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Round Lake High teen finishes 4th in ‘El Factor X’

BrisilBarros El Factor X | MUNDOFOX

Brisila Barros El Factor X | MUNDOFOX

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Updated: November 12, 2013 3:26AM

A singing career that began in the cafeteria at Round Lake High School almost made it to the winner’s cricle of “El Factor X” for Brisila Barros, whose adventure on the MundoFox program ended earlier this month with a fourth-place finish.

The Round Lake sophomore returned home last Saturday, Sept. 7, and has tried settling back into the life of a teen after spending five weeks in Mexico City singing before spectators, judges and cameras on the “X Factor” spinoff.

“I have a lot of homework to catch up on,” she said on Monday, after returning home from her first day of school. “The homework they sent me didn’t make it. But I’ll have my brother and sister to help me.”

It was the urging of her siblings that started her on the path to competitive singing. She recalled that at last year’s homecoming week at Round Lake High, her older sister, Barbara, encouraged her to sing Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” during a karaoke event in the cafeteria.

The experience, she said, helped her discover that, unlike most people, she has no issues singing before a crowd of strangers.

“I used to be really shy and couldn’t sing in front of anybody,” she said. “But for some reason, I can’t sing in front of one person. I have to sing in front of a bunch of people. I’m more comfortable that way.”

That moment of clarity, she said, led to her competing for a spot on “La Voz Kids” — Telemundo’s version of NBC’s “The Voice” — when it came to Chicago earlier this year. Though she fell short, the connections she made led directly to her audition this summer for “El Factor X” in New York City.

By August, she was one of five female finalists in the 12- to 15-year-old age bracket, competing against not only her peers but also boys in the same age group, along with children aged 8 to 11 and groups of two or more singers.

As she survived eliminations based on fan voting and judges’ scores, Barros peformed her versions of songs like “Hero” by Mariah Carey and “The Way” by Ariana Grande. She admits that there were times she felt overwhelmed by the whirlwind.

“There was a lot of pressure. It was so strict,” she said.

“I got really bad stomach pains because I felt so much pressure. There was a point when I didn’t think I could handle it anymore. I missed my parents and brothers and sister.”

Fortunately, though her family was 2,000 miles away, Skype helped close the distance. “I talked to them every day,” she said, “and they told me not to give up.”

In the end, Barros’ journey ended in the semifinals, with a trio of 9- and 10-year-old boys — Las Tres Charritos — winning the competition. Barros took the results in stride, pointing out that the victors came into the fan-based format with some advantages.

“They had three different communities voting for them, three different families, three different groups of friends,” she said. “I knew I wasn’t going to win.”

But she still came away with a possible recording deal along with her memories.

And as her brother Brian Barros pointed out, she came a long way from the halls of Round Lake High School.

“They started with thousands and thousands of singers,” he said, “and she made it to fourth place, so that’s pretty good.”

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