Whatever Happened To Panda Ross? Simon Cowell’s ‘X Factor’ Boo Speaks
A few weeks ago on "The X Factor," a lovable lady by the marquee-worthy name of Panda Ross captured America's hearts--and seemingly the heart of her longtime crush, Simon Cowell--with her huge personality and huge voice. "You sound like a legend," Simon told Panda, before he and his fellow judges unanimously decided to advance her to the Boot Camp rounds.
And then...Panda was never heard nor seen on TV again. America never got another piece of Panda. "The X Factor's" Boot Camp episodes continued, as the contestants were whittled down from 120 to 60 to 24, but Panda's "Fandas" didn't get another chance to see Panda perform, nor did they ever find out what exactly had happened to her. Considering that the last time Panda appeared on the show, she was being wheeled away from her audition by paramedics (due to a pneumonia relapse), viewers had to wonder--and worry--if she'd even made it safely to Boot Camp in the first place.
Panda Ross today
Panda Ross today
"I'm so glad that you asked that question, because I'm wondering the same thing. Like, what happened?" says Panda in an exclusive Reality Rocks interview, discussing her bizarre lack of screentime this season. "But to be honest, my friend kind of pre-warned me that I might not get shown much. She said, 'Panda, don't get upset if you don't see yourself on TV, because you have a personality that's larger than life. So if they were to continue to show you on the show--and you're not the person that they're hoping to have win--they wouldn't want it to turn from the X Factor Show to the Panda Ross Show!'"
So here's what all the Panda Fandas watching at home didn't get to see: First, Panda performed a Boot Camp solo of Jennifer Hudson's "Love You I Do," which she basically turned into a serenade for her number-one "boo," Simon. "I had Simon as red as...I don't know, I'm just trying to think of the shiniest red thing I can think of! I just did the Panda Ross thing," she laughs. This was enough to get Panda through to the next stage, at which point the remaining contestants sang in groups. (Note: Hardly any of this season's Boot Camp group performances, by any of the contestants, were aired.) Panda remembers that she was completely unfamiliar with her group's number--shockingly, the Beatles' "With A Little Help From My Friends"--and that she "felt crazy because everybody knew that song, and I had to stay up all night to learn it. But I did awesome with it. I made sure that I threw a little classic Panda Ross in it. I took my hair down, and when it came time for me to sing the line, 'Could it be anybody,' I was looking straight towards Simon. I walked off and I was like, 'I nailed it!'"