David Zurawik

Paige Elizabeth: Someone for Baltimore to cheer on 'The X Factor'

Paige Elizabeth, an 18-year-old day-care worker from Perry Hall, is getting a crash course in the power of television and instant fame.

Two weeks ago, a brief clip of her audition singing Lady Gaga’s “You & I” aired on Simon Cowell’s “The X Factor,” and she was up all night answering Facebook messages from current and old friends.

“The response I’m getting on Facebook from my friends and old friends has been crazy,’ she said last week. “Just the first night when my audition aired, I had something like 250 wall posts within and hour. It was ridiculous. And I had to write back to every single one of them, because I felt bad if I didn’t. So, I had to stay up so late to make sure everyone got an answer. But it’s crazy.”

And then there are the kindergarten and elementary school age kids she works with in Perry Hall.

“The kids went nuts when I came in the day after my audition aired,” she says. “I mean, they didn’t know I’d be on. No one told them. But they were all up to watch it – they were just watching the show, and they went nuts when they saw me the next day. And I was like, ‘Do you guys stay up that late to watch the show?’ They are definitely watching now.”

The audition, which resulted in all four judges voting yes for Elizabeth, advanced her with 161 others to a boot camp in Los Angeles where they continued to receive professional training while they continued to compete.

Thursday night, Cowell and the other judges drastically downsized the field to 32, and Elizabeth made the cut – albeit in a slightly different form.

The contestants who survived were put in four categories where they will be mentored by the judges: Boys, Girls, Over 30s and Groups. Elizabeth is now part of a four member female group named Lakoda Rayne. Her group will be mentored by Paula Abdul, one of the four judges. Besides Cowell, the other two are record producer L.A. Reid and Nicole Scherzinger, former lead singer of the Pussy Cat Dolls.

Also advancing Thursday night was Marcus Canty, a 20-year-old singer from Bowie. He’s competing in the “Boys” category.

The press materials from Fox show Perry listed as Paige Elizabeth Ogle, but in our interview, she said she goes by the name Paige Elizabeth. And while her audition tape and press materials from Fox identified her as a secretary, she says that is “wrong.” According to Elizabeth, she works in “day care” at Perry Hall Elementary. She is a graduate of Perry Hall High School.

Like most contestants in reality, contest or game shows that are already taped, Elizabeth is limited in terms of what she can talk about. The idea is that she not give anything away.

While she says she hopes her performances on “The X Factor” will lead to a singing career, she deftly dodged several questions aimed teasing out how far viewers will see her go on the show.

After the first season ends, will she still be working in day care?

“Hopefully not,” she says tentatively. “But I do love my kids,” she adds quickly.

And, for the next few weeks at least, the kids will continue to feel they’ve got a TV rock star looking after them.

“The X Factor” airs at 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday on WBFF (Channel 45).

Here's a link to Elizabeth's audition video.

If the software is working, see the video here: