There are only a few people from the Top 16 who we really think have a shot at winning The X Factor 2013. And one of those creams of the crop? 29-year-old Rachel Potter. Born in New Orleans, the big-voiced brunette grew up in Seminole, Florida, where she got her first taste of the stage while singing in her Baptist church choir.
"At three, I sang a solo," Rachel tells Wetpaint exclusively. "I don't really remember that, but the first one I really remember was when I was eight, and I sang 'Jingle Bell Rock' at the Christmas show. I had to audition for it, and I danced with this life-sized horse." Both of her parents were in the music world, with her mom teaching voice lessons and her dad rocking out in their home studio.
Growing up, she loved to write music, and when she was in college, she auditioned for a job singing at Disney World. She got park gigs as Ariel in The Little Mermaid, Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Nemo in Finding Nemo, and a role in a High School Musical revue, where she met then boyfriend Chase Peacock. The two split up when he moved to New York to pursue his Broadway dream, and though Rachel ended up in the big city to do the same, they didn't get back together at the time.
While in NYC, Rachel got roles on Broadway as the mistress in Evita (co-starring Ricky Martin), Glinda in the traveling cast of Wicked, and Wednesday in The Addams Family, among others. Though she achieved awesome things in musical theater, Rachel realized her true dream was to pursue country music, and so she moved to Nashville, where she currently resides. The Big Apple still holds a place in her heart, though — Rachel chose NYC's Joe's Pub as the location for her big EP release after a Kickstarter-funded project called Live the Dream.
In the summer of 2013, Rachel took another musical theater gig for the summer. There, she was cast opposite her ex, Chase. Soon after, they picked up where they left off, and though he lives in Atlanta, the two make an effort to see each other whenever possible.
During her first audition for The X Factor Season 3, Rachel got rave reviews from all of the judges and sailed into the next round. Even though she was sick during the Four Chair Challenge, mentor Kelly Rowland saw her enormous potential during a rocky rendition of "Irreplaceable," and put her into her Top 4.
Next, Rachel sang Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance," a strong performance that got her a spot in the Top 13 where she performed The Isley Brothers's "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak For You)" to mix reviews. Was it enough to keep her in?
It may not have been but thankfully for Rachel, there was an error with the November 6 voting and the contestants got a second shot at the week's Live Shows with Rachel's "Save Me" performance of Martina McBride's "Anyway" up to her typical level of amazing.
She brought it again for '80s Night were the Top 12 finalist sang Heart's "Alone" to rave reviews...from the judges. America didn't agree and put Rachel in the bottom two where she competed against Khaya Cohen. Her performance of Shania Twain's "From This Moment" just wasn't enough, though, and Rachel was sent home.
Watch Rachel Potter’s audition — Queen's "Somebody to Love"
Four Chair Challenge: Rachel Potter Sings Beyoncé's "Irreplaceable"
Top 16: Rachel Potter Sings Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance"
Top 13: Rachel Potter Sings The Isley Brothers's "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak For You)"
Save Me Song: Rachel Potter Sings Martina McBride's "Anyway"
Top 12: Rachel Potter Sings Heart's "Alone"