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Former DePaul student shines on 'X Factor'

By Deanna Shilkus
On October 17, 2011

After the news that Simon Cowell would be leaving the hit reality show "American Idol" last year, audiences across America waited to see what he would do next. The highly-noted music producer came this September to Fox with the premiere of the U.K.'s number one reality show, "The X Factor."

The show is open to singers and vocal groups of 12 years of age or older. Contestants are broken down into four categories — young guys, young girls, older singers and groups. Those who make the finals are mentored by a judge.

The show originally debuted in 2004 in the U.K. and has been running for the last seven years at the top spot, according to "The X Factor's" official website.

Similar to the American-born "American Idol", the U.K.'s show has first time contestants sing their auditions in front of a panel of four judges. These judges include Cowell, Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger and Antonio "L.A." Reid.

The auditions for the show took place in various cities around the country, including Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, Seattle, Dallas and our very own Chicago. The Chicago area auditions were held last April at the Sears Centre Arena just outside of the city. A Chicago-native and DePaul '09 graduate Chrissy Feliciano tried out feeling nervous but well-prepared.

"The audition process took a lot of time and dedication with competition after competition," she said.

Feliciano sang "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" and felt that the long wait in the cold and rain before she finally got to perform was worth it.

"When I got onstage and performed, it was a total liberation," she said. Feliciano has been auditioning since she was 16-years-old and previously tried out for "American Idol" six times but never made it past the top 60 contestants. She decided to try out for "The X Factor" because she wanted to keep following her dream, and she "loves Simon Cowell."

"The reason I tried out so many times was because I was persistent," she said. "When you have a dream, don't stop; go for what you want and just keep pushing."

Feliciano graduated from DePaul with a degree in Biology and a minor in Community Service. She loves science and the medical field, but when she got out of college, her mindset was at a place where she wanted to figure out who she was as a person first.

"Singing is the most precious thing to me," Feliciano said. "I am a well-rounded person but not being able to sing was driving me crazy."

Feliciano is very thankful for the love and support she has from her family. They encouraged her to try out for "The X Factor" and she knows they are her biggest fans.

Although Feliciano was eliminated on "The X Factor" after the final episode of boot-camp in Los Angeles, she is currently working on a grass-roots project and recording some new songs.

Feliciano has been recording songs since she was 12-years-old and when she was 17, released a song called "Home Bound" that played on a few radio stations.

Feliciano is not sure about her future but feels that being rejected so many times has made her stronger and that she is a better artist because of it. She knows that the music industry is going to be hard and competitive.

"My motto is don't stop until you get what you want. It doesn't matter if you get rejected," she said. "For me, I know one day something is going to give."

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