Sexual Chocolate. Now that we have your attention…
On Sunday, Feb. 24, Auburn’s Eagle Eye Television will air the premier of its new singing competition, Auburn X-Factor.
The show, which will be filmed on Thursdays and aired on the following Sunday, is Auburn’s take on the popular Fox television show X-Factor—a talent show that features singing contestants from public auditions around the country, similar to American Idol.
The judges of Auburn X-Factor recently released a list of the top ten contestants, one of which is duo Derrin Stull and Brandon Way under the collective name Sexual Chocolate.
TWER sat down with Derrin and Brandon, aka Caramel and Mint Chocolate Chip, to talk about their singing experience, TV show judges, The Star-Spangled Banner, and even a connection to a couple of Disney actress-singers.
TWER: So how long have you guys been singing?
D.S.: I’ve been singing since I was a little kid. I used to perform for my family growing up, and I acted the fool in a talent show in 2nd grade when I sang “Quit Playing Games With My Heart” by The Backstreet Boys. It was a huge hit.
B.W. I started singing around 9th grade in high school. When I got to Auburn last year, I tried out for the AU Singers and made the cut. It’s been such a challenge musically because you’re basically doing two things at once: singing and performing. You practice your music, but you’re also preparing to move around on stage.
TWER: How did y’all find out about Auburn X-Factor?
D.S.: We’re both in RTVF, so a friend of ours, Shannon Smith, actually mentioned the competition to us. Brandon and I had always kind of joked about being an act together. We kept thinking, “What if we just started a boy band, something really 90’s?” The day the auditions were supposed to start, we just showed up.
TWER: So you guys didn’t even sign up beforehand? Y’all just showed up on Day 1?
B.W.: Yeah, I mean, we had already worked together before, so it wasn’t hard.
TWER: What did y’all sing for the audition?
D.S.: We did an acoustic version of “Die Young” by Ke$ha. Brandon played the guitar.
TWER: Okay, so the big question here is obviously the name.
B.W.: We actually took it from that Eddie Murphy movie Coming to America. There’s a scene where they have this kind of date auction, and the entertainment is this funky band and they all have Jerry curls and blue tuxedos, and they called themselves “Sexual Chocolate.” It just stuck with us.
TWER: And you both are the only duo in the competition, right?
D.S: Yeah, everyone else is a solo act, so it’s challenging for us, but at the same time, it sort of takes the pressure off because we can feed off each other’s harmony and energy. It’s nice knowing that there are two of us on stage singing the same song.
TWER: Have you guys seen the actual show on TV?
D.S.: Totally. We watch X-Factor, American Idol, all those shows. They’re really good. It’s always cool getting to hear the reactions from the judges on a performance.
TWER: Do y’all have a favorite judge from any of those shows?
D.S.: It’s funny, because on American Idol right now, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj are kind of fighting—
TWER: Wait…Mariah Carey and Nick Minaj? I obviously haven’t watched American Idol in a while.
D.S.: —yeah (laughs). But it’s funny because they’re in some kind of dispute right now on the show, and it’s really entertaining. They’ve also got Keith Urban as a judge now.
TWER: So now we’ve got half of the American Idol judges, and they aren’t even American.
B.W.: Yeah, it’s kind of weird. I actually like Adam Levine on The Voice. That show is supposed to be getting Shakira and Usher soon, so that’ll be awesome.
TWER: How do you guys feel about the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at athletic events?
D.S.: Well for me, I completely understand how nervous people get before they sing something like that for a big crowd. Christina Aguilera messed it up pretty badly last year, and Beyonce had to lip-sync it this year at the White House. Really, as a singer, it’s all about taking a step back and relaxing and trying to focus on the patriotic aspect of the song. Plus, everybody is rooting for you, even if you mess up. They’re not out to get you.
B.W.: Several of the AU Singers get asked to do it all the time for local events, so I’m very cautious about it. It’s a great task though, because it’s about expressing your patriotism through your singing talents, and that’s what counts.
TWER: Here’s one out of left field for you. If you could sing to any girl in the entire world, who would it be?
B.W.: You know—it’s actually funny you ask that. We kind of had this goal a while back that we were going to try to marry Aly and AJ (from Disney Channel). It’d have to be them. Derrin did a movie with Aly, actually.
TWER: Wait, you were in a movie with Aly?
D.S.: (laughs) Yeah, last year. I had a small part in a movie with her called Grace Unplugged. I played the part of a radio DJ, and basically the director told us to do about three minutes of improv for the scene, so we did. It was a pretty awesome experience, and she’s a pretty down-to-earth girl in person. They both do more stuff now. I think Aly is doing a show on ABC Family, and AJ has done a few movies, too.
TWER: Did you tell her about your plan? You know, the whole marriage thing?
D.S.: Nah, at that point, we were just focusing on the movie, so I never mentioned it.
TWER: But you will now, right? Especially if you guys win the competition…
D.S.: Eh, I think we might at least wait until the movie comes out. It’s a little too early to start creepin’ like that at this point.
TWER: Of course. Don’t want to creep until it’s time to creep.
D.S.: (laughs) Of course.
B.W.: We actually got henna tattoos of them once.
TWER: Oh, okay. Now you definitely need to say something to them. So what do you guys want out of this competition? I mean, obviously, you want to win…
D.S.: Yeah, obviously. We really would like to win the 5-song EP at the end of the competition to work on some original music. We’d also like to use this experience to go audition for the real X-Factor in March. It’d be a great way to get started.
B.W.: We’re also performing at a benefit concert for a friend after this competition, so we’ll still be singing a lot. And we will hopefully have a Facebook page for our act soon.
TWER: That’s awesome. Well good luck to you guys. Hopefully we’ll see you at the end of the competition with that EP ready to go.
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