Wall High School senior Cari Fletcher continues to defy odds and has survived the latest cut on Simon Cowell's new talent show X Factor, which aired Tuesday.
Fletcher, 17, is part of a group of women singers going under the name "Lakoda Rayne.'' The group made the latest cut and will continue to compete on the show as part of the final 16 acts. The remaining acts will perform live in the next round of the show.
It is a long way from an audition process in Newark earlier this year where thousands of singers tried out for a chance to be on the show.
Paula Abdul, judging the groups in the competition, gave Fletcher and the group some constructive criticism before announcing they had made the cut to go on to the next round.
"We sensed an energy that was off," Abdul said. "I need more joy out of your performances. You’ve got beautiful smiles, I want to see them. That’s what lacking for me."
But Abdul said she was confident that the group could pull it together.
"I think you could make history,'' she said. "I'm selecting you to go forward with me.''
The grand prize of the show, recorded earlier this year, is a $5 million recording contract and a spot on a commercial to be shown on next year's Super Bowl.
Fletcher, 17, was cut from a previous round of competition as a solo artist, but in a surprise twist was grouped with three other woman singers who were also eliminated from the competition. Together, they became the final act in the group's category to continue in the competition.
That competition took place at the home of X Factor judge Paula Abdul at her estate in Santa Barbara, Calif., who was judging the groups in the competition.
The group sang Lady Gaga's hit "Born This Way,'' for Abdul, who was assisted in this round by singer Pharrell. Only four of the eight acts in the groups category moved on to the next round.
Following their performance shown last week, some of the singers said that something didn't feel right, but hoped the judges would take into account their short time together as a group.
"Over the time we've spent together, each day we've progressed and gotten better and better and better,'' Fletcher said in a pre-recorded interview prior to Abdul's annoucement.
Video footage of the group practicing earlier this year at Fletcher's Wall Township was aired on the show last week. It was shot by Wall High School graduate and filmmaker Ryan Hutchins.
Fletcher's parents, contacted previously, have said they are barred from speaking to the press for the duration of the show.