Lillie McCloud Speaks Out on X Factor Backlash

RVM_0059

Playing a little catch up today! Yahoo Music’s Lyndsey Parker spoke with X Factor hopeful, Lillie McCloud about the controversy surrounding her audition. (Click to read the entire article, featuring more videos)

Lillie was introduced as a newbie housewife looking for a break, when in reality, she had years of experience in show business, as Nicole McCloud, releasing several Billboard top 10 singles.

Here’s her reaction to the backlash (By they way, our original post was linked, and our super-smart commenters quoted!):

“I do want to let the public know that I am for sure not hiding who I am,” she insisted. As for why “X Factor” producers didn’t mention anything about her past singing career, she replied, “I really don’t know the answer to that. When I would ask that question, I would be told, ‘This is what’s important, this is how we want to do it.’

“I personally embrace my past, and hopefully with all the controversy, I’ll get a chance to speak out, because people — I would say ‘haters,’ is what I call them — don’t know my story. When you have children, it’s a no-brainer: You can’t go for everything you want to go for, and you let opportunities pass you by. I’m sure that had I not had children, maybe I would have reached my goal. But I’ve got three kids and seven grandkids, so I missed so many opportunities that I could have said yes to, that would have helped launch my career. ‘The X Factor,’ I mean, they know everything about my life, so they made a decision on how they wanted to put me out there. Was it a wrong decision? I don’t think so. I think they wanted to catch on the more intimate side of me, and let me do the talking as far as my career. And you know, if someone’s really interested and they search my name, they can find out anything they want to find out, anyways.”

Just like we suspected, Lillie had nothing to do with the lack of disclosure. Contestants have very little say in how the producers frame their backstory. But why did she audition using her birth name Lillie instead of her stage name?

As for that name, Lillie is in fact the name on her birth certificate, although she never billed herself as such until Simon Cowell (whom Lillie says she never met before, despite the aforementioned “Got Talent” connection) started doing so. “He just started calling me Lillie [the legal name on her documents], and I said, ‘Okay, I guess I’m Lillie, then,’” she recalls. “I didn’t intend to use my real name; the only people who know my real name are the bill collectors! But Simon went on ‘Chelsea Handler,’ and he mentioned ‘Lillie,’ and it just kind of took off from there.”

I’m surprised she didn’t speak up. Unless she thought a new (old) name would give her a fresh start, and that viewers wouldn’t be the wiser. I still find the name change strange.

Lillie says her heart was never in dance music, but it was semi-lucrative, allowing her to snag high-profile gigs in the United States and abroad. In 2004 she quit the business in frustration, moving to Slovakia to live with her boyfriend at the time. But she couldn’t stay away from singing for long. She began gigging around Europe. When Lillie moved back to the states (she lives in Orlando now) she decided to audition for X Factor.

“I was following [the show] for the last couple years. It seemed to be the one place that would really reach out and give someone like me an opportunity. It just seemed like it was the place to go. I was so happy that such a show would allow someone my age a chance to be noticed, to really branch into this career properly. My sister was pushing me, and I finally said, ‘Okay, I’ll try it; I have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.”

She’s a Christian now. Her audition song, a powerful cover of CeCe Winan’s “Alabaster Box” is the type of music she’d like to pursue. Lillie describes her sound as “Mary Mary vs. Bruno Mars….Although I’m in the secular world singing secular music, my objective is to go into gospel, but gospel as it’s never been known before. I’m not going take off my catsuit if I feel like wearing it. I want to show the young kids that you can have a party and really get down with gospel. So the type of music I’m hearing in my head is something that hasn’t been released before. Hopefully I’ll find a producer that can get in and unravel my thoughts, and get it onto tape.”

So. There you go.

  • Alberto Clavaud

    This season seems like the producers were searching for people who were recording artist from the past to do a great show, everyone has a story of being singing somewhere before.

  • Denise

    I think this is 10% Lilli/Nicole playing the game and 90% XF trying to manipulate the viewers. As I have said before, previous experience doesn’t bother me as long as the show is up front about it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003345355267 Caio Fernandes

    Seems like after last season cast full of amateurs/wannabe singers, they went the opposite side this season searching for profissional/experienced singers, with its not a problem for me as long they don´t act like they are a totally new discovery, that they came from nowhere, judges acting surprised etc. Thats one of the reasons that I´m tired of auditions and I just can´t watch it anymore.

  • Larc

    XF is probably far more interested in staying afloat at this stage than in conducting a legitimate singing competition. But having a show that isn’t actually what it’s claimed to be could be a major factor in sinking it.

  • usedtobelucy

    “As for that name, Lillie is in fact the name on her birth certificate, although she never billed herself as such until Simon Cowell
    (whom Lillie says she never met before, despite the aforementioned “Got
    Talent” connection) started doing so. “He just started calling me
    Lillie [the legal name on her documents], and I said, ‘Okay, I guess I’m
    Lillie, then,’” she recalls. “I didn’t intend to use my real name; the
    only people who know my real name are the bill collectors! But Simon
    went on ‘Chelsea Handler,’ and he mentioned ‘Lillie,’ and it just kind of took off from there.””

    Well, that’s about as obvious a piece of very very premeditated lying on Simon’s part as you could get, isn’t it? What an arrogant, conniving, but not really very intelligent jerk he is when it comes to things like this. It’s like he can’t even conceive of the truth being of any value. ….

    (He and his cheater girlfriend definitely deserve each other. Feel sad about the child they’ll be really bad examples for, though.)

  • Erlie

    My take on this Lillie story is that Simon start talking her birth name and she go along with it. Having said that, should I be critical about how she handled this issue? After all, the economy is still in a deep hole. She need to find a living and X Factor open that door for her. I don’t blame her. So let it be and hope she goes far into this competition and find a job thereafter. Good luck Lillie.

  • steve2013

    100% agree i dont care about previous experience aslong as the show is up front about it & doesnt try to hide it

  • Kariann Hart

    What an arrogant, conniving, but not really very intelligent jerk he is when it comes to things like this.
    Exactly. Simon wants people talking about X-Factor even in negative terms. She didn’t tell the truth. How many get the opportunity to be on stage with Mick Jagger. She got her exposure, now please give some one else a chance. This is bad for the show.

  • Ronnie D

    Even with all of her past “success” she still didn’t have a successful career in music. I have never heard of her. Probably still won’t go anywhere since she is a little long in the tooth now.

  • Amy Beth

    I totally believe that the show manipulates both the audience and the contestants. But with respect to having to use Lillie because it’s on her birth certificate, that’s silly. Do we really think it said Astro on his birth certificate?

  • taptap

    ‘My take on this Lillie story is that Simon start talking her birth name and she go along with it.’

    It’s not hard to assume that’s the case, since that’s exactly what she said in the quotes above.

  • chloe18

    Eh i get what she’s saying about the name thing. I go by a nickname which has a different spelling than my full name and while all my friends and family call me by it I never ask my professors or people who I’ll be working with for a short time to call me by my nickname. Since I only see them once a week and they may have 100s of students I don’t want there to be any confusion when they see my full name on all the documents and not make the connection that it’s me and lose possible participation points. If Simon knows her by that name it makes sense that she would stick with it so she would create an impression with him.

  • chloe18

    I agree they shouldn’t try to hide the experience of the contestants but ultimately I really don’t care. Simon did this for years on idol, I think it’s just his thing. Pretty much all reality shows manipulate the truth in some way so I think you have to take all these shows with a grain of salt and not take them too seriously.

  • chloe18

    I agree and that’s exactly what I do in my professional life and school. My professors know me by my full name on the roster and I just go with it.

  • Karen C

    If the performances are good and the contestants are well liked, I think it could help the show. Most of the top 10 of S7 of Idol had a lot of prior experience, including a few with former major label contracts, and I thought that was one of the best seasons they had because of the level of the performances. This could help the X Factor also.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    “‘The X Factor,’ I mean, they know everything about my life, so they made a decision on how they wanted to put me out there. Was it a wrong decision? I don’t think so.”

    So Lillie/Nicole supports the deception? OK, then. lol

    “And you know, if someone’s really interested and they search my name, they can find out anything they want to find out, anyways.”

    This is totally bogus, because since Nicole’s name was changed to Lillie, anyone searching for Lillie McCloud would not have found out “anything they want to find out, anyways” about Nicole McCloud.

  • Listening

    It doesn’t matter if you’re a little long in the tooth the public just has to buy into it. The perfect example of that fact is Susan Boyle.

    Now I didn’t buy into Susan Boyle b/c I thought she was just an okay/mediocre singer but so many others did.

    I think Lillie can easily be very successful in her genre which is gospel, her voice is fantastic. And its very accepting of reality show contestants they don’t seem to associate a stigma to having been on tv.

  • jobeob987

    Um, not buying the name change thing. How easy would it have been for Lillie/Nicole to say, “BTW, I prefer to be called Nicole.” How easy would it have been for Lillie/Nicole to put Nicole on her application? I mean, it’s not like she signed a legal document just to stand in front of the judges. Or did she? I don’t know, however, this comes off as damage control — Just be honest, girl! No one will fault you for honesty. Another thing: I don’t appreciate being called a “hater” just because I noticed a discrepancy in her story. Not a smart move, imo.

    I’m also wondering if her time is over on the show since she’s been interviewed. Are contestants normally interviewed this early in the season?

  • http://www.mjsbigblog.com/ mjsbigblog

    My story is the same as yours–I’m called by a different name than my given name. Except I ALWAYS correct people, no matter how brief our encounter.

    My given name doesn’t even register with me, which is why I have no problem setting people straight. That’s why I found her attitude really peculiar.

  • Karen C

    Yeah, others have used stage names on these shows. On Idol, but Lauren Aliana and Michael Johns used those names which are stage names on the show, and not their birth names. I’m sure there were more. I think Bo Bice is a stage name too.

  • Ari

    I think the questions need to be asked to Simon and the other producers about why they do this year after year. Are they afraid that the contestants will look like ‘plants’ – W already have horrible auditioners that are often actors (and who no one really wants to see these days)…Honesty is the best policy as this stuff always comes out. I also would assume the application asks questions about previous TV experiences, professional singing, record contracts etc. Lying on those can often get you booted…Its the producers that edit the show and the interviews and decide what to air. But as happened before, Im sure in a live show, something will be slipped in. I actually just took XF off my DVR. I may give it one more shot when the live shows start, but for now, Im just not interested.

  • Ari

    or more interested in having a winner with a head start – someone theyd have a better chance with making a star. And while there have been some successes on XF in other countries, lets realize that 1D was a fluke…But aside from Susan Boyle who was on Got Talent, I dont think any XFactors have taken 50 year olds and turned them into major stars. Its usually a boy or girl winner (or men and women as we like to say) or someone 28 who is considered ‘old’. Just the fact that the over category starts at 25 is a joke (as some of those could go on Idol). And I actually rather have a Voice format where everyone gets their shot – Why segregate them. I thought one thing they might have changed is have 20 finalists and then let the mentors choose the 4 best they want whatever their genders or ages. Guess that would be too much like The Voice but another thing they do right.

  • Ari

    I think Simon wants someone who has a greater potential to ‘make it’ since XF in the US has produced a lot of duds. The entertainment value of the new judges seems to be dead in the water already…and not sure giving SImon and Demi the same categories they had last year is a way to shake things up either

  • Ari

    Cuz talking negatively about Idol all over the press really worked for them. Unless they have a contestant that is so outstanding or a performance that goes viral on social media, no one is going to care about the X Factor. Especially with The Voice starting up too. The new fall shows are going to premiere as well giving XF even more competition

  • Karen C

    I think though the Over category is taken far more serously in the US. I’ve watched some of the UK version, and many of them are joke acts. I could see someone 50 or so being taken seriously enough in the US to win. Actually, I think at 37, Tate was one of if not the oldest winner, at least compared to the UK version.

  • stardust462

    I would love to see one of these shows take only people who used to have a recording contract, but never had their big break. Or any break at all. Maybe they had bad management, or had the wrong timing. Just come out and tell us what these people did before. It’s all about honesty. I don’t think most people are annoyed that there are plants, it’s that the producers are lying about them.

  • ptslittlecomment

    It is possible that Simon did start the cover up, maybe even probable, given his manipulative history. But I agree with MJ in that it seems Ms. McCloud would have corrected him out of pride in her accomplishments if nothing else.

    Rachel Potter also seems to be taking the “just go with the flow ” approach to the omission of professional history.

    Michael Buckley ?@buckhollywood 12 Sep
    Bartender/Broadway star ;-) same thing right @therachelpotter – Nailing it!!!! #xfactor CRYING!

    Rachel Potter ?@therachelpotter 12 Sep
    @buckhollywood HAHA guess were not talking about it!

  • mr_BootyLuver

    She’s had quite a few hits in her time she even made the UK top 50 with New York Eyes, which i have. personally she’s probably the most professional act they have had on the show as she’s been recording continuously despite the kids. She’s been signed to 3 major labels so she knows the ropes. I think its unfair 1. how they told her story 2. she’s tasted fame and is getting in the way of others 3. She’s got a great voice but i feel she’s only going on for publicity so she can land a deal, nothing wrong with that but the public don’t like being lied to or told half a story.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_About_Me_(Nicole_album)

  • mr_BootyLuver

    Lillie aka Nicole has had her big break………….

  • mr_BootyLuver

    i have to disagree its about finding new talent not people who have had record deals and have charted on numerous occasions around the world. i thnk those who have had previous deals should be banned from the show. anyway depsite how good a singer she is a 54yr old granny isn’t going to win Xfactor USA, not gonna happen.

  • mr_BootyLuver

    what a baby got to do with anything we are talking about Lillie mcCloud……..

  • mr_BootyLuver

    you won’t have as you look about 12yrs old she had hits in the mid 80′s and has released 4 albums all on major labels Portrait, Sony and Epic so she’s hardly someone who never made it in the industry

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicole_McCloud

  • mr_BootyLuver

    Susan Boyle hadn’t recorded anything in her life unlike Ms Liille aka Nicole.

  • Ronnie D

    I look 12 yrs old? Wow thanks. I was born in 1974. lol I grew up listening to 80′s music on the radio and still havent heard of this chick.

  • Guest

    Being a recording artist in the past doesn’t mean ANYTHING! I have friends who were once Disney stars in the 80s or appeared on a Top 50 in an Amsterdam indie dance chart or tried to be pop stars in Japan & are dirt broke or struggling or never became a somebody. There are many people like Lillie out there – I am in the entertainment industry so I meet many of these people who had one “performance” or “musical” or TV show of the past that could sound on paper “awesome” but it never is good enough for them to get past the door or a role or a gig; people only want to see whose hot or can create buzz at the moment. How many backup singers do you think MJ or Britney have had in the past? Probably over 1000 for MJ and over 200 for Britney – do you know any of these backup singers by name? Believe me. Means nothing!

  • http://MaximizingMarriage.com/ Sebs | MaximizingMarriage.com

    Excellent voice!

  • jane

    I don’t really care if she’s released recordings before. Honestly, who has ever heard of Nicole McCloud? Anyone on here before a google search? I didn’t think so. Even though she has recorded, it doesn’t mean she’s found a lot of success in the music business. I hope she gets the break she’s been looking for here — her voice is outstanding!

  • Guest

    That’s funny, because my given name is pronounced one way, but MOST people pronounce it another. It used to bother my mother, but I never worried about it. The briefer the encounter, the least likely I am to correct someone. Secretly, when I do correct folks, it’s because I value them and want them to remain my life. Romantic interests, potential employers, interesting people on a plane, etc, all fall into this category.

  • Jason Rodriguez

    Fraud!