X Factor's Willie Jones Says He Thought He Was Going To Win It All

Norman Byrd's picture

Give him credit: After Willie Jones was eliminated from the Top 16 on "X Factor," he kept his sense of humor as he talked about being on the show and who he thought would ultimately win.

In his exit interview, "X Factor" finalist Willie Jones said that he wouldn't change a thing about his run on the singing competition reality show -- except for getting kicked off. He laughed as he said it, which is a good thing. It's good to see that he could laugh about being eliminated, because earlier he looked a little peeved at his mentor (and judge) Demi Lovato. And he had good reason...

On Thursday night's Top 16 results show, each judge was tasked with saving two finalists for their team, then having the remaining two battle for the final positions. The judges/mentors would have the final say over who would fill the last slot in their respective teams. In the case of Demi Lovato, who mentored the Young Adults, Jennel Garcia and Paige Thomas were saved, leaving Willie Jones and CeCe Frey to sing for their lives.

CeCe Frey performed exceptionally well, singing Irene Cara's "Out Here On My Own" from the "Fame" soundtrack. Willie Jones attempted to play to his own strength and performed a low register classic country tune, "You Don't Know Me," which was a hit for Eddy Arnold (who co-wrote it) and Elvis Presley. Even though Willie has a good country voice, the song seemed to get stuck in neutral.

On a positive note, though, his performance from the night before was far superior to CeCe's, where she took the classic rock song "Because The Night" and turned it into a shouty, campy thing. Patti Smith would undoubtedly cringe if she heard or saw the rendition, as would Bruce Springsteen. Why Springsteen? Well, the "Boss" co-wrote the song with Smith, that's why.

Willie's performance was the upbeat country song "Here For The Party" by Gretchen Wilson. He had fun with it but it lacked a certain believability. In the critiques, Judge Simon Cowell not only criticized Willie's glam country look but the production and song choice as well. Demi said -- to paraphrase -- that Simon didn't get it because he was old and she wasn't. Still, Simon was right -- on all counts (well, maybe not about the way he was dressed -- take a look at some of the rhinestoned-and-glittered acts of country music's past). And still... Willie Jones put on a better show than did CeCe Frey.

But here's the thing: During his performance of "You Don't Know Me," cameras caught Demi looking around liked some caged animal. She sat enraptured not five minutes earlier listening to CeCe, so viewers knew which contestant she would choose long before she made her anguished (obviously faked) choice. And there was no possible way Willie didn't see that cornered look while he was singing just a few away from her. So if he seemed to have a "yeah, right" look on his face while Demi hugged and extended what sounded like wooden words of encouragement, he most likely was feeling a little frustration.

Of course, it didn't help that he was holding up a pouty CeCe determined to have a phony crying session. Not one tear did she shed, although she was trying her best to make it look as if she was crying her eyes out...

Still, Willie pulled it together to tell the audience that it sucked that he had to go home but he had fun. He said he would keep on chasing his dream.

During the exit interview, Willie said he would miss the people he'd gotten close to while being on the "X Factor," but he would miss Jennel Garcia the most because he and the 18-year-old retro-rocker had become close. He said he wished that he'd made the Top 12 because he believed America would have voted for him.

And he just might have been right in that assessment. Professional oddsmakers must have seen something in him (because we all know that singing is only part of these talent shows; personality goes a long way as well), because they had his odds of winning as high as possibly finishing in the finale.

When asked who he thought would win, he told "X Factor" that he didn't know. "I thought I was going to win," he laughed, "until about an hour ago."

Yes, just by watching the personable country singer joke and talk about his journey on the show one could easily believe that Judge Demi, in choosing CeCe Frey, a young singer Willie himself insisted was "very nice" despite her portrayal on the show (but still presents as unlikeable and phony), might have been a mistake.

Viewers shouldn't be surprised if she was in the first two up for elimination after next week's Top 12 performance show. The "X Factor" returns for the performance and results shows on Wednesday, Nov. 7, and Thursday, Nov. 8, at 8 p.m. on Fox Television.

(photo credit: Freemantle North America, SycoTV, Fox Television, Wikimedia Commons)


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I HAD TO COPY THIS AND REPOST ----Yes, just by watching the personable country singer joke and talk about his journey on the show one could easily believe that Judge Demi, in choosing CeCe Frey, a young singer Willie himself insisted was "very nice" despite her portrayal on the show (but still presents as unlikeable and phony), might have been a mistake.(HOW CAN DEMI LIVE WITH HERSELF, BUT SHE DID SAY SHE HAD A GIRL CRUSH ON CECE IN HER FIRST AUDITTION..UMMMMMM SMH.....DEMI IS CONFUSED!!!!! WE WAT WILLIE JONES BACK.....

Submitted by Virginia Allison (not verified) on
Am I the only person that noticed the resemblance between Willie and the late Nat King Cole. I mean personality, mannerisms, velvet voice and even looks (though Wille is better looking.) I hope some Hollywood type noticed and deceides to make "The Nat King Cole Story"

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I noticed especially the voice with that last song!

Submitted by Becky (not verified) on
Funnily, I thought that about Willie as well. In that last song he sounded a bit like Nat King Cole, Ray Charles and Michael Buble all rolled into one. His voice is definitely special and is best suited to the classic songs rather than the 5 minute wonder pop tunes or high note ballads. His voice is smooth and sophisticated but I think he still needs a bit more fine tuning to project it better. I hope he gets picked up by a record label that would actually work with what he has rather than try to change him.

Submitted by Ed Hartway (not verified) on

Submitted by AnonymousVirgin... (not verified) on
He could cover for Charlie Pride(who I really admire) but i think overall he looks and acts much more like Nat Cole. But like like all the other contributers I think he is his own person with his own sound and hope he will go far.

Submitted by Emille (not verified) on
I was in total shock when Demi Lovato chose CeCe Frey over Willie Jones. Willie Jones' talent is in a completely different league. He is the only contestant in the competition who is original and different and he is super likeable, extremely well mannered and humble and this makes him appeal to all age demographics, not just the teen market. If he had stayed, the public would certainly have voted for him and I sincerely believe he would have made it to the top three. Demi did him a big injustice simply because she didn't know what to do with such unique talent. She saw the very thing that made him unique (the country and R&B fusion) as a big problem instead of his strength and unique selling point that the others couldn't compete with. It was obvious she could relate better to the bubble gum pop that people like Paige and CeCe will inevitably deliver. Cece can sing but is often pitchy and there is nothing in her voice that stands out. Also right or wrong, people just plainly don't like her and yes, I have noticed the absence of tears when she "cries" !! Demi thinks she can make her likeable, I say good luck with that one!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I am Scottish, I never watch X-Factor in the UK, let alone the US version. But I came into the room when the tv was on as Willie Jones sang for the first time at the audition stage and I couldn't believe it, his voice is amazing. If Willie Jones can make an X-Factor cynic watch him sing in the US from home in Glasgow, then he's got something special. On the upside, no need to watch now!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Ditto to the glaswegian's story above. Just replace scotland with new zealand. LOVED willie jones, only reason for watching xfactor in my view. But i'm hopeful his talent shone through enough for him to be picked up by a mentor who can appreciate and showcase his talents so the fans can continue to enjoy his unique skills.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Somebody please tell me why do they have that in expierenced girl demi on there judgeing talent that she obviously dont have a ear or an eye to do so.cece dont have anything unique or excting to bring to the industry.wont be watching anymore willie should have won!!! Hands down...ms e


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