The M Factor: It's Now or Never

Love and war do not mix well together.

The M Factor competition is all-out war, as talented people from all over the continent compete for the chance of a lifetime. I still don't know how I am even here, among the talented.

Love isn't something that you could merely push away. It isn't a feeling you could just ignore. Which is why I struggle between the balance of love and war.

Which will win in the end?

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1. The Judges Are Ready For You

 "The judges are now ready for you."

 

    Six words. Six small words. How can six small words cause such an immense change in my life? I looked up at the woman smiling back at me, wires streaming down from her headset which lay perched atop her rusty red, disheveled hair. She gave me an encouraging smile, as if that was going to change anything. As if that grin could drain away all of my doubts and fears. All I could to was muster up a responding smile.

 

    "Honey, you can do this," my mum assured me, resting her jewelry-covered hand upon my bony shoulder. I looked into my mom's hazel eyes, searching for some kind of truth. An answer. She matted down my auburn hair, the beam still glued to her face. 

 

    "Addie Carter?" the same red-headed lady from before called. I spun around to face her, as she was repeatedly pointing to the entrance of the stage. 

 

    "You'll do great, Addie." Mum promised, wrapping me in a warm embrace. I hugged her back, grasping on the last moment before the audition. Before I knew my fate. 

 

    "Addie Carter!" the woman's voice echoed through the backstage for the second time, this one a bit more agitated. 

 

    "Coming!" I called out, then recoiled when I realized my voice was shaky. Great- just what I needed. I sauntered over to the lady and looked at her with expectant eyes.

 

   The red-head guided me through the bustling crew, and pointed to three stairs that carried you onto the stage. 

 

   "Good luck," the red-head insinuated, giving me a thumbs-up. I flashed a tiny smile, but couldn't hold it. I reluctantly strolled up the steps- glancing at my mum for some kind of encouragement. She smiled widely at me, and I beamed- for real this time- in hopes that maybe this will have a good ending. 

 

   I was met with a man, about my dad's age, who handed me a microphone which read "The M Factor" in huge, bright red letters. Suddenly, the curtains burst open and a woman about 30 years-old, came out crying. She allowed the stage lights to flood through, but only until the two flaps dropped down. She wiped her eyes in tears of sadness, knowing that her dream had been crushed- squashed like mashed potatoes.  

 

    "You're on," the man muttered in signal. Oh God. 

 

    "Wait, I-" I stammered, before he gave me a gentle nudge, pushing me through the curtains. I stumbled on stage, and decided to play it off nonchalantly, trotting to stand directly in front of the judges. Seeing them all in their glory, I marveled at Louis Walsh, Tulisa Contostalvos, Gary Barlow, and Nicole Scherzinger. They were all wearing smiling faces, their aura sending off that they were waiting for something good. 

 

    "Hello," Tulisa practically sang into her microphone in front of her. 

 

   "Hi," I squeaked into my microphone, regretting it the moment it slipped out. 

 

   "And what's your name?" Tulisa wondered, as the other judges flipped through the papers strewn in front of them. 

 

   "Addison Carter," I replied, grinning nervously. 

 

   "How old are you, Addison? You look pretty young," Nicole spoke up, observing me. 

 

   "I just turned seventeen a week ago," I spoke into the microphone. 

 

   "Wow." Nicole nodded. "Cute clothes."

 

    I glanced down at my leather jacket and a hot pink angel shirt with black leggings and leather boots. "Thanks!"

 

   "No problem. And what will you be singing for us today?"

 

   "Erm... Firework by Katy Perry." 

 

   "The stage is yours," Tulisa announced dramatically, and I noted the energy she had. I flashed a smile to show that I had processed the instructions and waited for the music to begin. Finally, I heard the familiar beat projecting through the massive speakers and throughout the crowd. Already, I saw people nodding their heads to the music, but they were all waiting for me. 

 

    The blinding bright light. The audience's expecting eyes. Watching; waiting. The judges tapping their pen against the desk expectantly. If this didn't test your nerves, I don't know what will. 

 

    Suddenly, my cue approached like a blindside, and instinctively I inhaled and began singing

 

    "Do you ever feel like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind wanting to start again.

 

    There were a few cheers from the audience, but the rest waited until the end, expecting me to crack. I continued singing, staying glued to my spot.  I wanted to move, but fear rooted me to my spot. Nicole tapped her hand and beamed at me politely. 

 

    "You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine. Just own the night like the fourth of July." I sang as well as I possibly could, closing my eyes in concentration and raising my right arm. 

 

    There was a snap in the music, and I dropped my arm and flicked open my eyes, with a new-found confidence. Suddenly, I was back in my room, daydreaming about this moment- all by myself. Except it was actually happening. 

 

    "Cause baby you're a firework!" I sang/screamed, jogging across the stage to the right side of it. I bent my knees and sang to the audience, the people flailing their arms around. With one swift movement, I jogged back to the other side of the stage, keeping my voice steady and not sounding out of breath, waving my arms up with the audience. I skipped back to the center of the stage, remembering to make eye contact with the judges. I wore my grin loud and proud, continuing to wave my arms to the beat. Finally, after what seemed like forever, the song ended, and I smiled expectantly at the judges. They all beamed back. 

 

   "You were a ball of fire!" Tulisa whooped into the microphone, and the audience roared in agreement. "Wow, Addison, you have a terrific voice! I was really shocked- I was expecting a shaky voice when you were running around but you held it completely steady and it was very impressive- so good job."

 

    "Thank you," I heaved. 

 

    "I totally, a-hundred percent agree with Tulisa! You were amazing!" Nicole cheered into the mic, causing the audience to cheer along with her. 

 

    "Thanks," I gushed. 

 

     "Um, well, to be honest, I thought you were too peppy for my liking," Gary commented with a disapproving tone. I didn't let my smile fade, because to be honest, I wasn't discouraged. I was infinite in this moment. Nothing could ruin it. 

 

    "Okay," I nodded, taking the criticism into consideration. The entire audience booed, making my grin grow. 

 

   "First off," Louis said, hushing the crowd. "Can I just point out how well you're taking this criticism?" The audience roared with applause, as I let out a giggle and said my thank you. 

 

   "Second of all, you were just amazing. You've got the M Factor." Louis said. I beamed, predicting where this was going. Could it be?

 

   "So to the voting..." Tulisa said. "Louis?" 

 

   "Yes."

 

   "Nicole?" 

 

   "Absolutely." 

 

   "Gary?" 

 

   "I'm gonna have to say no." 

 

    "Well, I completely disagree with Gary. You're amazing, and your THROUGH!" 

 

    Next, I remembered the audience scream with joy, but I just stood in shock. 

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