Grammy-winning blues/R&B singer Etta James, whose songs were considered among the highlights of “The X Factor” U.S. in 2011, has died of complications from leukemia at the age of 73. She passed away on January 20, 2012, at Riverside Community Hospital in Riverside, California.
Two of James’ best-known songs were performed by contestants on “The X Factor” U.S. in 2011:
- “At Last” was performed by second-place finalist Josh Krajcik in his “X Factor” audition and in the show’s 2011 season finale.
- “I’d Rather Go Blind” was performed by fifth-place finalist Rachel Crow twice in the competition, including in her “save me” sing-off between her and contestant Marcus Canty that ultimately ended in Crow’s controversial elimination.
In a post-season finale interview with The Hollywood Reporter on December 22, 2011, Krajcik had this to say about James:
“Etta James is a big inspiration to me as an artist. She, to me, is the epitome of just American soul. And my heart goes out to her and her family. I wish her and her family the best. She was an inspiration to me prior to this competition. But the fact that it’s where I began in this competition and where I decided to end it is a testament of how much she means to me and how much my heart goes out to her.”
Here is what “X Factor” stars have been saying on Twitter about James’ death:
Josh Krajcik (“The X Factor” U.S. 2011 finalist)
“Today, sadly, we lost Ms. Etta James, a blues and R&B legend who was passionately driven by her music. Along w/ countless other musicians & fans worldwide, Ms. James influenced my work as an artist & helped set the standard for years to come. I will always have a strong connection w/ Ms. James & ‘At Last.’ My thoughts are with her entire family during this time.”
Rachel Crow (“The X Factor” U.S. 2011 finalist)
“I’m very sad about Etta James my thoughts and prayers go out to her family.”
Kelly Rowland (“The X Factor” U.K. judge)
“CLASSIC. ONE OF A KIND. PURE SOUL. ETTA JAMES! Thank You for gracing us with your incredible talent & presence!”
Alexandra Burke (“The X Factor” U.S. 2008 winner)
“Omg. RIP Etta James… I’m so sad . So so sad. I have no words.”
Misha Bryan (“The X Factor” U.K. 2011 finalist)
“R.I.P Etta James #LEGEND.”
Craig Colton (“The X Factor” U.K. 2011 finalist)
“RIP Etta James.”