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Ellona Santiago Tops the Finals for ‘The X-Factor’ USA 2013

Ellona Santiago (Photo courtesy of Ellona)

Ellona Santiago (Photo courtesy of Ellona)

She is definitely making her way to stardom. The girl who came from a small town in Cavite City, Philippines, whose name sounds as alluring as her personality. ELLONA RANO SANTIAGO, 17 years old was born on August 1, 1996. She’s the youngest daughter of Jose and Veronica Santiago. Her family came to the United States when she was only 11 months old and settled in San Lorenzo, California, East of San Francisco Bay Area. She has three older sisters namely Julierose, Olien, and Shalimar. Though she was just a baby when she came in the US, amazingly, Ellona can speak fluent Tagalog (Filipino’s common language) with no accent and can also speak three other languages – English, French and Spanish. A very smart girl indeed, who already knows how to plan her life accordingly.

Ellona loves to sing since she was 3 years old. She would sing Jessa Zaragoza’s “Bakit pa” each time her Dad Joe plays it over and over in the car when they go for long rides. She would also be asked to sing in small gatherings and events for the Filipino community. She’s inspired to sing mostly Beyonce songs. When she turned 14, she joined a contest in San Francisco, CA which was called the “ICHIBAN IDOL” where she was the champion. After that, their friends encouraged them to join the new show Simon Cowell was producing at that time and was conducting an audition in Los Angeles, CA.

Ellona Satiago on her performance at the ‘XFactor’ Season 3 Episode 8. (Photo Credit: XFactor USA)

Ellona Santiago on her performance at the ‘XFactor’ Season 3 Episode 8. (Photo Credit: XFactor USA)

The First Season of the X-Factor started in September of 2011 where Ellona was only 14 years old when she auditioned for the first time. She joined solo but failed to make it on her own, so in boot camp she was re-accepted as part of a group. That group was called ‘InTENsity’ created by Simon Cowell, composed of ten singers from those who got into the finals. Paula Abdul was their mentor at that time. When Ellona didn’t make it in the Finals, she was so devastated, and decided not to audition for the following Season. Ellona then concentrated on her studies while her buddy Erin Ray from the group ‘inTENsity’ joined solo on the ‘Xfactor’ second season and finished in 10th place with Britney Spears as his mentor.

The ‘X-Factor’ show is an American Singing competition looking for new talents to be groomed as the new singing sensation who has that unique quality with a strong and unpredictable influence to the public. The winner gets a $5 Million Dollar contract with Epic Records. The contest is broken down into four categories: the Group, the Boys, the Girls and Over 25 years old. During the audition, they pick contestants to join the boot camp. On the first day of boot camp, they have to prepare their song and dance numbers choreographed in groups of 10 and performs in front of the Judges. On Day 2, the acts are brought in front of the judges as part of one of three groups. One gets eliminated in a group, leaving 100 acts still in the competition. On Day three, all 64 acts performs at the judges. Then they are given a list of 35 songs at the end of the day and asked to choose one song that will best represent them. Each group is assigned to a mentor, which is also one of the judges.

Ellona Santiago singing “Till The World Ends” with backup dancers on ‘Xfactor’ season 3, Episode 11. (Photo Credit: XFactor USA)

Ellona Santiago singing “Till The World Ends” with backup dancers on ‘Xfactor’ season 3, Episode 11. (Photo Credit: XFactor USA)

This year, Ellona decided to join the X-Factor Season 3 audition which happened in March, when her friend Erin Ray encouraged her. There were close to 20,000 contestants who auditioned this year. Kelly Rowland described Ellona’s audition as “UNEXPECTED” as she was a very shy and modest girl at first but had put in so much fierceness and passion into her song, when she sang “Wings” by Little Mix. Judge and mentor Simon Cowell said to  Elonna that she was the contestant he wanted to work with the most. Simon Cowell did not recognize her until she told him that she was from ‘InTENsity’ and that he referred to her as “the girl in the red jacket”.

Last Tuesday, October 29, 2013, the judges in the ‘X-Factor’ show was blown away with her pitch-perfect rendition of “Till The World Ends” topping it with her perfect and sexy dance moves. She received a standing ovation. The panel of judges which consist of Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio were all amazed at her performance. She’s a pro! Demi Lovato even called her “the True Diva” and Kelly Rowland said “She’s the one to watch.” Judge Simon Cowell says that he strongly believes that she was probably the best voice that the girl category has ever had.

 I want to thank all my supporters and especially my fellow Kababayans for all the support and hopefully you’ll be able to watch me on my journey,

Ellona said, “please, please vote for me, because my fate is in your hands. Without your votes and without your support I wouldn’t be here right now.”

As I was doing my interview with Ellona, she was also preparing to take her SAT test the following morning at the Beverly Hills High School. She is now in her senior year at Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo, CA, and gets pretty excited when asked how she feels about it. She made it a point that she will continue to study while competing for ‘the X-Factor’.

“Be original, be you, be true to yourself and be humble….” are her parting words.

On November 6, 2013 – Wednesday at 8pm on Fox is the Finals for the X-Factor. The contestants will be singing Live and the audience now has the power to decide who they want to win by voting. Ellona is asking her fellow Kababayans to vote for her. She is the next pride of the Philippines and our flag carrier. Please follow her on the following sites to get more information on how to vote for her. TWITTER: @ellonasantiago, INSTAGRAM: @ellonasantiago, FACEBOOK: and on YOUTUBE: If you need more information you may also contact any of the Power ng Pinoy team by going to our website at

Let us show the whole world what the Pinoys are all about.

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