Jennel Garcia: Demi Lovato made a mistake with my 'X Factor' song choice but she's only human
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/16/2012
Jennel Garcia, along with Lyric 145, were ousted from The X Factor during Thursday night's live results broadcast after the show's co-hosts Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez revealed they were at the bottom of the leaderboard based on home viewer votes cast immediately following Wednesday night's Top 12 performance show.
Jennel, an 18-year-old from Rochester, MA, was sent home by The X Factor judges Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid, Britney Spears, and Demi Lovato via a 3-1 vote instead of fellow contestant Paige Thomas, a 22-year-old from San Antonio, TX, after both girls had to "sing for survival." Jennel and Paige were members of Demi's "Young Adults" (17-24) category.
During a conference call with reporters on Friday, Jennel talked to Reality TV World about her The X Factor experience -- including whether she believed Demi's lack of experience as a mentor unfortunately played a big role in why she got eliminated so early on in the competition.
Reality TV World: What exactly did Demi tell you onstage after your elimination. You were clearly very emotional and upset, and it kind of looked like you kept repeating, "This sucks." Would you mind elaborating on that conversation a little?
Jennel Garcia: Well, everything that she told me is very confidential. I mean, [Demi] had a very personal relationship with all three of us, so when cameras aren't around, it's all very personal and confidential.
So I don't even know what I was saying, but I know what she was saying and I'm going to take that in. I think what she was saying, she was right, and I'm really thankful to have had her as a mentor. And everything that she said has helped me a lot and it helped me get through this a lot.
Reality TV World: Simon seemed to be kind of the most critical about your performances and new look and how Demi was mentoring you. So could you talk a little bit about the direction that Demi was taking you and how much of it you agreed with and wanted to pursue? Did you have any different ideas about what might've been best for you to do on the show?
Jennel Garcia: Well the problem was that Demi understood me so well and she changed me the way that I wanted to be, and I loved my look so much the first two weeks, but again, it was just too soon. I didn't grow to that point and that was the issue. It was almost like we rushed into it too fast.
So, I mean, the only thing I might've changed about my look was all the black clothes. I would've made some more funky outfits that would've been a little more me. But I mean, the dark hair and the music -- just the tough rock music -- that was me and that's who I want to be as an artist.
This week I went out there and did something that they wanted me to do, not even something that I wanted to do, and unfortunately, it was the week that I went home. You didn't get to see everything that I could bring to the table, so that's really disappointing. But I mean, everything happens for a reason. You just gotta go slow.
Reality TV World: Demi admitted that she is inexperienced at mentoring and it would probably take her time to kind of get into the groove of things and be able to really know what she was doing with her acts. So, I know it sounds like you were a huge fan of hers and she was a great mentor for you, but do you think unfortunately that maybe Demi's lack of experience kind of negatively affected your chances in the competition? And do you think if you had a more experienced mentor like L.A. or Simon that maybe things might've turned out differently for you in anyway?
Jennel Garcia: Well, yeah. I mean, I [struggled] with the thought. It was her choice to do "Proud Mary" and I was fighting against it. I was completely against it and had another song prepared, and I was really fighting for that one. But unfortunately, she chose "Proud Mary." She thought that would get me to the top of the voting chart, but it went the complete opposite direction.
I mean, I'm not mad at her for it. It's true, she's human and she's going to make mistakes, and she is new at this mentoring thing. At the end of the day, she chose me. She chose me out of the bottom two, and that's all I could ask for from her. She didn't know that it would've been a mistake.
If she knew that, she would've let me do the song that I wanted to do, and we could've seen what happened from there. But I'm not mad at her. I think, yeah, a little bit of her choosing that song that I really didn't like definitely affected me and my performance and the results, but I mean, everything does happen for a reason. So you've just got to live with it.
Below are some additional highlights from the rest of Jennel's call with reporters.
When you performed "Proud Mary," you pretty much got praise from all of the judges and a lot of viewers seem to think that in the sing-off, you actually sang better than Paige. So why do you think Simon, Britney and L.A. all voted to eliminate you?
Jennel Garcia: I tried to think of it in a lot of different ways, and no, I'm not sure. Some people think that maybe, I mean, I'm not just tooting my own horn but a lot of people told me -- like a lot of producers and vocal coaches told me that I was the strongest on Demi's team, so I think that when they had the choice to get me out, they took me out. (Laughs)
But I mean, other than that, I can't come up with any other reason why they would have chosen me to go home. I did all I could... since Day 1, I haven't gotten any bad critiques at all about my performances besides "Landslide," because that was just self-explanatory. It was just not even in my style and I was not in my element.
And then last week when I sang "I Love Rock and Roll," it was a little bit predictable, which was -- yeah, I think it was a really tough week for me, because I chose that song about two days before the live show, and it was really hard to make that song my own.
So other than that, I mean, it's kind of hard to realize and figure out why me when so many people had such high hopes for me. It's really shocking, but I think everything happens for a reason.
Did you get a chance to talk to L.A. or Britney after the show to get their explanation for why they voted to eliminate you?
Jennel Garcia: Well, L.A. came up to me. I honestly don't even remember what he said to me. When the adrenaline kicks in, I just don't remember what goes on. I forgot what he said to me. I really wish I could remember because I know L.A. was really shocked about the whole thing. But yeah, I just didn't get the chance to talk to anybody else besides him.
It was obviously an awkward moment for your mentor Demi last night when she and Simon were going back and forth when deciding whether you or Paige should go and then Simon basically made her choose. How did you feel when she was the only one who did cast a vote for you to stay, meaning that if she actually had the control, you would've been the one to remain in the competition?
Jennel Garcia: Well, it feels great that my mentor chose me, because the bottom two were two people in her [Young Adults (Ages 17-240] category. She loves both of us and she was the one who worked with both of us and knows what the both of us are capable of doing, so the fact that she chose me helped me get through this so much.
Because out of all the four judges, she's the one who knew the most about me, and she chose me. So that's amazing. That means so much to me.
Did the fact Demi chose you to stay create an awkwardness between yourself and Paige backstage?
Jennel Garcia: Demi was really upset about the whole thing. What she said to me was very personal and I'm going to keep it confidential but I'm not going to let that ruin my friendship with Paige at all. It's not worth it. There's nothing they can do. Everything happens for a reason, and Paige deserved to be there just as much as everybody else.
She's just as talented as anybody else and she works really freaking hard. So, of course I wanted to stay... but I'm happy for her because she wants this bad -- just as bad as I do. So you can't help but be happy for the people that are still there.
A lot of people have noticed how close you became to Jillian Jensen. You're from the same hometown and are both rock singers. Can you talk about what contact you've had with her since she was eliminated, and also, who else did you become close to during the whole process?
Jennel Garcia: I haven't really talked to Jillian much since her elimination. She's off doing other things, and I did become really, really close to Willie Jones and Cece Frey.
Willie was one of my best friends and he went home, and that was definitely really hard. And Cece being in the bottom two for two weeks has been really hard... I'm just really thankful that I met them and they're some of the best friends I've ever had in my life.