Restless Road may have surprised the nation on Tuesday when the country group performed a pop song on Fox’s “The X Factor,” but that was the plan.
Zach Beeken, 17, of Indiana, a member of Restless Road, said the band’s goal was to “take a pop song, or a song sung by a girl, and make it in to a cool country song.”
They did just that, performing “Roar” by Katy Perry — with a country, three-part twist.
The band’s performance of the song gained praise from the show’s creator, Simon Cowell, who is the mentor for all group competitors on the show.
“Simon gave us a list of songs he wanted us to look at,” Beeken said. “We practiced them all and got to the studio and recorded them all. His first choice was ‘Roar’ … it was really, really cool.”
The group spent about two weeks before Tuesday’s performance, called “amazing” by Demi Lovato, preparing for the show. They met several times with Cowell before the performance.
“It was really nice to get to work with him,” Beeken said. “He’s really involved and really invested in us.”
Viewers of the show were then shocked again at Cowell’s reaction of the performance, when he told the group comprised of Beeken, Colton Pack and Andrew Scholz, that they had a chance to make it to the final round of the singing-competition show.
“You’ve got tremendous talent,” Cowell said on the live show.
“I was really happy to hear that Simon was pleased with us,” Beeken said. “You can’t ask for anything more really — we were happy to make him proud.”
For the season’s first live broadcast of the show on Tuesday, judges were required to tell one of their own acts to go home. The four judges are now mentors to three competitors each, with Cowell being the mentor for the group acts: Restless Road, Sweet Suspense, and Alex and Sierra. A fourth group, RoXxy Montana, was eliminated on Tuesday’s show.
Back home in Indiana, Beeken’s family and friends are proudly supporting him on the show. An “X Factor Watch Party” was held The Coney during the live show Tuesday. Although Beeken’s family has not been able to make it to Los Angeles, Beeken said they would try to come for next week’s performance. The show airs next week at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, when the contestants will perform, and again on Thursday, when at least one contestant will be eliminated from the competition.
As far as next week’s performance, Restless Road is already working on the song they’ll perform. Because of show regulations, Beeken is not able to say what song the band will perform. He did, however, say the band has two songs they really like that they’re considering.
“It’s hard picking songs … that are going to please the most people,” Beeken said. “There’s always a strategy behind it.”
Beeken said a concern of the band’s when they choose a pop song to perform is that viewers will see them as “fake country singers.”
Voting for contestants of the show takes place following the show on Wednesday. Viewers can vote for Restless Road by visiting www.thexfactorusa.com/vote or by downloading the mobile app.