'X Factor's' Drew Ryniewicz: Chino Valley teen talks about ascent to fame
By MATT SANTOS
Originally Published: October 28, 2011 10 p.m.
Joining the likes of Sting, Cher, and Madonna, Drew Ryniewicz of Chino Valley is now known simply as "Drew" and, on Oct. 26, made the final three on TV talent show "X Factor."With her soulful rendition of "What a Feeling" from the "Flashdance" soundtrack, Drew, 14, joined co-competitors Melanie Amaro, 19, and 13-year-old Rachel Crow in making it to the next round of the competition.Simon Cowell - contestant mentor and show creator - stated several times throughout Tuesday's show that he would be faced with one of the most difficult decisions he's had to make in choosing which two of the remaining five contestants in the female performers category he would have to let go. When the moment came, Cowell reversed himself, saying, "This is the easiest decision I've had to make. My first girl through is Drew."During a break from her rehearsal and performance schedule in Los Angeles, Drew took some time to update the quad-city area on her "X Factor" experience so far.With only two other contestants left in her category, who is Drew's biggest competition? "I honestly feel that Melanie could be my biggest competition," Drew said. "Simon saved her, he obviously loves her, and wants her on the show for a reason. He knows that America will also want her." In a previous show, Cowell said he had made a mistake in dismissing Amaro and brought her back into the competition. As "X Factor" judges are known for being brutally honest with the contestants - and each other - Drew admitted it can be a little intimidating to face them. Is there a judge who is more intimidating than the rest? "I'd have to say Simon," she said. "He's my mentor so I want to impress him, plus I've been following him for so long. But also L.A. Reid. He signs people and the people he signs have become the biggest artists, the biggest stars. He knows what's going to sell."Tuesday's show was this season's first live performance. Drew said her process remained the same. "Performing is performing. I wanted to stay in my comfort zone and do something that Simon would like."While other contestants opted for large production numbers, including back-up dancers, elaborate costumes and lighting effects - one prompting a comment from Reid that the only thing missing was the kitchen sink - Drew's performance was very subdued and intimate, which she said she prefers. As she and Cowell work together planning the performance, her opinion is valued. "He doesn't want me to be uncomfortable, so I have a lot of input," she said. "I really like it to be just me and the microphone, but I can't wait to try things with the lights and the dancers later in the show."Her "X Factor" experience so far has been an education in the industry, the judges being her professors. "I really focus on what they are saying. It was unbelievable that they were directing those comments at me," Drew said. "As judges, they don't just give out any kind of comments; they say what they believe." The biggest lesson so far has been to avoid getting caught up in the "star" mentality. "I have learned that becoming a diva is so easy to fall into. I am never going to let that happen to me - ever," she said. "I have to remember that when something goes wrong right before you go on stage, with your hair or your make-up, something that really bothers you, it's going to carry over into your performance. You can't let that kind of stuff bother you. "If you have make-up on one eye and not the other, that shouldn't bother you. That's where people want to become a diva, and who wants to watch that?"Reid summed up Drew's appeal Tuesday, remarking, "You're the whole package. You are a star."The "X Factor" competition continues at 7 p.m. Wednesday on Fox.