Emblem3, out of ‘X Factor’ contention, may come home to Sequim for the holidays
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Keaton Stromberg, Drew Chadwick and Wesley Stromberg, from left, of Emblem3 attend an “The X-Factor” viewing party in Los Angeles before their elimination was announced Thursday. -- Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision via The Associated Press

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — With competing on Fox TV’s “The X Factor” now in its rearview mirror, the Sequim-born Emblem3 has the whole world in front of trio — including a possible trip back to its home town for the holidays.

Laraine Claire, band manager and mom of two-thirds of the trio, said Friday, however, that Emblem3 needs to stay in California until at least this Thursday for the “The X Factor” season finale and results show.

“They’re so looking forward to connecting with their roots on the Peninsula,” said Claire, mother to Wesley and Keaton Stromberg, who comprise the band with long-time friend Andrew Chadwick.

Kristy Sallee, Chadwick’s mother, said her son expressed a similar desire to return to Sequim for the holidays, with Sallee especially hoping she and Chadwick can continue a family tradition and go snowboarding at Stevens Pass on Christmas Day.

Sallee said she’s well aware, however, that not even Emblem3 knows exactly what its future holds.

“Right now, they have no idea what’s going to happen,” Sallee said.

Emblem3 found its out of contention on “The X Factor” after viewer votes pushed ensemble act Fifth Harmony ahead of the trio and into the show’s finale.

Claire said she couldn’t help but be surprised at the results, adding that she and Emblem3 had the feeling that the trio would at least end up in third place after the finale.

“It was quite shocking, actually,” Claire said. “We were actually quite content with that third place projection.”

Claire said she remembered this thought popping into her head as stood backstage at “The X Factor” studios and watched, along with millions of TV viewers, as viewer votes from the night before were revealed.

Sallee echoed Claire’s sentiment, saying Emblem3 nailed its performances of the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” and Peter Frampton’s “Baby, I Love Your Way” during last Wednesday’s performance show.

“It sickened me, because I didn’t think Fifth Harmony was as good as Emblem3,” Sallee said.

Despite their strong initial feelings, both Claire and Sallee said they also felt a wave of relief and release wash over them on behalf of their sons, both knowing that “The X Factor” decision meant that Emblem3 is now free to re-focus on original songs and connect with the estimated millions of fans that regular appearances on national TV have brought the group.

“The boys are perfectly fine and happy with [the results],” Claire said.

“‘The X Factor’ was a platform for them to get exposure.”

Sallee said she got the same feeling from her son over the phone as they talked after the results were revealed, saying that she and Chadwick soon were able to make light of the situation.

“We were joking around about it, and then he said, ‘Mom, I love you and no matter what; it’s going to be fine,’” Sallee said.

“In reality, it’s a great thing.”

“A great thing” might be an understatement.

With at least one potential record deal possibly on the table through “The X Factor” judge Simon Cowell, Claire said she wouldn’t be surprised if a bidding war broke out for Emblem3 among other big-name record labels, including Epic Records, the label of L.A. Reid, another judge on the show.

Whatever the future might hold for the Sequim-bred trio — including a possible world tour with fellow “The X Factor” contestants — Claire said the group members’ near future includes rest and a chance to reconnect with each other and focus on rehoning their skills on their respective musical instruments.

“They just want to sit and jam with their guitars,” Claire said.

“That’s what got them there in the first place; just doing it hours and hours on end.”

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 15. 2012 5:37PM
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