NEW FANS!?? DID YOU KNOW MY NAME B4 The Xfactor?? No u didn’t Simon [Cowell] discovered me.”
On her official website, Francis commented:
“There are a lot of things which aren’t true being said about me, too many to list actually! So I just wanted to tell you I have always been honest with you and will continue to do so. I could only have wished to have had the success and support some people now claim I have — but right now I’m getting my break and thank you for this!”
Francis also announced on her Facebook page that she is going to be on Ustream to chat with people and answer questions after the broadcast of the live “X Factor” U.S. show on November 2, 2011. (Fox will televise the show in the U.S. from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time.)
The fact is that Francis (a 42-year-old single mother of two children who are under the age of 4) never claimed to be an inexperienced singer who failed to find work as a singer. Before auditioning for “The X Factor” U.S., her work experience as a singer included:
- Being a member of the female quartet Ex-Girlfriend from 1989 to 1995, during which Ex-Girlfriend released two albums on Reprise Records during this time before being dropped by the label. (The group broke up and reunited in 2008, but the reunion went nowhere.)
- Starring in Broadway and West End productions (including a 1998 Broadway production of “Footloose”)
- Performing on stage with Madonna, Whitney Houston and Prince
- Singing at Tom Cruise’ birthday party in 2004. (For the record, Francis said on Twitter that she does not know Cruise personally, that she was only hired to sing at the party, and she has not had any contact with him since.)
In her “X Factor” audition video segment (which can be seen on the Internet), Francis said that when she was in her late 20s and early 30s, she was in an abusive relationship with a man who belittled her, and she “lost faith” in herself because she was repeatedly told that she was too old to try to make it big as a professional singer. She never said that she stopped pursuing her dreams, and she never said that she could not find work as a singer while she was in this abusive relationship. (This unidentified man has yet to come forward to tell his side of the story.)
However, it is easy for anyone who did not go back and watch Francis’ “X Factor” audition video to make an assumption that when Francis said she lost confidence in herself, when she said that she was “stuck,” and when she said that “The X Factor” was her last shot at making it big, that meant that she had stopped trying for years to make it big in the music industry. If Francis mentioned her previous work experience in her “X Factor” audition interview, then that part of the interview was not shown on TV.
Francis is in the show’s Over 30s category (solo singers ages 30 and older), which is being mentored by “X Factor” U.S. judge Nicole Scherzinger.
Francis’ audition video alone may not be the only reason for the backlash against her, and “X Factor” editing cannot get the sole blame for this backlash. Based on what Francis’ critics have been saying on the Internet, other things Francis has done on the show have greatly irritated them. Some examples are:
She cried during all of her performances leading up to the live episodes, which led some of her critics to say that her behavior was unprofessional. People who dislike Francis have been saying that even the underage kids on the show (who would naturally be less emotionally mature than a middle-aged person) haven’t cried as much as Francis has. (And if the kids did cry a lot, the sobfest wasn’t during all of their performances.) In an interview with “Fox All Access,” Francis acknowledged that she has been a “crybaby” (her words) on “The X Factor,” and she said: “I never knew myself to be so emotional … I guess I’m very sensitive as an artist.”
Francis disclosed during a performance in the “boot camp” phase of the competition that her father had died on the day that she arrived at boot camp but she made the guilt-ridden decision to stay at boot camp instead of going to his funeral. Many of Francis’ critics questioned why she chose to wait to go public with that information in a situation where she was about to be given feedback by the judges. Her critics have also blasted Francis for choosing “The X Factor” over going to her father’s funeral. It’s a sensitive subject that people have very strong opinions about, and some of Francis’ critics say that Francis deserved to be judged for it since she made it public on the show.
To a lesser extent, people have also questioned Francis’ financial situation, since Francis has mentioned more than once on the show that she is a single mother who is struggling to make ends meet. She also said that she had to borrow an outfit that she wore to one of her “X Factor” performances. Francis’ occupation in her “X Factor” audition was listed as “stay-at-home mother.” Her critics have wondered if Francis is receiving government assistance instead of going out and finding a “real job.”
Francis has not publicly disclosed what her source of income is. It is also unknown to the public if her not having a job outside the home is because of the current economic recession or because she is someone who chooses to be a stay-at-home mother regardless of the state the economy. Either way, her critics have said that Francis mentioning her financial struggles on the show just brings even more scrutiny to how she is supporting herself and her children when she is a single mother who describes herself as a stay-at-home mom.
So it seems that if Francis told her sob stories to get sympathy, then it has backfired to a certain extent.
On the plus side for Francis, she has many people who have expressed support for her. She also has more followers on Twitter and more “likes” on Facebook than most of the other “X Factor” U.S. Top 12 finalists of 2011. And, as previously reported, out of all of the show’s Top 12 contestants of 2011, Francis has had the highest number of famous people expressing that they are her fans. One of them is former “American Idol” finalist Adam Lambert, who even got into a Twitter war of words with gossip blogger Perez Hilton, one of Francis’ harshest critics in the media.
All of this controversy over Francis may not matter in the end. As I pointed out in a previous article, Francis has stiff competition from another big-voiced R&B diva: 19-year-old Melanie Amaro, who has become one of the most popular finalists on the show. One of these singers will surpass the other in this contest — and all indications are that it will be Amaro.