“The X Factor” U.S. 2011 winner Melanie Amaro is set to perform at the 22nd Annual White Party, a gathering of about 20,000 gay men dressed in white in Palm Springs, California. The 2012 White Party takes place from April 6 to April 9.
Amaro’s performance is on April 8, 2012, at White Party Park, across the street from the Palm Springs Convention Center. She will sing her cover version of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” at the event.
Amaro’s version of “Respect” got massive exposure when she performed the song in a Pepsi commercial that she starred in with Elton John. (The commercial premiered in early February 2012, not long after the song was released for sale as a digital download.) The Pepsi commercial (titled “King’s Court”) had its TV premiere during Super Bowl XLVI, which holds the record for being the most-watched U.S. telecast in TV history (111 million U.S. viewers, according to Nielsen), and the Pepsi ad was televised numerous times since then.
Even with all that exposure, the song was a huge flop on mainstream charts because it failed to make it onto Billboard’s Hot 100 and on iTunes’ Top 100 Songs chart.
The good news is that “Respect” has found a niche audience in dance clubs, which have helped the song become a No. 3 hit on Billboard’s Dance/Club Play Songs chart.
Amaro became the first winner of “The X Factor” U.S. in 2011. As part of the grand prize, she won $5 million, a record deal with a Sony Music label (she is signed to Sony Music’s Syco Music/Epic Records), and a starring role in a Pepsi commercial.
Amaro is working on her first album, but in interviews she has declined to give any details about the album, other than to say that it will have a mixture of upbeat songs and ballads. However, Grammy winner Kuk Harrell revealed in a Hollywood Life interview that he is one of the producers of the album, and he compared Amaro to Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. We’ll have to wait and see if Amaro can even come close to selling as much music as Houston and Carey have, because so far, Amaro’s first post-“X Factor” song to be released for sale has bombed outside of the niche dance community.
Amaro recently spoke to Out magazine about her newfound fan base with dance clubgoers; the latest update on her promise to buy her mother a house with some of the “X Factor” prize money; and whom she found more intimidating: “The X Factor” executive producer Simon Cowell (who was her mentor on the show) or her Pepsi commercial co-star John. Here is an excerpt from the interview:
You’ve sung for both Elton John and for Simon Cowell. Who was more intimidating?
You know, after getting to know Simon, really getting to know him, he wasn’t intimidating. He was like big papa bear. It was always like, I get to sing for big papa bear. I think that Elton John was more intimidating. I was nervous and kept thinking, “I really hope he likes my voice,” and “I hope he doesn’t think my song is terrible.”
When you won X Factor, you said you were going to buy your mom a house. How is the house shopping?
My mom, she has a pride. Trying to buy my mother a house is like trying to pull teeth. I’d say, “What do you think of this house? It’s got five bedrooms and a pool!” and she’d say, “I appreciate it so much but I’m happy in the house I’m in. You should concentrate on your music and your career. You should buy yourself a house first.” I love my mother so much. She just wants the best for me. I just want the best for her too.
The White Party Palm Springs is an epic event. Are you ready?
I’m excited. I’m ready. I’m looking forward to getting out there, singing for everyone and to hear the reaction of the crowd. I’m gonna sing “Respect.” It’s amazing that the song has been doing so well in the clubs. I’m happy my music is rockin’ the dance floor.