Yes, that was “X Factor” contestant Jillian Jensen you saw during the Season 13 premiere of “American Idol.” But the Jillian you saw on “X Factor” and the one you’ll see this year on “Idol” are two very different people.
Just compare Jensen’s tearful “X Factor” audition and her breezy, acoustic “Idol” audition and you have a very different singer — the singer Jensen says she actually is, rather than the one with the bullying backstory they wanted her to be on “X Factor.”
“Doing ‘X Factor’ was a great experience, but unfortunately I don’t feel like I was allowed to be myself as an artist,” she tells Zap2it, although it did give her the platform to do some motivational speaking against bullying.
Her decision to try out for “Idol” came from a longtime love of the show — she used to watch it as a kid and tell her mom she was going to win one day. “I just wanted to give ‘Idol’ a shot because it was always my dream,” she explains.
Before you mention it, yes — Jensen is aware of how frequently she was shown bawling in front of her “X Factor” mentor Demi Lovato, and she promises way fewer tears on “Idol.” “I only cried like three times on ‘X Factor!” It just so happens all three of those times were documented extensively.
“It’s comical to me at this point,” she says of being known as that girl who cried a lot, because she’s definitely a much more upbeat person in real life. “My friends know I’m probably the goofiest, most obnoxious person in the world,” she says.
So as for what you’ll hear from her, Jensen says her own style is hard to categorize but the guitar and six other instruments she plays are a big part of her musical tastes. “I love writing. It’s a huge aspect of my life,” she says. “I love being able to play an instrument and sing at the same time. Stylistically I fall into my own category.”
Being on another singing competition does give Jensen a leg up in that she knows the late hours involved — and how to keep her results secret until the show airs. So now that her audition has aired, nothing’s really changed: She plans on continuing to play bar and wedding gigs until it might be time to come back to Los Angeles — or not.
She’s also in tune with the “Idol” world, having gotten advice from her pal, Season 12 finalist Angie Miller. “Angie is the sweetest thing in the world and the most she can tell me is to be me and stay positive and go forward,” she says.
The “Will and Grace” fan was predisposed to like Harry Connick Jr. despite his reputation as “Hatchet Harry,” but she says she was definitely “petrified” walking into the audition room. “I walked in there with all these people basically saying Harry’s a tough guy, he’s kind of like Simon,” but they ended up connecting. “He appreciates people who aren’t just singers; he appreciates multi-talented individuals.”
Jensen liked all the judges, in fact. “I, personally, as a viewer of ‘American Idol,’ I absolutely love this panel of judges. Even just watching at home their chemistry is great.”