One of the most emotional moments to come out of last week’s whopping seven hours of combined singing competition auditions was Jillian Jensen’s audition on “The X Factor.” The Massachusetts-native impressed the judges with her tearful but powerful performance of Jessie J’s “Who You Are,” after explaining that, like judge Demi Lovato, she had been bullied in her youth.
Despite her hearstring-tugging connection with Lovato, the 19-year-old part-time piano teacher said she decided to audition for “The X Factor” and dedicate her performance to others who had been bullied, long before Lovato had joined the show. In fact, she said she’s auditioned at least 10 times for other music shows, including “American Idol.”
“I always told myself that if I ever was given the opportunity to do an audition in front of actual judges, I would dedicate my performance to someone who had been through what I had. I went out on a limb and did the whole ‘X Factor’ thing and then I find out Demi’s a judge. It’s one of those moments when you feel like the stars have aligned,” said Jillian in a phone interview with XfinityTV.com. “It made that moment for me that much more emotional, as I’m sure you could tell. It was very surreal.”
Watch Jillian’s Performance:
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The 2007 Miss Massachusetts Teen America said she chose the song “Who You Are” because it spoke to her own troubled experiences. “There was a point in my life where those who put me down, they got to me. I let them change me,” she explained. “I never want to be swayed to be something I’m not again, or make decisions that I wouldn’t make because I’m just sick of someone bringing me down. That’s what that song means to me.”
Her tearful delivery, however, wasn’t exactly what Jillian had planned for. “I was actually kind of upset that I was crying, because I don’t like being vulnerable, being that open with everyone,” said Jillian. “When I started crying, I was like, They’re really gonna experience me right now, and I don’t know if I want them to fully see me.”
But since the audition, she has been receiving nothing but good feedback. “It’s kind of unreal. I’ve been getting people reaching out to me from all over the world, kids who have been through what I’ve been through. And that was what my goal was.”
Some interactions, however, have been a little weird. “I went to the gym yesterday and someone followed me into the locker room to take a picture with me. And I was like, ‘I’m really gross right now, but okay.’”
If Jillian makes it to the end and wins the $5 million contract, she plans to use some of that money to grow an organization she founded, Magic of Music, which provides scholarships for musical instruments and lessons to underprivileged children.