outstanding teen


Normani Kordei’s upbringing sounds all the themes common to the girls’ backstories: precocious talent, faith, ­struggle and empowerment. Raised in New Orleans, she was singing and ­dancing by age 4. Then Hurricane Katrina hit. Her family fled to Houston, where she would compete in pageants, picturing herself as Beyoncé to overcome her shyness. She was a Miss Texas Outstanding Teen ­finalist when she learned of X Factor’s Austin tryouts. “I was frightened,” says Kordei, who is 19 and sporting a wide-necked black tee over jean shorts. “I would’ve rather not auditioned than risk failing, but my mom encouraged me to do it to better myself. I took that leap, I prayed, and everything worked out.”