Carly Rose Sonenclar Talks ‘X Factor,’ ‘Law & Order’

TV Acting Debut Mirrored Real Reality Show Experience

Carly Rose Sonenclar and Ice-T on the set of 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'

Carly Rose Sonenclar and Ice-T on the set of ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’

Carly Rose Sonenclar is going up head-to-head with the show that made her famous.

While Simon Cowell’s X FACTOR shows off its top 12 contestants tonight on Fox, last year’s runner-up will be making her dramatic acting debut on LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIM’S UNIT (9:00 PM/NBC).

“My part was just like me playing myself,” she tells me. “So it wasn’t really difficult.”

The episode titled “Dissonant Voices” centers on a reality show singing coach (Tony winner Billy Porter) who is accused of sexual abuse by a 4 year-old boy.

Carly, 14, plays Grace Belsy, a contestant he mentors on the fictional music competition ‘American Diva.’ (Singer Ashanti joins AMERICAN IDOL alums Clay Aiken and Taylor Hicks as judges).

“It was fun for me because the scenes were really similar to my experience on X FACTOR,” Carly says.  “Since it is TV they have to make it really realistic.  I felt like I was actually back in that moment auditioning.

“Also just being backstage kind of felt like the time I had.  They had (actors) playing stage managers and I was doing fake ‘reality’ filming…”

Carly — who just began her freshman year of high school — had lots more to talk about when we caught up earlier today.

So what have you been up to since X FACTOR?
I am actually working on my album.  I’ve been in the studio a lot. I have done some concerts and some benefits.

What’s it like to be able to have your own concert?
It’s weird…but it is cool!

Were you nervous?
Not really. X FACTOR prepared me well for that.

Are you watching the competition this season?
I have been hearing a lot about [Alex & Sierra].  I still follow the show on Instagram.  I think they will probably go far.

Any advice for contestants as they head into the live shows?
I think the live shows are a really stressful experience.  Just because nobody has ever really had that experience before of being on national television and there are always so many people around and a lot of stuff you have to do and remember.  There’s reality things and your songs and lyrics and movements and what you are wearing…  I would say just try to give yourself some time to feel really prepared with what you have to do. It’s easy to get caught up in all the stuff.  And just give yourself time away from all the people and stuff.  That was really helpful for me because it gave me time to really get into my songs.  Also, I think just having a great time when you are in the midst of everything and enjoy it because the minute that you leave it is kind of just gone really quickly.  You make relationships with people and you don’t see them for a while.  So I think just enjoying it.

Are you still close with anybody from the show?
I am still friends with Diamond (White) and I am close with Bea (Miller).  I saw her when I was out in LA.  I was hoping to see Arin (Ray), but it didn’t work out.

What would people be surprised to know about your life after X FACTOR?
I don’t think there is anything really surprising.  I keep people really updated on what is going on in my life.  (Follow Carly on WhoSay)  I am not really hiding anything.  A lot of my focus is on making my album right now.

Any crazy fan encounters?
There have been a couple.  The craziest one for me happened in L.A.  I was on an elevator and I was facing the door and there were people behind me and then couldn’t see my face.  And when I turned around, they realized it was me and they fell to the floor — inside the elevator while it was moving.  So that was kind of awkward.  They were like “Oh, my God I can’t believe it’s you.”


Sean Daly

Sean Daly

Editor-In-Chief at
Sean Daly is a veteran entertainment journalist.His work has appeared in People, Us Weekly, The Toronto Star and other top publications. He was the west coast TV reporter for The New York Post from 2008 - 2013. Sean is the author of Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America's Got Talent and Teen Mom Confidential: Secrets and Scandals From MTV's Most Controversial Shows.
Sean Daly