On the final audition episode of The X Factor, 21-year-old Tora Woloshin blew the judges and audience away with her fantastic voice, unique style, and high-wattage star power. She brought the house down and got four very enthusiastic yes votes from the judges. It was kind of shocking that Tora hadn’t already been discovered.
Well, it turns out that she had been... sort of.
In October of 2005, 16-year-old Tora auditioned for American Idol and was given a golden ticket to Hollywood. However, four days before she was scheduled to fly out for Hollywood week, she received a phone call that she’d been eliminated from the competition. The reason? There was a “red flag” on her background check.
“The producer was apologetic but said he didn’t know the reason for Tora’s elimination. He referred me to Fremantle Media,” Tora’s mother told Rolling Stone in 2005. “I asked [Fremantle] if it was something we had done wrong and was told that it was a casting decision and she was welcome to audition again next season. Why would they say that if there had been a red flag?”
Tora was, understandably, devastated. Because she knew she’d be missing school, in preparation for Hollywood week she had obtained her GED and started training for a new job. However, her boss refused to give her time off for to go to Hollywood, so she’d been forced to resign. She’d also spent money on vocal coaching and new performance clothes, only to be torpedoed at the last minute.
“The news would have been easier to take if they told me why. I have no idea if I’m supposed to do something different. They let a lot of people through and find out later that they're criminals. Those people lied on their background checks and they got through. I told the truth and was cut before I got there,” she said.
So what went wrong? We may never know. Does she hold a grudge against Simon Cowell? Probably not. Will The X Factor offer our girl Tora a shot at redemption? We can only hope!