‘X Factor’s’ Willie Jones Talks Being Hustled by Tate Stevens, Misunderstood by Nick Jonas

Jethro Nededog / October 17, 2012

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Back during open auditions on FOX’s The X Factor, judge Demi Lovato remarked that he looked “very Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” But, Willie Jones wasn’t there to rap. He was there to drop some masterful country R&B.

It’s a pretty startling mix for some – even guest mentor Nick Jonas thought that Jones should choose one or the other style, but the contender refuses to be pinned down to one musical style.

“That’s what I’m going for, the whole R&B-soul-country, like maybe I’m going to add a little hip-hop in somewhere later on down the line if I continue,” the 17-year-old says. “But, you know it’s just my style and this is where I want to be as an artist. So, I don’t understand where he was coming from. But, I just have to embrace myself and my style because at the end of the day I’m the one performing.”

Jones had a rough time during Boot Camp when he forgot they lyrics. What did he say about the fumble?

Jones was paired with 37-year-old Tate Stevens, who chose Tony Rich’s 1996 hit, “Nobody Knows,” a song the teenager wasn’t familiar with. And after he forgot the lyrics, the judges wondered if Stevens had hustled him.

“I guess I’m kind of naïve,” the Shreveport, La. native tells us. “I guess I’ve just got to open my eyes up more and watch out because this is a competition. But, it happens you know. I guess Tate did hustle me but, hey, life goes on.”

And go on Jones did. Despite messing up on his song, he moved on to become a member of Team Demi. He even had the bright idea of singing the same song he had fouled up on in the previous round, this time killing it.

“It was like I redeemed myself,” he says. “It was just a light for me to actually go through with singing this song, because I know that‘s what people look back on. It just took a lot of courage and, you know, a lot of confidence for me to step back up and do a song that I bombed miserably, you know? But, I’m glad I made that decision because I feel like I proved something to myself and I can do anything.”

It remains to be seen if Lovato thought the performance was redeeming enough to take him along to the live shows after this week.

The X Factor airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 PM on FOX.

Do you think Willie should move on? Tell us in the comments section below.

Watch a super preview of this week’s Judges’ Homes decisions.

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