Seattle singer LeRoy Bell wowed The X Factor judges on Thursday's bootcamp round, and certainly had fans buzzing — but not necessarily about his vocals. Shortly after the former Tacoma, Wash. postman took the stage, Twitter blew up with viewers wondering if babyfaced singer — and his reported age, 59 — were legit.
As Twitter trending topics about Bell continue to take hold, Us Weekly uncovers five need-to-know facts about the overnight sensation competing for The X Factor's $5 million prize.
1. He's got darn good genes. The Washington-based performer may be 59-years-old, but he's not letting his age stop him from going for the grand prize. "They just want 'the X-Factor,'" the singer has said of the show's judges, "which is something that makes you unique or marketable."
2. You may not know his face, but you just might know his music. "I've opened for Sheryl Crow, Joan Osborne, did a bunch of dates with B.B. King — but we just couldn't get past that level of being the opening act for these big names," the father of a 13-year-old son told The Seattle Times of his hard luck past. Among Bell's hits? 1979's "Livin' It Up (Friday Night)," and "Mama Can't Buy You Love," written for Elton John.
3. Speaking of Elton John, Bell has him to thank for helping him break into the biz. John discovered Bell in the late '70s and recorded "Mama Can't Buy You Love," which earned John a Grammy nomination for Best Male R&B Performance. In 2003, the Bell-composed "Are You Ready For Love" was remixed by Fatboy Slim and reached No. 1 chart status in England. Bell, who now performs with his group, LeRoy Bell and His Only Friends, even snagged an A&M Records contract in the '70s.
4. Win or lose, Bell's sure got Paula Abdul's stamp of approval. "Who says at 59 that a dream is not going to come true? I absolutely say 'yes," Abdul told Bell during his first Seattle audition, voting him through to the next round.
5. Being mentored by Nicole Scherzinger makes him slightly nervous. "Even though I've been singing for a long time, I've never sang in front of judges and someone who's going to judge me," Bell — who has opened for acts like LeAnn Rimes and Idina Menzel — told FOX during a bootcamp round interview. "I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a new bump in the road. When most people are retiring, I'm shooting off into a new adventure!"
The X Factor airs Wednesday on FOX.
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