Plenty of Coloradans would say that Jeff Brinkman has the X factor, and now millions of people will find out why when the Longmont singer-songwriter appears on the Season 3 premiere of Fox reality show "The X Factor" this week.
Just after midnight Sunday, Brinkman shared on Facebook video of an "X Factor" TV commercial built entirely around his audition. He followed up with a post that said, "Thank you to everyone for all your support. I am excited and honored to have auditioned for 'The X Factor!'"
The show's season premiere airs at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday on Fox.
"It's been fun and hard to keep quiet about," Brinkman said Tuesday in an interview. "It's been cool. The whole experience was really different. It was definitely outside of the box for me. I couldn't have my guitar in hand. I just had to sing for a bunch of strangers."
Brinkman, a former Daily Camera employee, started writing songs when he was 13 and has been playing around the Boulder area for about five years.
In that time, he's released two studio records, To The Bones and Strange, and become a fixture on the local scene.
He was the first artist featured on the Camera's Second Story Garage live music video series last year, along with his songwriting partner Mark Kranjcec, also a Camera employee.
The decision to audition for "The X Factor" was a big and somewhat sudden step forward.
"Honestly, some of my friends and bandmates asked me to try out for it and I wasn't sure if I was going to do it or not," Brinkman said. "I've been doing music for a while, as you know. I really wanted to try and see if I could reach a larger fan base, so it was my attempt to get on the radar of a lot more people and see how far I can go."
Though early auditions and filming already have taken place, Brinkman is not allowed to discuss much about the competition. If he survives the first round, he'll be put into one of four categories with a judge as a "mentor." Ultimately, though, success comes down to an audience vote.
The Dickens Opera House in Longmont plans to lend Brinkman as much support as possible. Talent buyer Paul Dyer said the management met on Monday to discuss hosting watch parties during show's Wednesday night performances. They'll also be using their Facebook and Twitter accounts to encourage people to vote for Brinkman.
"We want to back Jeff and do anything we can to possibly help him on this journey and rally community support," Dyer said. "He's performed twice here at the Dickens Opera House. He's one of our most favorite human beings."
"The X Factor" already has helped launch the career of another local star, Rachel Crow. The 14-year-old Mead native reached the Top 5 in 2011 and within a year she signed with Columbia Records/Syco and began developing a TV series with Nickelodeon.
Even without a win, the show can be a valuable experience.
"As far as the entire experience, it's helping me grow a lot and understand the business and give me ideas on how I can reach different people," Brinkman said. "I learned a lot just standing in line, talking to people. I met some really amazing folks along the way."
If Brinkman is one of the three finalists, the show likely will be coming to Boulder County for a "hometown visit," as it's done in the past.
Brinkman is expected to play at home much sooner, though. If his schedule allows for it, he'll perform at Fall Fest on the Pearl Street Mall at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.