Sixteen-year old Ellona Santiago from San Lorenzo, California is no stranger to the craziness of FOX’s X Factor audition process. In season 1 of the show, she made it past the first round of auditions as an individual singer for the girls category, but was cut at the end of boot camp. Instead of moving on as a soloist, Santiago was brought together with nine other kids to produce a new group called InTENsity. The group, mentored by Paula Abdul, was chosen to continue into the finals, but was eliminated in the second week of the live shows, placing twelfth overall.
Santiago made her return to the X Factor stage recently for the music competition’s third season, auditioning with the song “Wings” by British group and X Factor UK winners Little Mix. Judges Demi Lovato and Kelly Rowland agreed that “Ellona Santiago” was a star name while Simon Cowell announced that Santiago was the girl who he would most like to work with in the competition.
Skipping the boot camp round this year, the judges chose ten girls, ten boys, ten over 25s, and ten groups based on each contestant’s audition video to continue into the new “four-chair challenge”. Santiago was picked along with nine other girls to compete for the chance to perform on the live shows under the mentorship of judge Demi Lovato.
Former mentor Paula Abdul and several contestants from the X Factor’s first season have shown support for Santiago on twitter.
@EllonaSantiago I miss you too..SO excited you're honing your craft and honoring your talent! YOU KEEP AT IT! STAY AT IT! Sending love! xoP— The Real Paula Abdul (@PaulaAbdul) September 26, 2013
@EllonaSantiago congratulations Ellona<3 such a beautiful audition and your voice is wonderful! So cool to see you on that stage again .)— Drew Ryniewicz (@drewryniewicz) September 20, 2013
Congratulations to @EllonaSantiago! You killed tonight girl! Shoot for the stars. Soon you'll be one of them.— John Lindahl (@JohnLindahl) September 20, 2013September 20, 2013September 20, 2013September 20, 2013September 20, 2013
The four-chair challenge begins this week, but in the meantime, watch other performances by Ellona Santiago on her YouTube channel. The X Factor airs every Wednesday and Thursday at 8/7c PM on FOX.