Jacqui Newland is the third contestant to leave the top 12 of The X Factor. Her run on the show came to an end last night, when she was in the bottom two against YMS. Over the past few weeks Jacqui demonstrated musical versatility — sweet, sexy, she can do it all — which may have cost her some votes without a steady fan base. But the 22-year-old still made it to the top 10, an achievement that can’t be ignored. We spoke to Jacqui to talk about how she kept going through the tough times, working with Mel B, and who her celebrity lookalikes are.
How do you pull yourself together after finding out you’re in the bottom two for a third week in a row?
I’m not gonna lie — it was really, really tough last night. It just feels like Australia really didn’t believe in me. And then when I knew I was up against YMS I knew that I didn’t really have a chance. They’re just so amazing. I felt a bit defeated before I’d even stepped out on stage.
Did you and Mel B discuss what could’ve been leading to that result? Like that your target audience just doesn’t vote in these competitions?
Yeah, that was one of the things that we discussed. We discussed my look, song choice . . . It’s a shame I hadn’t stayed in the competition longer, and maybe grew a bit more and got a bigger fan base, but I’m gonna keep going.
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How did being in the bottom two affect your rehearsals and how you went into each week’s performance?
The first week it wasn’t so bad, but when I was in the bottom two for the second time I started to really doubt myself. It got a bit hard, but I soldiered on and I just put my chin up and kept going.
You switched things up a lot during the show — do you think having a more consistent image could’ve helped you?
I think that definitely could’ve been a possibility. As a singer I like to show my versatility; I can do lots of different styles. Maybe I should’ve just stuck to one particular style. But I was just having fun with it, and Mel knows what type of artist I am, and she was just trying to show Australia that, too.
What kind of artist would you like to be?
I’m just pop. Popular music, that’s what I love to sing, and I write it, so yeah — pop, Jacqui, pop!
And what was it like for you to work so closely with Mel?
When we found out she was our mentor, it was amazing. I wouldn’t have picked a better judge. I grew up with the Spice Girls, listening to their music, so it was great. It was such a good shock . . . I spoke to her on the phone, and she was always there to build up my confidence and help me get through.
What did Mel say to you after the show?
She told me to keep going with my dream, that this is just the start of my career, and that she really believes in me. I’m going to take that on board and hopefully I can keep doing her proud.
Do you have a favourite performance from the show?
My last one [“Shut Up and Drive” by Rihanna] was pretty fun. I loved coming in on the motorbike! [Laughs] That was awesome.
You showcased lots of looks on the show — sweet, sexy, rock — which look is the most like you?
I think I’m a mix. As a person I’m more sweet, but as a performer I’m more sexy-rock [laughs].
And were you comfortable in the sexy outfits, especially your leather outfit last week?
[Laughs] Definitely. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have worn it, it’s as simple as that. I felt good. Mel just wanted to make an impact, and I think that she did that successfully. It’s just a shame I couldn’t pull it off with the song.
Aside from Tyla and Christina, was there anyone else you bonded with?
Sophia from 3 Wishez, she’s great, and the Audio Vixen girls — it was all the girls, actually! Girl power! Everyone is just so nice.
Are you able to weigh in on the Mitchell drama from the past few days?
I don’t really know. I wasn’t there when it happened, and when Guy said that, I didn’t know that he wasn’t learning the lyrics and was rude to the crew, because he’s always been so nice to me, and from what I’ve seen he’s nice to all the other guys in the contest. I was a bit shocked, but I’m on his [Mitchell] side the whole way. I know that he’s such a nice guy and I don’t think he’d do something like that.
What’s next for you?
I’m obviously going to keep singing, I wanna get into TV presenting, some acting, maybe. Anything’s possible!
And did you know that a lot of people think you look like you could be Katherine Heigl’s little sister?
[Laughs] I get that a lot. And some people have been saying that I’m Natalie Bassingthwaighte’s long lost twin or something! I get so many people. Rachel McAdams, people have said. Jessica Simpson a lot. Mariah Carey. It doesn’t stop! I’m like, “No, I’m me, they all look like me!” [Laughs]
Photo courtesy of Channel Seven