'X Factor' Draws Thousands to Daly City Auditions

The upcoming second season of the American TV show "X Factor" will be produced by Simon Cowell.

By Sasha Lekach
|  Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012  |  Updated 10:52 PM PDT
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Contestant Melanie Amaro performs on "The X Factor" Top 3 Live Performance Show on December 21, 2011 in Hollywood. Registration for auditions continues until Thursday evening at the Cow Palace, located at 2600 Geneva Ave. in Daly City.

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Thousands of singers confident that they have that something extra trickled through Daly City's Cow Palace doors Wednesday to sign up for their chance to audition later this week for the television music competition "The X Factor."

Registration started at 6 a.m. at the Cow Palace and will continue overnight until Thursday evening, event organizers said.

Friday's auditions will be held for everyone who registered Wednesday and Thursday for the upcoming second season of the American television show produced by Simon Cowell of "American Idol" fame.

Around 11 a.m. Wednesday hundreds of hopefuls crammed into a side lobby area of the convention center as a steady stream of possible contestants exited with their completed paperwork and a ticket for Friday's audition.

One hopeful contestant, Cherronda Gray, posed with her friends in front of a huge truck displaying the "X Factor" logo in the Cow Palace parking lot.

The 42-year-old Richmond resident came across the Bay around 7 a.m. Wednesday and about four hours later was successfully registered for her Friday tryout.

"I'm ready," Gray said. "I'm very serious about singing."

The R&B singer who takes inspiration from gospel music said she took the day off for her first audition for a television show. Her office is supportive of her singing ambitions, she said.

For 23-year-old A.J. Srichantra, of Daly City, Wednesday's registration was one of many he has participated in over the years in his attempt to make it as a contestant for a competitive singing show.

He knows the drill, especially after his attempt to land the "X Factor" in Los Angeles for the show's first season last year. He anticipated the four-hour registration period when he arrived Wednesday at 8 a.m. with his mother -- who has supported him at as many as eight auditions nationwide.

Srichantra, a fifth-year accounting major at San Francisco State University -- who said he sings anything pop mixed with some jazz -- has made it through various stages of auditions for "American Idol" since he was 16 years old.

He has traveled as far as Denver and Seattle to compete for a spot. His mother said she always encourages and supports him wherever the auditions take him.

Twenty-six-year-old Anthony Villanueva also brought his mother to the Bay Area for the nearly two-hour drive from Modesto as he uses the "X Factor" auditions as a launching point for a new start on life.

The father of two young children said he felt "I had to do this" and that he wasn't nervous because "this for me is a big opportunity. I've been dreaming about this for so long."

Villanueva said last summer he was the victim of a home invasion robbery that shook him up. He quit his job and became what he called a "stay-at-home mom" with his 5-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter, a role in which he has time to dream big about making it big.

The Modesto resident said he cannot wait until Friday, "I'm so pumped up."

Registration continues until Thursday evening at the Cow Palace, located at 2600 Geneva Ave. in Daly City.

"The X Factor" auditions are also being held in Kansas City, Mo.; Austin, Texas; Greensboro, N.C.; and Providence, R.I.

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