Things are going pretty well these days for X Factor contestant Stacy Francis.
And I'm not even talking about the incredibleness of her performance of "Natural Woman" on last week's premiere episode...
The 42-year-old single mother of two lost—ready for this?—a whopping 70 pounds for her audition.
She had tipped the scales at 215 pounds during her second pregnancy with her now 10-month-old daughter. "I looked crazy," Francis tells me. "It was horrible."
She had five months to shed the weight before facing the X Factor judges. "I didn't have money for a gym membership," Francis says. "I would go hike the canyon every day or I'd go running asked my girlfriend, 'Please, can you just in the mornings come sit with my kids for a couple of hours?'"
When she couldn't, Francis would take her three-year-old son to a friends for a play date. "I would then strap my baby to my chest and I would walk that canyon for two hours," she says. "I would just walk and walk and walk."
Never mind Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers. "I had Simon's picture on my wall to inspire me," Francis said. "I made a commitment to myself that when he saw me and I got in front of the world, I was going to be 70 pounds lighter."
During last week's premiere, a slimmed down and teary-eyed Francis talked about a past relationship with a man who she says squashed her dreams of being a singer by telling her she was too old or not talented enough. "I started believing him and he would push me around sometimes," she said. "I just lost faith in myself."
But that was then. "He tried to follow me on Twitter, but I blocked him," Francis said.
The Brooklyn native once had a promising career on Broadway, appearing in shows like Footloose and Smokey Joe's Café before moving to Hollywood about 12 years ago. She felt like the X Factor tryout was her last shot. "I was standing there with my eyes closed and I remember Simon saying, 'You've got 4,304 yes's,'" Francis said. "At that point I was floating above the stage. My body was there, but I was floating. It was so magical."
It certainly was. Good luck, Stacy!