Singer Lillie McCloud wowed the X Factor USA judges in 2013. First they were shocked when she revealed her age, and then she blew them away with her powerhouse voice.
Judge Demi Lovato was particularly moved, comparing Lillie to music legend Whitney Houston. Check out her X Factor audition below, and read on to find out what the judges had to say about her performance.
Lillie McCloud Auditions For ‘X Factor’
When asked why she chose to audition for the show, Lillie responded, “I’m here to win.” She went on to reveal that she was 54 years old, which shocked the judges and audience alike, as she looked much younger.
“I always knew I wanted to be a singer,” Lillie said before her audition. “It just wasn’t my time, because I wanted to just be around the family. I made the right decision. Even though I’m still searching that same dream, I would do it again the same way.”
Lillie chose to sing the gospel song “Alabaster Box” by CeCe Winans. Her strong performance brought Demi Lovato and Kelly Rowland to tears, and had the crowd cheering. She received a standing ovation afterward.
“Where you been hiding?” Kelly asked, pointing out how she “touched” everyone with her performance, even though many of them (including Simon Cowell) weren’t familiar with the song. Simon said she had an “incredible voice.”
Demi Lovato Compares Lillie To Whitney Houston
Demi Lovato said the performance “ripped my heart out of my chest.” She added, with tears streaming down her face, “I feel like I’m listening to Whitney. And I feel like maybe your time wasn’t supposed to happen until now.”
Lillie joined the Over 25s category on The X Factor, being mentored by Kelly Rowland. She finished the competition in eighth place. Lillie went on to sign with Spectra Music Group, and released the album Number One Contender in 2015.
Although she didn’t mention it in her first audition, Lillie had previously released albums in the ’80s and ’90s under the name Nicole McCloud. She now goes by Lillie Nicole McCloud on Instagram.