Singer auditions for new TV show

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At 10 years old, Jekarra Gaines sang a rendition of God Bless America during a Christmas pageant that brought the audience to tears.

Jekarra Gaines is auditioning for a spot on The X Factor.   Special
Jekarra Gaines is auditioning for a spot on The X Factor.

Gaines, now 18, still remembers a man in the audience drying his eyes after she finished.

It was the moment she decided to become a professional singer.

"I felt like if I could make a grown man cry, I could make the whole world cry," Gaines said.

She soon might have that chance.

Gaines, a Hephzibah High School graduate, will compete against hundreds of other vocalists today after she travels to Dallas for the final round of auditions for Fox's new fall TV show, The X Factor .

The show, a reality television singing competition created by Simon Cowell, formerly of American Idol , pits solo artists and groups against one another. Contestants are paired with judges based on certain categories, and the judges compete to ensure their act wins.

At her original audition for the show in Atlanta, Gaines said, she sang Minnie Riperton's Loving You . She chose the song for its extraordinarily high and difficult F-sharp-6 note.

"We only had 30 seconds to sing, so I tried to think of something that would catch everybody's attention and that among everybody else I would stand out," she said. "That song has a high note in it that nobody else there could hit."

She will probably sing the Riperton song again when she auditions today.

"I'm thinking about doing the same song because they always say if it ain't broke, don't fix it," she said.

After graduating from Hephzibah High School last year, Gaines moved to Atlanta in August to pursue her singing career full time.

She has formed her own label, Born 2 Sing Records, and is at work writing and recording songs for her first album.

"My goal is, I want people to hear my voice," she said. "I want to be a positive role model."

How does she feel about auditioning in front of Cowell, whose blunt criticism and often insulting remarks are well-known to fans?

"I am (nervous) because he's really hard on people," she said. "But I think when I actually get in front of him, all that will go away and I'll just sing."

See it online

VIDEO: Listen to Jekarra Gaines sing on YouTube, where she has posted numerous performances. Search for her name on

SPOTTED : View photos of The X Factor auditions in Augusta at

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bdouglas 05/26/11 - 07:53 am
@Emerydan So you'd rather

@Emerydan So you'd rather they dwell on her past than focus on the positive thing she's trying to do with her life now? Good call, Buzz Killington...

onlysane1left 05/26/11 - 08:20 am
What did she do? Sing too

What did she do? Sing too much while getting a ticket?

stillamazed 05/26/11 - 08:30 am
Good luck to her. And you are

Good luck to her. And you are right bdouglas, people sometimes make stupid mistakes, that doesn't mean they can't change, at least she is trying to do something with her life unlike alot of others who continue down the same criminal path.

avidreader 05/26/11 - 08:43 am
I viewed a few of her living

I viewed a few of her living room performances on youtube. I'm guessing she has made immense strides in improvement since the youtube cuts, or she wouldn't be going to Dallas. She's simply an OK singer and sounds like every other teenage girl who wants to be Beyonce or Alicia Keys. However, one can easily see that this young woman has potential. -- Simon Cowell

ECDanes 05/26/11 - 03:41 pm
avidreader.. yeah I saw the

avidreader.. yeah I saw the same clips and thought the same thing.. she has an ok voice from what I saw in the clips, too much melisma for my tastes. Maybe she has made immense improvement since that time. In any case good for her for making it big, and btw, what did she do in her past? In any case mistakes in your past should not stop you from moving forward. Glad to see she is on her way to great things

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