By now it is no secret or shocker that several of this year's "X Factor" contestants have professional show business experience
--most notably 42-year-old Stacy Francis. While Stacy is not exactly a household name, some fans are still crying foul that she was portrayed by manipulative "X Factor" producers as a struggling single mom still awaiting her first big break, when she is in fact a veteran of the stage, screen, and recording studio. Stacy was a member of the '90s R&B girl group Ex-Girlfriend, who were signed to Reprise by Mariah Carey's manager Benny Medina and produced by R. Kelly; she has performed with Whitney Houston
, Madonna, and Prince
; and she has starred in Broadway and West End musicals. It's actually surprising that after all this, she still felt a show like "The X Factor" was what she needed to take her career to the next level.
All of this footage is all too easily YouTube-able, and if anything, it proves Stacy is a very talented singer who's come close, but just not quite
close enough, to her superstardom goal. But there is some footage floating around the Interweb that is especially surprising--of Stacy serenading Tom Cruise at his private 40th birthday party aboard the Freewinds cruise ship.
While the footage is causing some viewers to question Stacy's made-for-TV sob story, the Cruise cruise clips are all pretty fun to watch, and they kind of make me hope there will be a Movie Theme Night this season on "The X Factor." The rarely seen 2004 footage shows Stacy amusingly belting out theme songs from Tom's famous films, including "Old Time Rock 'N' Roll" from Risky Business, "Take My Breath Away" and "Danger Zone" from Top Gun, and "Tutti Frutti" and "Kokomo" from Cocktail, while iconic scenes from the flicks screen behind Stacy and Tom is shown laughing and whooping it up in the audience.
So obviously Stacy is used to playing to big rooms, for A-list audience members even more famous than Simon Cowell. And that can only help her be a top gun in this competition.
Other "X Factor" contestants' professional pasts
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