By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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For one, Emblem3, made up of Wesley, brother Keaton Stromberg and longtime friend Andrew Chadwick — all Sequim natives now living in Southern California — garnered enough audience votes to keep them in the top three of the Fox network musical competition reality show “The X Factor.”
Secondly, “X Factor” judge and music entrepreneur Simon Cowell hinted to reporters after last Thursday’s results episode that he would be interested in signing Emblem3 to Syco Entertainment — Cowell’s record label — if the band doesn’t take first prize on the competition show, according to Billboard magazine.
Thursday night’s nationally televised results kept Emblem3 in contention for the grand prize, a $5 million contract with Sony Entertainment, with the band next performing on this Wednesday’s episode, set to air at 8 p.m. on Fox affiliate KCPQ-TV, channel 13.
The results of a subsequent round of viewer voting will be revealed the next night, same time and same channel.
Laraine Larson, the mother of the Stromberg boys who moved to California with them in 2011 to help manage their band, said getting signed to Cowell’s record label would be a “release and a reward for all the hard work they’ve put in over the year.”
Larson was at the surprise birthday party thrown for Wesley last Thursday and didn’t fail to notice one particular attendee standing among those gathered for the celebration.
“And Simon Cowell was right there singing ‘Happy Birthday’ along with the crowd,” Larson said.
Kristy Sallee, Sequim resident and mother to Chadwick, said the band getting a record deal with Cowell would be huge, adding that she has the highest hopes for the trio as “The X Factor” winds down.
“I’m hoping next year it will be the American Music Awards,” Sallee said.
Audience votes held Emblem3 in the third spot of “The X Factor” rankings last week after the trio sang “Forever Young,” made famous by Rod Stewart, and Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are,” Larson said.
Larson said the buzz around Emblem3 is that the trio will make it to the final three, who will all perform during the Dec. 19 episode, with the winner chosen the next night.
“It’s up to the public,” Larson said. “Emblem3’s fate is in their hands.”
Both Larson and Sallee said the band did an amazing job during last week’s performances, adding that they were both thrilled to see Chadwick get the chance to play his acoustic guitar during “Just the Way You Are.”
“I liked the unplugged [song] because I feel like that’s who they are,” Sallee said.
Larson, whose sons Wesley and Keaton play guitar and bass, respectively, said the trio hasn’t played their instruments or sung an original song of their own since they first auditioned for “The X Factor,” adding that she hopes this will be remedied by the time Emblem3 is done on the show.
“We’re hoping in the final performance, which would be on [Dec. 19], that they all get to play an original,” Larson said.
Throughout their career on “The X Factor” and their year or so in California, the guys of Emblem3 haven’t forgotten where they come from, Larson said.
“Just because we live in Huntington Beach, the boys still consider Sequim their hometown,” Larson said.
“It’s important for them to have that recognized.”
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.