The first season of The X Factor was being broadcast on Fox. The series started airing on September 21, 2011, with the live shows starting on October 25, 2011 and ended on December 22, 2011, with Melanie Amaro winning.
The "Boys" category was mentored by L.A. Reid. Contestants in this category were males aged 12 to 29. The eight candidates were Skyelor Anderson, Brian Bradley, Marcus Canty, Tim Cifers, Brennin Hunt, Phillip Lomax, Chris Rene, Nick Voss. Reid chose the following:
Christopher "Chris" Rene (born December 25, 1982) is an American singer-songwriter, musician and producer from Santa Cruz, California. He had been in a band called Diversion and also had a solo career, including the album Soul'd Out. Chris auditioned for the first season of The X Factor USA with one of his original compositions "Young Homie" and was one of the finalists during season one, with L.A. Reid as his mentor. He finished third overall in the competition, behind winner Melanie Amaro and runner-up Josh Krajcik. He is most popular in New Zealand, with his single "Young Homie" reaching number one in the New Zealand charts.
Marcus Canty (born January 22, 1991) is from Bowie, Maryland, where he currently lives. During his audition, he sang "I Wish" by Stevie Wonder. His musical influences include Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, Boyz II Men, Mary J. Blige, Monica, Bobby Brown, and Whitney Houston. At judges' houses, he performed "All My Life" by K-Ci & JoJo. On the November 23 results show, he landed in the bottom 3 with Lakoda Rayne and LeRoy Bell, and had to sing off against Bell. He was saved by having more votes than Bell due to the judges being deadlocked. The following week, on December 1, he landed in the bottom 3 again along with Drew and Astro, and had to sing off against Drew. Simon Cowell voted to eliminate him, but Nicole Scherzinger, Paula Abdul and his mentor L.A. Reid voted to save him. Then, on December 8, he landed in the bottom 2 yet again, along with Rachel Crow. The judges went into deadlock for a second time, and he was saved by having more votes than Crow. Canty was eliminated by receiving the least number of votes, taking fourth place overall.
Brian Bradley (born August 26, 1996) known by his stage name Astro, is from Brownsville, New York, where he currently lives. He has said that "Astro" is short for "the astronomical kid" He impressed the judges at his audition in Newark, New Jersey by performing his original composition "Stop Looking at My Mom". It was described as 'Brilliant' because he made the rap himself and he performed like an actual rapper. He landed in the bottom two on November 17 with Stacy Francis, but was saved by judges L.A. Reid, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell. He was eliminated on December 1, along with Drew, after landing in the bottom 3 with Drew and Marcus Canty and receiving the fewest amount of votes. He came in 7th place overall. However later on 50 Cent came on to rap and Astro came out and started rapping with the rapper.
Weeks after being eliminated, Astro was featured on the UK single version of Cher Lloyd's "Want U Back" and also signed a record deal with Epic Records who he is expected to release his debut album through. He then also starred in an episode of CBS's hit show Person of Interest. On 29 October, Astro released his first song called "Deadbeat" which talks about what his dad had told him about life.
Phillip Lomax (born August 4, 1989) age 23, an actor from Seattle. He performed "Don't Stop the Music" in front of Rihanna during judges' houses. He was eliminated by Reid after singing "I'm a Believer" on the first live show.
The "Girls" category was mentored by Simon Cowell. Contestants in this category are females aged 12 to 29. The eight candidates were: Melanie Amaro, Simone Battle, Rachel Crow, Caitlin Koch, Jazzlyn Little, Drew Ryniewicz, Tiah Tolliver, Tora Woloshin. Cowell chose five as follows:
Melanie Ann Amaro (born June 26, 1992 in Florida) was sent along with her two brothers to Tortola, British Virgin Islands to live with her grandparents when she was only three years old. She currently lives in Sunrise, Florida with her family. Amaro was initially not chosen to be part of the Top 16, but Cowell surprised her at her Florida home and revealed that she would be added to the finals to form a Top 17. She was announced as the winner during the final on December 22.
Simone Battle (born June 17, 1989) is from Los Angeles, California, where she currently lives. In the first live show, she performed "Just Be Good to Me" and was one of two acts eliminated by decision of her mentor Simon Cowell, the other being Tiah Tolliver. The same night, her debut music video "He Likes Boys" premiered online. Battle is now a member of G.R.L..
Rachel Crow (born January 23, 1998) is from Mead, Colorado, and currently lives in Burbank, California. She performed "Mercy" by Duffy at her audition, "If I Were a Boy" by Beyoncé at bootcamp and her own rendition of "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys at judges' houses. On the December 8 results show, Crow landed in the bottom two for the first time with Marcus Canty, who had appeared in the bottom three in the two previous weeks. After the judges' votes were deadlocked, she was eliminated after she had fewer votes than Canty and finished in 5th place. Immediately after the results were revealed, Crow collapsed on stage and cried convulsively. She cried for her mother who went up on stage and tried to console her. Nicole Scherzinger, the judge responsible for sending the vote to deadlock, was also visibly upset by the result. When Steve Jones asked Scherzinger if she had anything to say, she turned away from Jones and was booed by the audience for inadvertently sending Crow home. She released a five-song EP on June 26, 2012.
Drew Ryniewicz (born January 4, 1997), better known as Drew, is from Chino Valley, Arizona, where she currently resides. Performing "Baby" for her first audition, she made her way through the initial stages of the competition to become a finalist. Beginning with the live shows of The X Factor, she announced that she was going to go by the mononymous name Drew. One memorable moment in her X Factor journey was when she dedicated "Skyscraper" by Demi Lovato to her friend Shelby Forshey. She was eliminated on the results show on December 1, along with Astro, after landing in the final showdown against Marcus Canty, with only her mentor, Simon Cowell, voting in her favor. Therefore, she took 6th place overall. On December 17, 2012, she released her first EP titled "Hello It's Me", which reached #8 on the iTunes Pop Albums Chart. After the show was over it was revealed in Week 2, Drew came in 1st with the most votes and she also received more votes, 5th place on the votes, than Marcus Canty, who was in sixth place, when she was sent home. She has hopes to release her album sometime in 2014.
Tiah Tolliver (born July 23, 1991) is from Chula Vista, California, and currently lives in Chula Vista, California. In the first live show, she performed "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" and was one of two acts eliminated by decision of her mentor Simon Cowell the other being Simone Battle. There was reportedly drama between Tiah Tolliver and the winner of season one Melanie Amaro. Tolliver is of Afro-Jamaican and Japanese descent. Tiah Tolliver is currently working on her first single "I", "Cup Caken" and the music video. A sneak preview of "I" was released March 18, 2012 and a sneak preview of "Cup Caken" May 26, 2012 on her YouTube channel "SFCS21".
The "Over 30s" category was mentored by Nicole Scherzinger. Contestants in this category are of either sex, aged 30 or over. There is no upper age limit. The eight candidates were: LeRoy Bell, Tiger Budbill, Christa Collins, Stacy Francis, Elaine Gibbs, Dexter Haygood, James Kenney, Josh Krajcik. Scherzinger chose the following:
LeRoy Bell (born September 13, 1951) is a former postman from Tacoma, Washington, currently lives in Edmonds, Washington. He got through auditions with his performance of "Lean On Me" by Ben E. King. Playing music since his teens, LeRoy Bell and his band have opened for and toured with Sheryl Crow, Joan Osborne, and B.B King, the late Etta James, Joe Cocker, Michael McDonald, Van Morrison, Mavis Staples, The Temptations, The O'jays and more. LeRoy has also written songs for Elton John, Teddy Pendergrass, Johnny Mathis, The Spinners, The O'jays, and Lou Rawls. As part of the duo Bell & James, had his own Top 20 hit on A&M records in 1979, called "Livin' It Up (Friday Night)".
Stacy Francis (born April 16, 1969) is a single mother from Brooklyn, New York, and currently lives in Los Angeles, California. At the beginning of bootcamp, she revealed that her father had just passed away. Francis has previous experience on Broadway, performed for Tom Cruise at his 40th birthday party, has had a solo album out and released several albums whilst previously signed by Reprise Records as part of a girl band called Ex-Girlfriend. Francis was eliminated on November 17 after landing in the bottom two with Astro, with only her mentor, Nicole Scherzinger, voting in her favor, therefore taking 11th place. Francis has also made some appearances in some TV series in the past, including the pilot episode of Phil of the Future, Third Watch, The Parkers, and Half & Half. Francis is the daughter of an Italian American father and an African American mother.
Dexter Haygood is from Portland, Oregon, and currently lives in Memphis, Tennessee. In the first live show, he performed a mash-up of "Womanizer" and "I Kissed A Girl" and was eliminated by decision of his mentor Nicole Scherzinger. In an interview, Haygood said he wanted to leave the show two days before lives shows because he couldn't be the "rock artist" he wanted to. He told his mentor Scherzinger, and she went to the producers with the situation. The producers told Haygood that he had to perform on the first live show, then would be eliminated on purpose by Scherzinger. Simon Cowell denied these claims.
Joshua "Josh" Krajcik (30) is a singer and songwriter from Wooster, Ohio, and currently lives in Columbus, Ohio. In 2005, he formed the Josh Krajcik Band, along with bassist Mitch Pinkston and drummer Corey Gillen. Josh Krajcik Band has released two CDs released independently, Ghosts 2005 & Atavistic 2011. Josh came in 2nd place overall.
The Groups category was mentored by Paula Abdul. Acts in this category are duos or vocal groups. All members must be aged 12 or over. At the Judges' Houses stage of the competition, Abdul was joined by Pharrell Williams to help judge the contestants. The eight candidates were: 2Squar'd, 4Shore, Illusion Confusion, InTENsity, Lakoda Rayne, The Anser, The Brewer Boys, The Stereo Hogzz. Abdul chose the following:
Intensity (stylized as InTENsity) consists of 10 members who auditioned solo but were put together in the bootcamp to compete as a group. The members are: Ma'at Bingham Shango (born May 13, 1999 (age 14) Houston, Texas), Nick Dean (born July 12, 1996 (age 17) Rochester, New York), Francesca Duncan (born May 25, 1994 (age 19) Orange County, New York), John Lindahl (born August 10, 1996 (age 17) Trabuco Canyon, California), Emily Michalak (born September 30, 1998 (age 15) Pine Brook, New Jersey), Austin Percario (born November 18, 1995 (age 18) Warren, New Jersey), Arin Ray (born September 2, 1995 (age 18) Cincinnati, Ohio), Ellona Santiago (born August 1, 1996 (age 17) San Lorenzo, California), Emily Wilson (born May 14, 1996 (age 17) Warren, New Jersey) and Lauren Ashley (born November 13, 1993 (age 20) Houston, Texas). They were eliminated on November 3 by the public vote after landing in the bottom 2 with the Stereo Hogzz, with only Simon Cowell voting in their favor. They took 12th place overall. Arin Ray auditioned for the second season in Providence, Rhode Island to become a solo artist instead of a group member. He made it all the way to the live show and was being mentored by Britney Spears. He was eliminated in week 4, with the least amount of votes, as double eliminations are the only type of elimination in Season 2, therefore landing in 10th place overall. Ellona Santiago auditioned for the third season to become a soloist. Kelly Rowland described her audition as "unexpected" as she was very shy and modest at first but had put in so much fierceness and passion into her song, "Wings" by Little Mix. Simon Cowell did not recognize her until she told him that she was from InTENsity and that he referred to her as "the girl in the red jacket". Santiago is part of the girls category by mentor Demi Lovato. Santiago was eliminated on December 5, 2013. Austin Percario auditioned for the thirteenth season of American Idol where he was given a golden ticket to Hollywood. On April 4, 2014, Percario came out with his EP called The Me That I Have Known, that was in the Top 50 on the iTunes Pop charts.
Lakoda Rayne came in the competition as solo artists but were put together after bootcamp. Lakoda Rayne consists of four members: Paige Elizabeth Ogle (born March 17, 1993), Hayley Orrantia (born February 21, 1994), Cari Fletcher (born March 19, 1994) and Dani Knights (born November 28, 1988). At judges' house, they sang the country version of "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga. They were in the bottom two along with The Stereo Hogzz on November 10 and were spared elimination after L.A. Reid, Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Cowell voted to save them. They were eliminated on the November 23 results show after being in the bottom 3 with Marcus Canty and LeRoy Bell and receiving the fewest public votes, and therefore came in 9th place. Ogle left the group in May 2012. The remaining three members released a music video for a song titled "Emergency Brake". The song released on iTunes on September 18, 2012. In 2013 Hayley Orrantia left the group for a part on the ABC series The Goldbergs.
The Brewer Boys:
The Brewer Boys is a duo of Filipino-American brothers, Justin Timothy Brewer, 18, and Nathan A. Brewer, 15. They are from Temecula, California, where they currently live. In the first live show, they performed a mash up of "Rich Girl" (Hall & Oates) and "Faith" (George Michael) and were eliminated by decision of their mentor Paula Abdul.
The Stereo Hogzz:
The Stereo Hogzz consists of five members: Justin Williams (Just'n, 25), Kregg Gibson (KG, 24), Jonathan Glenn (Jon Glenn, 25), George Jenkins III (Trae Badd, 25) and Trace Kennedey (24). They are all from Houston, Texas. Jenkins attended the audition on the same day his child was born. On the November 3 results show, they landed in the bottom two alongside fellow group InTENsity. Simon Cowell voted against them, but Nicole Scherzinger, L.A. Reid and their mentor, Paula Abdul, voted to save them. They were eliminated on the November 10 results show, with only Abdul voting in their favor, therefore finishing the competition in 11th place.