A young Wigan singer is hoping to follow in Leona Lewis’s footsteps after wowing the X Factor judges.
Olivia Garcia won warm praise from the panel in Saturday’s episode of the hit reality show with a stirring performance of Alicia Keys’s Empire State of Mind.
While they said the Orrell 16-year-old picked the wrong song, she won four yesses from Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh during her Manchester audition and will now go forward to the bootcamp stage.
Scherzinger told Olivia: “You have a really big voice for just 16, I didn’t love that song choice for you, I felt like another song could’ve served you better,”
And Cowell said: “What we’re trying to say is, be who you are because you’ve got a great voice.” And Walsh rounded off with: “You look like the perfect popstar!”
Former Up Holland High School pupil Olivia, who has just begun studies at Orrell St John Rigby College, brought family members with her for support at the audition.
Standing with host Dermot O’Leary backstage, some of them were moved to tears by her performance and the judges’ comments.
Olivia said her initial ambition to apply for the show came from watching pop diva Leona Lewis back in 2006, even though she was only SIX at the time. To be The X Factor winner would just be out of this world, if I don’t get through... but if I do, I’ll probably have a party I think,” Olivia told cameras before singing for the judges.
Olivia is no stranger to performing under pressure. Over the years she has entered a number of singing competitions.
One of her biggest moments before Saturday’s appearance on prime time television was to reach the final of the national Open Mic competition. She had entered the 13 to 15 age category two years ago and sang Whitney Houston’s Run To You before an audience of thousands at the Birmingham NEC.
Olivia is also much in demand locally for musical performances.
A spokeswoman for St John Rigby College said: “Olivia has only just arrived here after her GCSEs and is already making a name for herself.
“We were delighted to see her success on the X Factor at the weekend and wish her all the best for future rounds. We will all be rooting for her.”