NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Copper Country's own singing sweetheart is getting more exposure to the world, this time in the form of reality TV.
Hannah Bethel moved to Nashville, Tenn., three years ago from the Copper Country to share her love of music and was recently featured as a contestant on the singing show The X Factor. The show follows several dozen contestants vying for a record deal and pitted against each other as they are slowly eliminated until one person is left. Each contestant sings before a judges' panel, including Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul of American Idol fame, Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls and record executive L.A. Reid.
After a writing session Thursday evening, the busy musician made time for a phone interview to discuss her time on The X Factor, her elimination and keeping a strong connection with the Upper Peninsula.
Back in May, Bethel auditioned for the show at a mall in Nashville via a video audition booth she stumbled upon.
"I had no idea what would come of it," she said. "I wasn't sure to take it seriously."
In June, Bethel was called back to audition for the four judges in Dallas, Texas where she had the opportunity to sing in her preferred musical style, what she calls a quirky blend of pop, soul and country.
"It worked out really well because my mom and two younger sisters were actually planning to visit me the same week I got called to Dallas, so we all drove to Texas together," she said. "I was the most nervous I have ever been in my entire life."
Although she performs for a living, she did find it "extremely intimidating" to sing before the four famous faces. But she made it through and was sent to her next destination.
Bethel recalled the wait time. She was told to be at the performance site at 10 a.m. and waited around the entire day before it was her time to perform at about 11 p.m. During her audition, she sang "Let Him Fly" by Patty Griffin.
"I got four 'yeses' from them," she said.
Then it was on to Bootcamp Week in Los Angeles in July where she had the opportunity to mingle with other artists, sing in a group setting and perform for the judges yet again.
"There were several auditions and several eliminations throughout the week," she said. "I made it to the second elimination there."
From hundreds of people that auditioned, Bethel was in the top 70 singers, and in the process, received feedback from the judges she said she can keep in mind for future reference.
"They said they felt I had something special and they wanted to see what I can do at the next level," she said.
And signing onto a show where she knew she would be judged by the notoriously brutal Cowell, Bethel prepped herself.
"I didn't get super exciting feedback," she said. "Simon said that I was actually quite boring until I opened my mouth."
The segment featuring Bethel auditioning and at Bootcamp Week already aired, but she couldn't talk about her experiences until now. As far as doing another singing reality show, such as The Voice, Bethel said it would be something she would consider, but isn't likely right now.
"I'll play that by ear," she said. "It was an incredible experience and I met so many wonderful people. I went into it knowing it was a reality show and not a talent competition first of all. They kind of cast people, looking for the type of artist they are trying to promote right now."
Bethel even now rooms with another singer she met on The X Factor. And even though she was eliminated, Bethel refuses to let it be a setback. Just as other musicians who have made it big struggle at some point, Bethel plans to continue to put her music out there, and has big plans for the future.
To see videos of Bethel on The X Factor, subscribe to youtube.com/hannahbethelmusic, and for more information about Bethel, visit hannahbethel.com, facebook.com/hannah.bethel.artist and twitter.com/hannahbethel.
Bethel is also participating in a song-writing competition which she hopes to win. Vote for Bethel by visiting facebook.com/thatscool, look for her two videos and vote.