Edinburgh Fringe

Emily Wilson is telling all about X-Factor backstage

Emily Wilson. Copyright: Dylan Woodley

Emily Wilson chat about reaching the finals of X-Factor USA when she was 15 years-old and baring all the backstage details with a mix of stand-up, original music and archival footage.

After auditioning for one of the biggest talent shows in the world in a duo with her best friend Austin, Emily had her 15-year-old heart set on becoming a superstar. However, there was a major problem. The judges loved Austin... but hated Emily. Despite this, the two reached the finals and now Emily is ready to spill the behind-the-scenes beans, taking her audience through the most embarrassing yet hilarious moments of this nostalgic adventure. After sell-out runs in New York and LA, Emily graces Edinburgh with her presence and talks to us about TV talent show secrets, advice and whether or not she'd like to be a judge herself...

Are talent shows more exciting on television or behind the scenes?

Definitely behind the scenes, but in a bad way. And also a good way. There are so many moving parts, and you're constantly in the dark on what's really going on, and what your fate on the show really is. But you're also on the verge of making your Dreams Come True, which, for a fifteen-year-old? Very, very exciting. It makes the eventual downfall hurt that much more. Haha, what? Who said that?

Are there any moments from your story that still make you outwardly cringe or swear when you remember them?

Oh, all of them :) My entire show is filled with cringeworthy details, and sometimes literal footage to prove it. But in my defence, I don't think there was anything I did in my 15th year of life, on TV or not, that I think about today and go "wow, that was really cool and normal of me."

Emily Wilson

What's the secret to winning a TV talent show?

Trying really hard and believing in yourself! These talent shows are known for being completely democratic, without any larger puppet strings being pulled behind the scenes. If you try and believe enough, you will win!

What's your advice to others who have yet to move past horrendously embarrassing youthful adventures that are broadcast on national television?

I don't like how girl-boss-slay-honey-queen this sounds, but I'd say to own it. It took me a while to come to that conclusion, but I recently realised I'd rather get ahead of making fun of the evidence in my own way than have someone stumble upon it themself on an internet deep dive. So basically, just write a one-woman-show where you showcase the entire experience - that's the quick & easy fix!

Would you go back on reality TV? Be a Judge? Run for President?

No, no and no. Scarred for life vibes. However, if anyone makes a movie about one of these shows, I would LOVE to be cast as a judge. I've been working on my Nicole Scherzinger impression and... yeah. It's hauntingly good...


Emily Wilson: Fixed is at the Pleasance Courtyard (Beneath) at 10.25pm from 3 to 29 August (not 17). pleasance.co.uk

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