How does judge Kelly Rowland think she would do if she were a contestant on a show like “The X Factor?”
—Makesha Johnson, Orlando, Florida
Truth be told, Kelly Rowland, 32, actually did compete on a talent show back in the day when what was to become Destiny’s Child was a girl group, called Girl’s Tyme. With the hope of landing a recording deal, they performed on “Star Search” in 1992 — and lost.
“I remember what that three and a quarter stars felt like,” Rowland says. “Once that red curtain closed, we were like little, sad puppy dogs, just bawling our eyes out. When we got to the hotel, I remember our parents going, ‘What do you guys want to do? You want to go to Disneyland?’ Our eyes dried up so fast it wasn’t funny. But I truly believe that when it’s your time, it’s your time.”
Now, as a mentor, Rowland uses her expertise as a singer/songwriter to help her pick the contestants that she thinks are ready to tackle the tough aspects of the recording business. The ones that have the talent, but also that mysterious, indefinable “X Factor.”
“You just see it in people’s eyes,” the Atlanta, Georgia-born, but Houston, Texas-raised Grammy Award winner says. “You just see how bad they want it, you see how hard they are willing to work, and you have to admire that and you give them a shot. That’s why I love the auditions, because you actually start the weeding out process of people who actually sing. You go by their feel, by their charisma when they’re talking to you, and how the audience takes to them.”
Rowland also calls upon her personal knowledge from the days when she was a young artist just starting in the business, when it comes to criticism. While fellow judge Simon Cowell is famous for his unsympathetic comments, Rowland feels that harsh criticism isn’t the best way to go.
“I grew more from people who actually were constructive and gave details about how I can grow,” Rowland recalls. “I apply that to the way I judge, because it’s about seeing people grow and become something wonderful, but also being honest with them if you don’t see something [in them], and telling them in a tactful way to where you’re not killing someone’s dream. We are not dream killers.”