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Emblem3: Eliminated, but bigger than ever

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by MATTHEW NASH
Sequim Gazette


After two lauded performances of Peter Frampton’s “Baby I Love Your Way” and The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” on Dec. 12, Sequim’s Emblem3 still didn’t win voters’ hearts last week.

 

Drew Chadwick, 20, and Wesley (19) and Keaton (16) Stromberg  learned their band was out of the running for the top prize in the TV competition “The X Factor” on Dec. 13. After weeks in the top three spots, Emblem3 lost out to Fifth Harmony, a female pop vocal group, Tate Stevens, Carly Rose Soneclar.

 

Keaton Stromberg said the results were surprising to him and the band.

 

“We felt our performances were great, but overall everyone deserves this but whatever happens happens,” he said.

 

The band announced they’ll reappear on the show in the finale at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20, and in the Pepsi pre-show streaming online at www.thexfactorusa.com the night before at 7 p.m.

 

For the performances last week, the Strombergs’ grandparents Bob and Deonne Hanson, their sister Brooke and aunt Karen Griffiths traveled to Los Angeles to see the band perform.

 

“The boys handled themselves quite well,” Deonne Hanson said. “It was hard for them because everyone knows they nailed it. It might be for the better. They’ll be free to do their own thing to record and tour.”

 

Back in Sequim, a small group of family and friends gathered in Kristy Sallee’s (Chadwick’s mom) home for both performances. Sallee said on Thursday she couldn’t resist checking the East Coast results on her phone before the show broadcast in Sequim.

 

“It was like peeking into a Christmas present. I knew instantly that Emblem3 was gone,” she said.

Keaton Stromberg said by being on the show they met what they set out to do.

 

“Our goal was to get past the first audition and then from there we took it one thing at a time; boot camp then the rest of the competition,” he said.

 

Talk of a recording contract, recording an album and touring are on hold until after the competition, Stromberg said.

 

When they do record, Stromberg said some of their process will change with all of the professionals involved, but they plan to stay true to their roots.

 

“There’s the ‘X Factor’ side you see on TV and then the Emblem3 side,” Stromberg said.

 

As for not being able to play their instruments on stage and having to perform songs uncharacteristic for the band, he said they just dealt with it.

 

“We just went with it,” he said. “After this, we’ll definitely be going back to our musical style.”

 

Through the several months of appearing on TV, Stromberg learned how to get out of his comfort zone.

 

“I learned to be myself,” he said. “In this industry it’s about making compromises but we’ve kept a positive attitude and tried to go surfing and do what we always do.”

 

Sequim send-off

Sequim kept a dedicated fan base of dedicated people who would call, post to Facebook and text in votes for the band. Elisa Sallee, 17, Chadwick’s cousin, said she voted more than 900 times one night.

 

One of the highlights last Wednesday for locals was when Sequim was mentioned by the band as where they grew up. Everyone cheered in Sallee’s house.

 

Stromberg said that at first producers were saying the band was from California until they mentioned later on they grew up in Sequim.

 

“We love Sequim and got more support from them than anyone,” he said. “We wouldn’t be the people we are today without them.”

 

Chadwick’s brother Jake Sallee, 14, said Emblem3 is popular at Sequim Middle School and that a lot of girls ask him about the band all the time.

 

“People tell me they met (Drew) once,” he said. “I like bragging about my brother.”

 

He even makes his friends watch online videos of the band.

 

“I believed he’d win from the first time he performed,” Jake said last week. “Even if they don’t win Simon (Cowell, a judge) will sign them.”

 

Elisa Sallee said the impression she gets from Chadwick is that he just wants to play music.

 

“It’s always been his thing,” she said.

 

Jake agrees.

 

“He’s not looking to win, but play,” Jake said.

 

Even though the final shows don’t have Emblem3 as a finalist, Chadwick’s mom plans to watch.

 

“If you look back at the last four months, they’ve done more in that time than me in my lifetime,” Sallee said.

 

“It’s a win-win situation. They have a fan base from all over the world and this whole four months has done nothing but enhanced their life.”

 

Coming home for Christmas is up in the air, Stromberg said.

 

He admits he’s been too busy to realize Christmas was so soon, but he plans to buy some presents for his brother Wesley and Chadwick even though he didn’t ask for anything.

 

“All I want to be is successful,” he said.

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