X Factor Plant Watch, AKNU, Josh Levi, Millie Thrasher

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Simon Cowell would have you believe that he’s plucking youth out of obscurity in order to turn them into stars, via his competitive singing show, X Factor. But behind those humble backstories, there’s more than meets the eye.  Check out the resumes of three of last night’s contestants.

The trio of boys, AKNU, that introduced themselves as growing up in the hood, and holding middle class jobs like car salesmen and youth worker. But as it turns out, the boys have a long resume. Here’s a short bio:

AKNU (pronounced A-New). It stands for “A Kind Never Understood”. The trio is heavily talented writing and producing their own music along with choreographing and playing instruments. There performances are full of dance, acrobatics and edgy vocals. AKNU has been featured on MTV and in Italian Vogue, Ebony, and Vanity Fair magazines. They are currently working on their debut album.

Check out their Facebook page. They also reportedly have a connection to Michael Jackson and were supposed to open for him on the ill-fated “This is It” tour.

Check out this cover of “We Found Love”

AKNU’s X Factor Audition, “Valerie”

Fourteen year old Josh Levi didn’t just plop into Los Angeles from Houston TX to make his dreams come true singing “Come and Get it” on X Factor. He was well on his way. Josh aka Joshua Bolden had a recurring role on Friday Night Lights as Darius Merriweather. He also starred in Debbie Allen’s musical “Twist” Here’s Joshua’s bio:

JOSH LEVI, a native Houstonian, is an accomplished singer/songwriter, actor, and dancer. He personifies the true meaning of a “triple threat”. He is a trained dancer in many styles of dance and has graced countless stages across the country.

Josh began singing at age five. In fact his first original song was performed for his younger sister’s kindergarden graduation. His professional acting career at age nine, landing a recurring role on the NBC’s hit series “Friday Night Lights. Josh played Darius Merriweather along Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Taylor Kitsch, and Jurnee Smollett. He also garnered rave reviews for starring as “Pistol” in Debbie Allen’s production of “Twist an American Musical”, in Los Angeles.

In order to keep his music career on the fast track, Josh Levi began training vocally and working on music covers and original music with the production duo, the Invaders. He permanently relocated to Los Angeles in 2013, immediately demanding the attention of some of L.A.’s top producers and songwriters.

Recently Josh starred in a feature film, “The Next Dance.” He worked alongside Jonathan “Lil J” McDaniels (recording artist, Thats so Raven) , Cindy Herron (enVouge), Sabrina Brian (Cheetah Girls), and Brandon Smith (Sonny with a Chance, So Random, Let it Shine).

Josh is also working on his EP/mixtape; currently “untitled”. He hopes to release his music to his current and new fans soon.

This triple threat, while having fun pursuing his dream, maintains balance by staying focused on his goals and pleasing his fans. JOSH LEVI is the perfect package, the next Pop & R & B sensation.

Josh’s X Factor audition.

Here’s Josh covering Miguel’s Adorn

And, Millie Thrasher is more than a 14 year old student from Birmingham, AL who wowed the judges with a cover of Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake,” according to

Birmingham’s Millie Thrasher, 14, appeared here in musicals such as “Seussical Junior,” “Home for the Holidays,” “Merry Memories” and “School House Rock Live, Jr.” She’s living in Los Angeles now, trying her luck at film and TV.

Thrasher’s resume includes childhood cheerleading with ACE All-Stars of Alabama, a spot on the lineup of 2011′s One2One tornado benefit in Linn Park, and movie roles in independent films such as “The Magic Clover.”

In 2012, Thrasher was a member of Girl Squad — a dance-pop trio with Lexis Watkins and Maddie Simpson — and appeared with them on a YouTube series, “America’s Most Talented School.”

Here’s Millie singing “These Boots are Made for Walking” on “America’s Most Talented School.”

 
  • MichaelG (MikhailXO)

    Oh my…MORE plants, Simon?

    XFactor is uber-planty this season. It’s almost comical to watch as the plants try so hard to appear humble and amateur. Like Stacy mascara-tears from season one.

  • Stooch

    got no issue with a “Resume” as long as you talk about it and make it known

  • http://www.jstamers.com/ Jordan Seltzer

    Who cares?? None of these people are household names! They all want their big break!

  • all_sabrina

    We might as well call this “Stacyitis Syndrome”

  • Esqt

    exactly!

  • Mateja Praznik

    Does any of these have a recording contract? And if not, what’s the problem?

  • Anny_nanny

    To be honest, the first trio was awful, and I don’t remember the last girl.

  • w-oed

    so i guess danie geimer is an actual contestant that has no previous showbiz gigs ?poor her with all these people having so much experience and skills she is going to be at a disadvantage

  • ladymctech

    I don’t care about a resume, either, but it seems that many contestants with any sort of resume don’t get very far on some of these shows, anyway.

  • thedeviledadvocate

    Simon has so many plants on the Xfactor this season it is beginning to look like a garden party. Next thing we know, Ricky Nelson’s twin boys (Gunnar and Matthew) will be trying out for the overs.

  • Bum Cuban

    Most of last season was cast from within the industry anyways. Carly Rose and others had an agent, who hopefully got them above the contestant scale pay grade.

    XF is such a dishonest mess from even before the first episode aired, and went on to lower itself repeatedly after it did, (remember, “Stereo Hoggz, you are the best band in the world tonight!” when only one of them had a working mic and none of them had the choreography down?)

    Its an ugly farce, which is exactly the way SImon wants it. Dont be surprised if there is already someone pre-selected for a Frankie Cocozza-style TMZ-headline grabbing booze, coke n’ slags meltdown. Simon is only ever capable of putting out the same show he did last season.

  • Listening

    Umm i’m sorry but their plants aren’t good they’re just okay especially the little kids. And AKNU are dated, their dance moves were repetitive and kind of awkward. Oh and only one of them can sing. The other two barely sang.

  • Amy Beth

    I have no doubt that many of the contestants, if not technicaly professional entertainers because they can’t make a living at it yet, are “professional auditioners”. It wouldn’t surprise me if much of the eventual top acts already know each other from the audition circuit.

  • Libralee

    I thought Carlos was amazing! He sure has a beautiful warble in his voice!

  • Dewayne Boyd

    LOL at calling Millie a plant. So she was a cheerleader in a group no one has ever heard and was in local theater? So then basically everybody’s a plant unless they have only sung into their hairbrush in their bedroom. Good luck finding a lot of good singers that way.

  • WestiesRule

    Simon will do anything to get an audience.

  • Jake W.

    I agree. Calling Millie a plant is really stressing it.

  • taylor

    These “plants” don’t have current major record label deals and most are still working on their debut albums. I’ve never heard of any of them. If they end up winning, this will be their chance to make it. There are thousands of kids out there right now with these kinds of resumes looking for their big breaks, I have several friends living in LA right now, building up their resumes. One was on the Glee Project, but didn’t make it to the selected group. One was in the Target promo commercial for Justin Timberlake’s album release.

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

    The problem, as it has been explained over and over again, isn’t that that kids with experience are looking for a break. It’s the way their backstories are shaped to make them look like they just fell off a turnip truck.

    In all my years covering Idol and other competitive reality shows, this is the thing that irks fans–when the producers aren’t up front about an artist’s background.

    Simon wants experienced semi-professionals. Probably because they’re easier to work with, and far more entertaining. But he wants to make it look as if he’s plucking these kids out of obscurity. Not so.

  • taylor

    It’s not a problem for me. Having a resume that includes some acting gigs or some cheerleader show is hardly something that most people outside of the bubble would get worked up about. Most viewers just want to be entertained, they don’t care if some teenager has been on Broadway or been in a cheer contest on TV before. That just means they are talented.
    It’s a singing show, but it’s also reality tv. Idol and The Voice are the same. They are all going to work things to make them more interesting for the viewers at home. In the end, it’s all about the ratings and the advertising dollars. That’s the bottom line on all these shows, every single one of them.

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

    Welp, For me, it’s fun to pull back the curtain on these shows.

  • shell29

    The thing that bugs me about it is that inevitably it’s the contestants that get blamed more than the producers as if they’re responsible for how their ‘backstories’ are presented to the audience.

  • usedtobelucy

    No problem. We’ll just change the name of the genre to “Faux Reality Shows.”

    Or make X Factor into a game show: “Guess Which Backstory Is Closest to Pure Fiction.”

    Unfortunately, I have a sneaking suspicion that Simon is correct when he surmises that the tv audience would have less commitment to their favorites if they knew of a fairly lengthy show-biz resume. We all say we wouldn’t. But emotion, not reason, rules these things, and I think there’s something awfully primal about that came-from-nowhere-and-suddenly-rises-into-fame story. I still think the shows would be doable with the truth being told, but I’m pretty sure the emotional pull of some of the contestants would lessened somewhat — that would put at least a tiny ding in the ratings, I expect.

  • Amy Beth

    If you move to Hollywood to pursue a career in show biz, especially if you do it as a minor, that puts you in a different category than what the viewing audience thinks of as a true amateur.

    The audience is OK with kids who make All-State choir and get the lead in every school play. But once you have an agent and are home-schooled so you don’t miss auditions, you’re in a kind of reality show limbo. Not a true professional, but not a true amateur either.

  • taylor

    Nah, these kids are still amateurs. They are just talented, but are still in the position of having parents who can move to LA or New York (for Broadway jobs) to get them to the place where they need to be to move forward.

    The audience is OK with kids who do anything. From Idol: Skylar was in a couple of Broadway touring shows as a kid, Allison had already won some kind of singing contest and did work in acting, Archuleta had been a runner up on Star Search. The Idol audience didn’t care about the past experience these kids had.

    Now , the mark of an “true” amateur vs. an “almost” professional is if you are homeschooled or not? LOL
    I’ll have to let a whole group of my friends know they are in the category of semi-professionals since they are/were homeschooled. I know several people who were in musicals on Broadway as kids, who are now back in high school, starring in the school plays. I know several who moved to LA or NYC and now are back in their home towns going to highschool or now are in college. I know a couple of people on Broadway right now who didn’t go the homeschool route and a couple who did. There isn’t a clear set path to a professional career. It varies, depending on the kid, the parents, and economic factors.

  • Christopher Bee

    Well done putting it out there, it´s excatly why these backstories are manufactured by the producers. That´s why in my humble opinion the format doesn´t work. Honesty could and should be pulled out in front of the mass audience. Syco thinks we´re all that dumb.

    Besides that, Josh kills that Miguel song!

  • Christopher Bee

    That´s why called my initial comment as Backdish story. Not everybody who´s connected in the biz is a Symco Plant.
    But; just go to her Imdb Page, i hear Tonja Harding´s Mother complex all over again… and I´m from Europe.

    I´ve just reali(s)zed that u are following also the Aussie Xfactor. Thats nice, lets comment on the next show together.

  • Christopher Bee

    That´s why I´ve excatelly mentioned (researched) it. I´ve got some experience in my own life with that music biz stuff in Europe and Simon is British; so no wonders with me Syco is acting that peculiar.

  • Lexie O’Neill

    Even though they didn’t make it through, there was a girl from Disney in Drama Drama. She played Giggles in Teen Beach Movie. Just saying…

  • Mo

    The same can be said about the others…. Basically the same résumé to me. I’ve never heard of them either. None of them or truly plants to me.

  • Mo

    None of them are plants in my eyes. If revealing their résumé and it don’t jog my memory and I’m still like Who What then they are not plants. So its stressing it for all of them not just Millie to be fair.

  • Syed Baleegh Shah

    The 40 X decision was quite tough, the band of three brother AKNU should have been selected, they not only sang well but also danced well. Well Judges are the better persons to select or deselect a contestant, best of luck for the 40 selected and better luck next time the remaining 176 x 4 or 3 YES participants. It is a good show with energy and good songs!! Moreover this show shows confidence in the contestants like Yosselin Marquez, although she sang from her cell ohone but i admit that she was truthful once inquired, that’s should be the spirit….