X Factor 3 Rachel Potter is an Acclaimed Broadway Star

Here we go again! In the wake of last night’s revelation that  X Factor 3 hopeful, Lillie McCloud, wasn’t as unacquainted with show business as her backstory would lead you to believe, we have Rachel Potter.

She’s just a bartender in Nashville trying to fulfill her dream to be a country music star, according to her audition.

Except that thing where she has spent years on the Broadway stage, to much success and acclaim! Oops. Her performance of Queen’s “Somebody to Love” was more big voiced and dramatic, rather than country. Now I understand why.

Notice that the judges kind of dance around her experience without really addressing it as they quiz her before she sings.

“So you’re familiar with the music scene,” Demi coyly asks. “Yes ma’am. Sort of,” Rachel replies.

“So why do you need the X Factor?” Demi probes.

“Well, I’m 29. I’m not a spring chicken. When there’s a lot of 15 year olds getting record deals they may be overlooking a 29 year old.”

Broadway star yes. Spring chicken no. That’s why she’s on the X Factor. But again, the “Broadway Star” part is conveniently left out by producers.

Rachel played Peron’s Mistress in the 2012 revival of Evita, starring Ricky Martin. She made her Broadway debut as Wednesday in The Addams Family. She also played Glinda in the national tour of Wicked and was a Top 15 finalist on MTV’s Legally Blond: The Search for Elle Woods. Here’s her resume.

On You Tube she’s got scads of videos. She released an EP to iTunes called Live the Dream in 2012 and released a video of the title track. Yes, it’s a country tune, more or less. There are cameos from a slew of her Broadway pals, including Ricky Martin and Idol’s Constantine Maroulis.

I’ll give her credit for being sincere about wanting to sing country music. She’s been at it for at least a year now. It’s not as if she plucked a genre out of the air because she thought it would be easy.

Rachel and Constantine Maroulis sing “Barton Hollow” by the Civil Wars

Here she is, singing “Pulled” from the Addams Family

She appeared on the Today Show to sing a song written by Kathie Lee Gifford, called “Without You.” It’s an ode to adoptive moms.

During her stint in Evita, she performed “Hold On to Me,” a country ballad, from her EP, on CBS New York.

Follow Me!

mj santilli

Founder/Editor at mjsbigblog.com
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted.I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!
Follow Me!

  • ptslittlecomment

    My (former) Broadway friends who worked with her don’t buy the Nashville bartending line. She does regularly perform in clubs around Nashville, just as she did in NYC.
    And she was in her mid-20’s while in the Addams Family.

  • ptslittlecomment
  • steve2013

    People complain about the voice recruiting people that have had past in music industry atleast there honest & dont try & hide the fact

  • ptslittlecomment
  • Bugme Nomor

    The notion that she moved to Nashville to pursue a career in country music and is now working as a bartender is not unbelievable, even if she sometimes performs in clubs. Haley has a friend who moved from Chicago to LA who works as a server, yet still manages to work club gigs.

    The “Live the Dream” video was obviously shot on a budget. It consists of nothing but her and her friends. It’s a testament to her acting ability and the camera work/editing that she carries it off as well as she does.

    In addition to her age, Tate Stevens winning X-Factor last year and other country artists doing well in reality singing competitions (Kree) could have played a factor in her decision to audition.

  • Dewayne Boyd

    This backstory was not really that deceptive. She has never been a recording artist, and that is why people come on X Factor. They don’t come on X Factor to get Broadway gigs.

    Releasing your own EP without a record deal? Anyone can do that. That means literally nothing.

  • Bluebeat

    Never heard of her. I wish her the best of luck in the competition. She might add some spice into the show and whether she wins or loses, I hope she gets more exposure for participating. Seems like a great singer!

  • halo9125

    I don’t watch X Factor but recognized the name when MJ tweeted it last night. I think the issue at hand is, they are portraying her as a struggling artist trying to break into the industry, and she hardly falls into that category.

  • wordnerdarchie

    She has never been a recording artist

    But according to her own web site, she has. ;) She just doesn’t have one now.

    She was signed at 17 to contemporary Christian label Narrow Door Records. Though an opportunity she was certainly grateful for at the time, Rachel had no creative license on the “Come Back Home” record released in 2002.

  • jujubee22

    I knew her name and face were familiar but I just couldn’t place her and didn’t care enough to google….I just don’t know why xfactor (or any of these shows for that matter) aren’t just honest about this stuff…i don’t care that she has a background on Broadway, doesn’t disqualify her from the comnpetition or make her less worthy in my eyes…in the internet age its not like the contestants backgrounds don’t become immediately public anyway, and it often winds up hurting them in the long run when the show isn’t honest….in any event, I couldn’t even make it through the whole show last night. I don’t know what it is about the xfactor format but I just don’t like the US version at all…simon was entertaining on idol, on x factor he is just kinda creepy and annoying…demi and kelly are fun judges, but its not enough to keep my interest…I hate the constant cutting to the audience during the audition episodes…I dunno, it just doesn’t seem to work in the US

  • Q_3

    It is not like it is hard to find out what people have done in the past. Just reflects badly on the show.

    Idol is usually pretty good about revealing contestants backgrounds — for example Adam’s Wicked touring company experience was mentioned on the audition show. And The Voice doesn’t seem to have a problem revealing their contestants professional experience — Judith Hill’s backstory centered on her experience as a backup vocalist for Michael Jackson.

    But AGT and X-Factor must think their audiences do not have access to the internet.

  • waitingforthe1

    I find this to be much more disingenuous than Lille McCloud because Rachel’s experience/success is much more recent and tangible whereas Lillie’s was decades ago.

    I don’t really care either way though. I’ve only voted for one contestant on X-Factor and that was Janelle Garcia last year.

    P.S. if Live the Dream is an example of the music she’ll put out she won’t make it far. Talk about boring and cliche tripe.

  • Annatree

    I was watching last night and as soon as she came on a recognized the name so I google her.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    I think that the fact that Nicole changed her name to Lillie makes her attempt at deception just as disingenuous as Rachel’s.

  • Eilonwy_has_an_emu

    Eh, I think most viewers are mature enough to realize that “despairing Nashville bartender Rachel Potter,” “undiscovered Latino Carlos Olivera,” and “brilliant untouched grandmother Lillie McCloud” are not the same people as Broadway star Rachel Potter, Menudo member Carlos Olivera, and 1980s dance icon Nicole McCloud — any more than people think Hannah Montana is the real Miley Cyrus or think the live version of Josie & the Pussycats was a real garage band or think The Monkees were all playing together before they were on the teevee.

    These are roles being acted to make an entertaining TV show. As with Hannah Montana, if any of these people gains a sufficiently large audience, there’ll be an album or two recorded “in character.” Maybe around the fourth album in a contract (from an XFUSA alumni, riiiiiiight), there’ll be an album “by” the actor in his/her own identity.

    XFUSA is not a singing competition. It’s an entertainment program that uses the trappings of a singing competition to increase audience involvement, and that provides a launch pad for whatever act Cowell really wants to promote. (The careers of actual XFUSA winners last about as long as the relationships of The Bachelor’s winners.)

  • MichaelG (MikhailXO)

    Oh my, yet another. Not surprised really. We hear the story of her struggling, and the evident “awww sucks” persona … and a dubious Simon…THEN– Huh! –The BIG voice! And Simon gets the incredulous look…which quickly turns into a knowing grin. Yawn. I wish they would stop the antics.

  • jobeob987

    Sigh, even if she’s never had a recording contract, these shows don’t understand that their television audiences don’t like wringers. They like the idea of watching an unknown (like Carrie Underwood) being catapulted to stardom. I think it makes these shows look less credible when they try to pull stunts like this.

    I’ll give Rachel points for being good. She’s definitely charismatic and has a decent voice. Seems believably country too. BTW, no one and I mean no one can sing like The Civil Wars. Everybody else, step back, lol.

  • elliegrll

    They like the idea of watching an unknown (like Carrie Underwood) being catapulted to stardom

    That’s why they aren’t mentioning how successful these people have been. Simon is trying to go back to what worked for AI, the idea that these people just came off of the street, or that they are the normal boy or girl next door, and this is their one chance at making it big.

  • jobeob987

    True, but in this day and age of information at the click of a mouse, it’s ridiculously easy to Google or Youtube a contestant. Way too easy.

  • Ari

    I think it does such a disservice to the show and the viewers to lie about this stuff. No one will begrudge them if youre honest. At least The View is honest about this stuff. Its a better story to think its someone like Carrie from a small town who has never been on an airplane. People love those rags to riches stories but they dont happen much anymore because tehre are so many opportunities now with Youtube and all…Plus the singing shows lost t heir initial stigma. Everyone wants TV time in the hopes they will be (re) discovered. Not only Stacy but remember Carly Rose having been on Broadway too? Guess Simon doesnt hate the Broadway voices he used to. Another reason to not watch the show.

  • Eilonwy_has_an_emu

    They like the idea of watching an unknown (like Carrie Underwood) being catapulted to stardom.

    Exactly! That’s why each of these fictional aspiring singer characters has an appealing “come from nowhere — undiscovered” back story. Cowell is aware that audiences love that.

    Having the aspiring singers played by pros simply provides a better audience experience (higher-quality performances, more consistency). It also works better for the record label, since the pros know how to behave in the studio and PR process. Also, since the pros will be doing any post-show recording “in character,” that’ll eliminate disputes about artistic vision. It’s the pro’s job to record whatever the label deems appropriate for the fictional character’s look, sound, and market.

  • Ari

    Well just because youre on Broadway doesnt mean you can get signed to a record deal..and country is a whole different genre. There are successful Broadway stars that release (vanity) albums that dont go anywhere except for their core fans. Still, there’s no reason to hide the truth. In this age of the internet, everything from an arrest record to a former singing contract will come out. If the rules are that you cant be signed to a current contract, then its fine…Just admit that youve been trying and you never reached the level of success

  • Ari

    No, but Broadway and professional onstage experience give you an advantage. Its different than someone singing in the shower or into a hairbrush. Just be honest. Youve done Broadway but your dream has always been to be a recording artist. Plus if you originate a role, youve recorded a studio recording. Carly Rose had also been on Broadway. Its an advantage – look at Cassadee…(and even other Voice winners like Javier..experience matters)

  • Ari

    Plus McCloud if she broke out would have been a great story for X Factor and something really different from other shows. A 54 year old grandmother who put her dream on hold to raise a family and can succeed in the business because she looks half her age and can still be sexy. They need a Susan Boyle moment…A real person who has had this hidden talent and dream and suddenly auditions and blows everyone out of the water. And the judges’ cliches are just too much – everyone isnt a star. Read The Daily Beast article critiquing the show and the judges. And Paulina seems to be a huge fail. You can barely understand her and she still hasnt said one intelligent thing. Demi really is the breakout star and hopefully on the live shows, she will sit next to Simon..I dont know why they keep messing around with the seating. Plus its obvious theyre splicing all these cities and auditions into one episode. So much for continuity. Im not watching until the live shows when I will give it another chance. The editing just seems so old and the bad auditions and judges laughing is so 2001

  • Ari

    I dont think most viewers realize that…and most viewers arent reading this blog…But then again, XF doesnt have that many viewers. People like rooting for the underdogs and like the idea of someone coming from no where and seeing the transformation to a big star. If you really think about it, some of these people seem too polished at a first audition and thats usually when the lightbulb should go off

  • Ari

    2 episodes and already 3 contestants with past professional singing experience that werent acknowledged. If it gets picked up by more mainstream media, it will not be good for Simon. But maybe if you want to improve your chances of having a winner that can hit it big, you want to stack your deck. Its ironic and silly for the beginning to show all the mega stars that X Factor has created when most of them were from the UK and none from the US version. I think Guy Sebastian from Australia is a big star there- I have his music because I have a friend in Australia who turned me on to him (he even had a duet with Jordin Sparks and is now a judge on the X Factor there)

  • Ari

    That plus it improves the chances of getting a winner who will be successful…But its stupid to think that this information wont come out. Only 2 episodes have aired and look how many of these are coming out. You cant hide in the media age. I hope MJ has posted these on social media like Twitter too. And havent all 3 of these made it to the top 12. Hmm. Simon knows what he’s doing..its just probably not going to work…THe more interesting thing is what the future holds for X Factor. Will it get a season 4? And what happens to Idol if ratings fall even more – isnt this the last year of Ryan’s contract? And he has a major deal with Comcast/NBCU

  • fuzzywuzzy

    I think that many realize that there are “images” being created for these contestants to optimize the “cinderella” aspect of their grab at the brass ring, but I think a lot of viewers often develop a genuine belief that what viewers see on television (or in interviews, social media) is not a public persona, but indicative of the “real” person. These days, social media promotes even more personal investment in any celeb, fostering a feeling of actually “knowing” the celeb, perhaps especially those on these “reality” singing shows, and that works in favor of the producers of the shows. XFUSA is an entertainment show, but the way that it’s promoted is a search for an ‘unknown’ singer who will be vaulted into stardom by winning the competition and the $$$/recording contract prize.

  • Amy Beth

    Before she was a Broadway star, she was a Disney theme park star. If you ever went to Disney World and attended a theatrical production of one of the Disney movies, chances are you saw her. She was Belle in the park’s live version of Beauty and the Beast.

  • Holden17C

    I noticed a point someone made on another board: Rachel Potter is probably a member of Actor’s Equity, and as such, whenever she performs under the name “Rachel Potter,” she must be paid at least Equity scale, regardless if she’s on TV or stage.
    I don’t if this info in accurate, but if it is, Rachel Potter would be receiving a salary to appear on the X Factor, which doesn’t seem right.
    Does anyone here know about union rules for performers?

  • Holden17C

    I have no problem with pros or semi-pros appearing on these shows. If they are in between gigs and they’re looking for new jobs, that’s fine. I just don’t like the fake “plucked from obscurity” routine. Spare us the B.S.

    And just for the record, I don’t buy the “she only sang at home for her family” bit I keep hearing about Danielle Bradbery. That girl has state fair national tour written all over her — and that’s ok. Just don’t lie about it.

  • Bugme Nomor

    I don’t think it applies. Unions have to have a collective bargaining agreement in place before they can demand wages for their members. A different union would represent TV actors and there’s another one for musical performers. All fall under the AFL-CIO umbrella. But unions have cried in the past about reality tv and its lack of unionization. That apparently extends beyond the people who appear on camera because the shows rely on non-unionized production companies.

  • Incipit

    “…an Idol hopeful doesn’t start seeing a regular paycheck until they make it to the Top 10 or Top 12 (depending on the season). That’s when each finalist is required to join the performers’ union AFTRA (The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists). As members of AFTRA, contestants must be paid the minimum hourly rate for a TV performer. AFTRA’s last reported minimum wage rate was $921 per hour.

    From a whole story about what Idol contestants can earn that was written on May 7th, 2013. Here’s the LINK to the story.

    But I don’t have cites for this – so caveat emptor:

    In the personal release that Idol requires when they audition, they must declare that they don’t belong to AFTRA or another performing arts guild or, if they do, agree that their Idolperformances are not professional appearances covered by a labor agreement.

    That completely changes when they become one of the final 12: Then they must join AFTRA, which requires a one-time initiation fee of $1,300. Dues are based on annual AFTRA earnings: If they make less than $2,000, they pay a minimum of $63.90.

    AFTRA’s industrywide contracts required the producers to start paying the performers at least the minimum $921 each time they appear on a one-hour show. In addition, they receive residual payments when a show they’re in as a finalist is aired again or is sold via DVDs or other media.

    The producers must contribute to union-sponsored health care and retirement accounts.

    The important part is – other contestants have told us – the finalists are required to pay to join AFTRA – and Idol is required to pay them scale for TV appearances.

  • ptslittlecomment

    Yes, she could be a bartender, but the people I know, who know her, say she probably has way too many good connections for that. and she also likely has planned better than that. According to her Broadway World page, she has been planning this country music career move for quite sometime. Even keeping a guitar in her dressing room to write songs when she is not on stage. An she certainly has CMT’s support and attention, with her own page on their website. http://rachelpottermusic.com/.

    And she talks just a bit about her plans to move to Nashville here http://www.statedmag.com/articles/interview-rachel-potter-broadway-actress-country-musician.html
    But you are right , she could be tending bar…between all the gigs she seems to have had lined up not only in TN , but across the South… anything is possible.

  • ptslittlecomment

    You are right. But she has at least gotten the attention of the CMT folks as they have featured online previously.


    And she talked about how she raised the money for her music here.

    “Not wanting to waste valuable time, Rachel took to Kickstarter to leverage the support of her fans to bring new her music to life. “I went online and did a plea video and asked for $10,000. On New Year’s Eve we hit $20,000—the night that Addams Family closed.” When the money raised surpassed the goal, that’s when the fun began. “My promise was that we would do a music video if we got extra money.”And complete with celebrity cameos, she did just that.

  • ptslittlecomment

    She has to be a member of Equity, no doubt about that. She doesn’t have to (yet) be a member of AFTRA, but that will come.

  • ptslittlecomment

    And Rachel’s level of success on Broadway far exceeds that of Adam’s. This was a woman who had two supporting roles back to back in NYC, after a National Tour in a lead. She has been on the Today Show where she was introduced by name to sing one of the host’s songs. She is well known in the Broadway community.
    She has connections elsewhere as well.
    A simple acknowledgement of this fact would have gone a long way.

  • ptslittlecomment

    After thinking about it, I have come to understand Simon’s dilemma about Rachel. After years of deriding Broadway singers as something not to be taken seriously, how could he acknowledge that one of his best and brightest this season was also one of Broadway’s rising stars?

  • Landon Cox

    I think at this point Simon would be glad to have anyone talking about X Factor

  • Kariann Hart

    “I think it does such a disservice to the show and the viewers to lie about this stuff.” (Ari)

    Does Simon really believe people won’t find out? I just don’t like the workings of this show. Simon still irritates me.

  • A_K_A

    Gotta say… she is the brunette Britney who can sing and not 5150 cuckoo… just sayin.

  • A_K_A

    Totally theatrical singer, stage singer… mehhhh. Needs to be bit more hoarse for country or any other genre.

  • philliesfan136

    All I can say is that she is fine as hell, can sing her sweet ass off and is using every opportunity at her disposal. Who of us, would not do the same, to achieve our dreams. Nobody should hate on her for pursuing her dreams ….. we all have them …. she’s pursuing hers. Go kick some ass Rachel, and enjoy the ride.

  • Kimberly Preston

    She has a few albums on iTunes. Loved the rendition of Queen, but not the albums.

  • Clint Jurgens

    Got that right. And I suspect the deception about her experience originates entirely with the producers, not her. She seemed downright uncomfortable telling that story.

  • zobva

    Nobody is forcing you to watch. Just change the channel if it bothers you that much. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

  • Nicole Barrett

    Now it all makes sense – why they let her through last night despite having an awful audition, the worst of the night. I thought it was because she was country and they needed someone to represent that genre. I think her making it though to the top 4 last night was unfair given this news.