For close to 10 weeks, Perth songbird Samantha Jade endured a popularity battle on The X Factor that was tougher than any other top-12 contestant had to face.
Each week, Jade struggled to come to terms with criticism that she had already “had her chance” at a music career, having moved to Los Angeles six years ago after signing with US record label Jive, though the deal later fell through.
But it didn’t stop there — the 25-year-old was then brought down by haters via social networking who accused her of having an advantage over the other acts because of her friendship with mentor Guy Sebastian.
However, despite being the only top-12 performer to land in the bottom two least-voted acts three times over, the Morley-raised singer proved to be a relentless fighter, and has secured a place in this week’s grand final.
As a big supporter of Jade, both as a friend and performer, Sebastian believed it was her persistent attitude that cemented her spot in the finals.
“I think the turning point for her was she sang Scream by Usher and as a mentor and as a friend, I saw glimpses of who she used to be when she was a really young girl and had that confidence,” Sebastian told AAA.
“Sometimes life beats that out of you, especially when you have so many, I guess, failures. She just had no life left in her and it’s been awesome to see her find that again and go ‘You know what, I can do this’. And that’s what we’ve seen, someone who has grown as a person.”
Though Sebastian has also had to deal with an onslaught of negativity surrounding his and Jade’s friendship, the Battle Scars hitmaker maintained that it had nothing to do with her getting into the top 12.
“People say we’re mates, I mean I know her, but it’s not like we’ve grown up together and hang out every weekend,” he explained.
“I met her many years ago in Sweden on a songwriting thing and we’ve kind of just remained industry friends and reconnected about a year or so ago.
“I think when you hear Sammy sing and you compare her to a lot of people that we’ve seen in the competition, you can’t honestly say that I’m going to put someone through just because I know them, I’m not dumb. She obviously had to be a good singer and you can’t argue with her voice, it’s awesome.”
While he acknowledges that pairing with Jade has worked against her, he hoped their honesty about their relationship would make people see that there was never anything to hide.
“It was probably the worst thing that I got her, people were thinking ‘Oh she’s just in there because she knows Guy’, so we wanted to be honest, I wasn’t going to hide that I did know her,” he said.
“But I’m glad people have been able to see through that and go ‘Hang on, she’s pretty amazing’.”
Sebastian insists that Jade — who flew to Perth with him last Thursday for a one-day visit and performed at Westfield Whitford City Shopping Centre in front of a 1000-strong crowd — is as humble as they come.
“She was in the car having an anxiety attack thinking there would be 20 people (waiting at Whitford) and so I just told her the news ... that there’s actually 35.”