There’s only one Latina on Simon Cowell’s new show, The X-Factor—but Hayley Orrantia (AKA Hayley O), says that’s all we need. The part-Mexican singer, who was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and is a member of the girl group Lakoda Rayne—says she wants to win the whole enchilada for Latinos!
We’re so excited to have a Latina on The X-Factor! Tell us about your Latin roots.
My great grandparents are from Chihuahua, Mexico and my grandfather was born in Solmos, California. I’m only a quarter Hispanic, but I’m very proud of it! We had tamales every Christmas and still do. My grandpa makes them and they’re amazing!
What has your experience on the show been like so far?
The experience has been amazing! It’s hard to wrap my head around it to be honest—because the last thing I remember is singing in my bathroom with a hairbrush and hoping that one day I’d be singing in front of this many people. And then a couple of months later, I’m actually living my dream. It’s really difficult to take in, you know?
Before you auditioned for The X-Factor, did you ever imagine you’d be part of a girl group?
I had thought about being in a girl group before, but I didn’t know what girls to group with. I didn’t know how to go about it. I love being a solo artist—I’ve grown up doing it, and it’s fun—but the moment they put us in the group there was no turning back and I was very excited to be with these girls.
Tell us about the dynamic between you and the other girls. Do you get along?
We’ve actually grown really close and I love hanging out with them. We all hang out together not only to get to know each other, but because we all love each other’s company. I mean, we have other friends that we go have fun with—and we get our alone time—but I love spending time with them.
What’s been your favorite moment on the show so far?
My favorite moment as of now was walking out on that stage during the live performance. The moment we walked out on that stage and saw the audience clapping and singing along with us—it was the greatest feeling, honestly [Laughs].
How have your friends reacted to your being on the show?
My friends have been so supportive. I actually had one of my best friends from elementary school and all through high school come out here for the live show last night. And I get so many Facebook messages and text messages—I got back on my phone last night and I had 52 text messages and they were like “great job!” It’s good to have that kind of support when you’re going through something so crazy.
Which one of the X-Factor judges were you most excited to meet?
It’s actually really cool for me to meet LA Reid, because I’ve always looked up to him and he’s signed some of my favorite artists ever. It’s funny because about a year ago, I had a scheduled meeting with him through one of my old managers, but a blizzard happened so I didn’t get to meet with him. It’s amazing that he’s one of the judges on the show now!
If you could sing any song on the show, what song would you sing?
I love Jessy J so much, so I would sing her new song “Domino.” It’s just a fun, upbeat song and I think it would get the crowd going.
How badly do you want to win the competition?
It would be amazing to win the competition! The girls and I are really taking it step by step right now, because we don’t want to plan too far ahead and get distracted and stressed. But we definitely want to win…for sure.
Oh my god! It would be SO GREAT to be called the “first Latina to win X-Factor!” I mean, seriously—I am proud of my heritage—even though there’s just a little bit of it in me. And it would be so awesome to hear that from people. So yeah!