Bits 'n' Pieces: Vancouver duo make a run at ‘X Factor’

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Shawn Lewis and Natasha Neuschwander made it through three rounds of auditions — in Portland, Seattle and Los Angeles — in their effort to win a spot on “The X Factor,” the new singing talent show.

The husband and wife, who perform with a pop sound under the band name Beat Frequency, are now back in Vancouver, but their musical ambitions are far from over.

Their quest for a spot on “The X Factor” started in April, when Lewis, 34, and Neuschwander, 27, performed in a first-round audition hosted by Fox 12 at Portland’s Aladdin Theater.

That got them an invitation to Seattle’s Key Arena, where Beat Frequency received three “yes” votes from judges.

The couple sang a two-minute edited version of Katy Perry’s “E.T.” while family and friends watched on a monitor backstage. As soon as they finished singing, show host and creator Simon Cowell leaned down to the mic and said “yes,” Lewis said.

Neuschwander said that judge Paula Abdul told her she had a beautiful voice and that Nicole Scherzinger’s review was more mixed. The fourth judge, L.A. Reid, never gave a definitive answer because the team already had three votes, enough to advance to the next round. That placed them in the top 162 acts competing for the show’s $5 million prize.

Lewis, the pastor of rock at Living Hope Church in Vancouver, and Neuschwander, a performing artist, flew to Los Angeles to join the show’s “boot camp.” They spent three days preparing for a group performance with other competitors.

That round of auditions was as far as they got.

The couple signed a confidentiality agreement and is limited in what they are able to share about their experience. Lewis said he was surprised by the enormous amount of footage the cameramen took.

While they didn’t have any one-on-one conversations with the show’s judges, both Lewis and Neuschwander said those stars showed a real interest in all the competitors.

“I was not expecting Hollywood to be so gracious and hosting,” Neuschwander said. “It was the most exciting thing Shawn and I have ever done in our career.”

Although the end result was not what they were hoping for, Lewis said he viewed the experience as a fun date.

“The X Factor” audition was the second time Lewis and Neuschwander sought a competitive TV limelight. Last year, they tried out for America’s Got Talent. After reaching auditions in Tacoma, they were not called back.

Though the couple’s been singing together for 12 years, they’ve only been performing as Beat Frequency for about six months. In that time, they’ve released an album — the self-titled “Beat Frequency” — and created a YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/beatfrequencyvideos.

Neuschwander said they’ll keep auditioning for shows, and could try out for “The X Factor” again next year.

Bits ’n’ Pieces appears Mondays and Fridays. If you have a story you’d like to share, call Courtney Sherwood 360-735-4561, or e-mail features@columbian.com.