NORTH Coast fans of television talent competition The X Factor will be glued to their sets to catch two local performers in upcoming episodes of the show.
But apart from belting out strong performances, both singers also wanted to send a message by appearing on the show; that is, that it is okay to be different.
Amy Walton, who also performs as Frankie Stone, is a Lismore-based singer who describes herself as a “five-foot-four bald tattooed lesbian”. She said she went on the show because she wanted to “make people cry” and also because she wanted to prove the point that looks can be deceiving.
“It is not all about the looks,” Ms Walton said.
“I look really alternative, but I wanted to sing Celine Dion and beautiful power ballads that make people melt. When I sing I just open my mouth and it comes from my heart.
“And I wanted people to realise you don't have to look a certain way to sing from the heart.”
The X Factor experience for Ms Walton began with auditions at the Sydney Entertainment Centre where she was nervous but not particularly impressed by her competition.
“There were a lot of pretentious people in my group and I just couldn't relate to any of them, so it was really hard to talk to them to relax my nerves,” she said.
The highlight to date for Ms Walton was to meet and be mentored by her “favourite Spice Girl”, Mel C, otherwise known as Sporty Spice of 1990s British all-girl pop group the Spice Girls.
“It was a bit nerve-wracking to sing in front of my favourite Spice Girl,” Ms Walton said.
“You expect people in the industry to be stuck-up, but she was phenomenal and lovely.”
Meanwhile, Gold Coast-based, but a regular performer on the North Coast, Paige Elliott Phoenix, was the first openly transsexual performer to appear on The X Factor.
On his website, Mr Elliott Phoenix said his appearance on the show “made a significant contribution toward increasing the public profile of trans-sexuals both in Australia and abroad”.
Mr Elliott Phoenix works as a psychotherapist in private practice on the Gold Coast and is writing a book about his experiences.
As well as performing solo, Ms Walton is the lead singer of predominantly female alternative rock band No Peace For Charlie, who are working around Ms Walton's X Factor commitments to record their first EP album.
Audition episodes of The X Factor are currently being shown on Channel 7 four nights a week. Boot camp performances will follow before the field of performers is cut down to a top 12 in the lead-up to a final, for which a date has not yet been set.