Sporting some unique clothes and a stylish hair cut, he caught everybody off guard when he began singing a country song:
“The X Factor” is a popular show that has spread to countries all over the world. However, the television singing competition was first created by Simon Cowell, gaining popularity in the United Kingdom. Contestants on “The X Factor” are there not only to win a recording contract but also to receive acclaim just by appearing on the show. Many contestants go on to become popular artists even if they do not win.
When Willie Jones of Shreveport, Louisiana, went on the show in 2012, the then 17-year-old was able to get the judges to laugh pretty much immediately. His demeanor was one that the judges took a liking to pretty much right away. However, they were not at all ready for the sound that was going to come out of his mouth.
When you see 17-year-old Jones from Shreveport, Louisiana, step up on stage for the first time dressed in what judge Demi Lovato describes as “very Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” attire, you might not think that the young man would be into country — but he is. Beyond his “Fresh Prince” appearance, he also has an amazing personality. He made everyone laugh with his southern politeness, saying “yes, sir” to judge L.A. Reid twice even after being told “just yes is fine” the second time.
But he caught everyone off guard when the song started. Not only was the live studio audience shocked, but you could also see that the judges had no idea what was happening. They wore noticeably bewildered expressions and looked at each other as if to ask, “Are you hearing what I’m hearing?”
That’s because Jones began to belt out an amazing country song, “Your Man” by Josh Turner. Jones was able to sing the song with the perfect southern twang and perfect pitch. He even had a low bass-like voice to boot.
The judges likely couldn’t believe what they were hearing as Jones stood on the stage and belted out his tune. They exchanged looks of disbelief as he continued to impress the audience with his near-perfect voice. It seemed like Jones himself could not believe what was happening. He stopped singing for a little bit as the song was going on, taking in the enthusiasm of the crowd. They knew that he would just have to go on to the very next round for sure!
Cowell is well-known for telling it like it is. He does not hold back when he talks to contestants, even when his words are something they may not want to hear. Cowell showed signs of having a good critical eye from a young age. When he was just four years old, he told his mother that she looked “like a poodle” when she wore a white furry pillbox hat.
However, he absolutely loved the voice he was hearing and was ready to tell Jones what he thought.
“You’ve gone beyond my expectations. You’ve surprised me,” Simon said. “I think your voice is a sensational recording voice, and I want to remember this time, the first time I heard Willie Jones — this is a day to remember.” It’s been nearly a decade since Jones first sang the hit Turner song.
Although he was a popular contestant and won over lots of hearts, allowing him to progress in the competition, he was eventually eliminated. His musical journey didn’t end there, however.
According to The Boot, the 26-year-old artist “blends country music topics and cadences with the confessional, first-person styling of underground hip-hop.” This gives his sound a new genre-bending character that is almost entirely unique to him and is captivating to listen to.
In March 2020, he told The Boot that he is happy that there is a rise of African American country singers.
Jones currently lives in Shreveport, something he is very proud of, but he travels to Los Angeles frequently to make his music and work with producers. Jones was also part of a Netflix original reality show called “Chasing Cameron,” which centers around the life of social media influencer Cameron Dallas, members of music group Magcon and Jones himself, the Shreveport Times reports.
Speaking to the Shreveport Times, Jones spoke about what life has been like since he was on “The X Factor.” “It’s changed a lot. People know who I am now. With the notoriety comes opportunity,” he said.
It is great to see young artists like Willie Jones doing incredible things with the opportunities they are given. What did you think of his performance? Did you think it was spectacular? Let us know — and remember to pass this on to others who love young, raw talent.