The general impression on British music executive and veteran singing reality competition judge Simon Cowell was that he was a tough judge of talent with some of the meanest put-downs of aspiring contestants that fail to match his standards. But it is also known that when he sees somebody talented from his reckoning, he would support them vigorously. That was how Simon formed a boy band out of failed solo “X-Factor” UK contestants, turning them into One Direction. During the show’s 15th series on ITV in 2018, Cowell extended that same support for talent to Filipina singer Maria Laroco. Though she did not advance in competition, she was not forgotten.
Such was made clear according to The Manila Bulletin, which reports that Simon Cowell has reached out to one of his chosen contestants back in “The X-Factor” UK series 15, asking her to return to the reality show in the future. Maria Laroco has been back in the Philippines since her overseas “X-Factor” campaign, and has already established a recording career for herself. She was actually promoting her single “Pilit Pa Rin” under EMC Entertainment in a press conference in Quezon City this past Tuesday, January 28, when she revealed that Simon had contacted her.
Laroco explained that Cowell reached out to her via telephone call back in 2019 to see if she could come back to “The X-Factor” UK. The season last year had been a special celebrity version, but the singer replied that she would not have been able to join the auditions on time. The “X-Factor” judge was not one to give up however, telling Maria that he would even fly over to the Philippines to arrange for her transport back to the UK if deemed necessary.
While her own personal schedule at the time might not have permitted it, Maria Laroco also remarked at her press-con that she was ready to try it out anew at “The X-Factor” UK this year if she gets another call back, especially if Simon Cowell asked her. “I might really come back (in X Factor UK) if there’s a chance to really go there this 2020,” she said. “I also really want to represent our country in the international contest.”
On the 2018 run of “X-Factor” on ITV, the then-UK student Laroco was picked from audition-deliberation by Simon for his pool of talents (Girls). Visa problems prevented her from joining her fellow contestants on Cowell’s “Judge’s House” period on Malibu. She sang her House performance instead via video link from a studio in London, and was praised for her cover of “Purple Rain” by the late Prince. Laroco was ultimately eliminated, with the final victory going to Jamaican Dalton Harris.
Image from Philippine Entertainment Portal