It looks like The X Factor has it’s first “most promising” Hispanic act… and her name is Jennel Garcia.
The 18-year-old Rochester, Massachusetts native, who recently graduated from high school, wowed the judges during this week’s premiere episode of the Fox singing competition.
Garcia, a sweet, soft-spoken teenager, proved to judges Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Britney Spears and L.A. Reid that you can’t judge a book by its cover.
She showed up on stage at her Providence, Rhode Island audition looking like a petite flower. But after telling the judges that she looked up to artists like Pat Benatar, Garcia burst into a rock-sexy rendition of Grace Potter & The Nocturnal’s “Paris (Ooh La La).” Her performance had all four judges smiling, clapping and saying “yes, yes, yes!”
“Feisty little firecracker!” declared Reid, who launched the careers of Justin Bieber and Rihanna. “I am so feeling you!”
Lovato, who was grinning from ear to ear, declare the combination of Garcia’s voice and personality a win-win.
“What I find really, really interesting is that you have such a cute face, you are really likeable and all of a sudden you are like ‘I’m on fire,’” expressed Lovato, who called her one of the night’s most promising acts. “I literally wrote down in my notes ‘Hot.’ You are awesome.”
Meanwhile, Cowell, considered a tough judge to impress, seemed utterly impressed.
“Jennel, let me tell you sweetheart, you are on the money because right now what’s missing on the pop charts is a young Pat Benatar or someone like that,” Cowell said enthusiastically. “I love the idea of making a pop record or rock record. You are different you are exciting I really, really like you.”
So how did Garcia react to the kudos from all four judges?
“Oh My God! That was so cool!” said Garcia. “I didn’t expect them to like me that much! … I lived in a small town, in a small house, in a dead end street and life has always been really quiet,” Garcia said. “Life starts right now. Today!”
Garcia has been singing from a young age, first on American Juniors at age 10, and later in a singing troupe that performed at nursing homes. She was even featured on America’s Most Talented Kids, according to South Coast Today.