LeRoy Bell says he was in competition with himself on 'X Factor,' not the other contestants
Competing with contestants as young as 13 years old on “The X Factor” might seem to be a daunting task when you’re 60, but LeRoy Bell says he didn’t see it that way.
Bell, who was the oldest person in the competition, was eliminated Nov. 23 in the show’s first double elimination along with country pop quartet Lakoda Rayne, after both received the lowest number of viewer votes.
“I enjoyed myself very much, they’re good kids and I didn’t really look at it as a competition . . . I was more in competition with myself to see if I could bridge the gap of just being singer-songwriter to (being) on stage doing what I do and interpreting songs that have already been successfully written and sung by other artists,” Bell tells CTV.ca over the phone during a conference call.
He adds he knew going in that it might be more difficult to connect with the younger viewers at home than someone like Rachel Crow or Astro because of his age, but says he was still able to develop a large fan base.
“I also knew there was a big untapped audience out there of 25 - 60 year-olds that a lot of times wouldn’t be engaged in a show like this until they had a vested interested in it, somebody closer to their age.”
He says it contributed to him sticking around as long as he did.
Bell is the second member of the Over 30s group to be sent home, after 42-year-old Stacy Francis was eliminated the previous week. Rocker Josh Krajcik remains in the competition.
Even though the members of their group are dwindling, Bell has nothing but praise for his mentor Nicole Scherzinger.
“We got along famously. She’s got a way of being organic with her ideas of how I should be me and how I could translate that to the viewers and to the cameras and to the audience because I was coming from a background of playing guitar and singing so I always tended to hide behind my guitar,” says Bell, who adds the best piece of advice she gave him was to be himself.
Bell has actually been making music since his 20s and had a record deal at the age of 27. As well as releasing several albums both with his band and solo, he also co-wrote many songs over the years, two of which were recorded by Elton John.
But even with his prior success, it was his appearance on “The X Factor” that gave Bell mainstream popularity – something that doesn’t come as much of a surprise to the singer-songwriter.
“The music business has changed and there’s been a lot of years in between (my earlier experience) and this show, even though it’s not guaranteed a record deal, probably the exposure was way more than the record deal had even though I had a Top 20 hit because you’re on TV every week and you’re just reaching a vast audience.”
Now that he’s been eliminated Bell plans to continue working with his band and is looking forward to being back with his family in Washington.
“My family was obviously very, very proud but it was hard being away that long. It was kind of like living in a bubble it was just work, work, work but they stood fast and I think it brought us closer together in a lot of ways.
“And now that I’m back I can start (driving) my son around town again and being his chauffeur,” he adds with a laugh.
The seven remaining contestants – girls Melanie Amaro, Rachel Crow and Drew; boys Astro, Marcus Canty and Chris Rene and the last Over 30s finalist Josh Krajcik – will take the stage Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. ET on CTV. Two more will be cut Thursday, Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. ET on CTV Two to reveal the final 5.
About Sheri Block
Sheri Block has been covering entertainment for CTV.ca since 2008. In addition to covering Will and Kate’s Royal Wedding in London, Sheri’s highlights have included going on tour with “Canadian Idol,” being a stand-in on “Canada’s Next Top Model” and meeting Colin Farrell at the Toronto International Film Festival.Follow her on Twitter!