Most people know Panda Denice Ross, 43, from her unforgettable audition on The X-Factor USA’s 2012 season, where she brought the house down with her rendition of Sam Cooke’s “Bring It on Home to Me.” The soulful diva charmed America with her larger than life personality and her “single” necklace, worn for her long time crush Simon Cowell. Panda did the entire performance battling pneumonia. Her audition has received more than 12 million views on YouTube. America was in love.
Since the show, Panda has made a complete transformation: she has lost over 100 pounds, furthered her vocal training, and sang in churches & other venues all over the USA. This was just the first of many comebacks in her life. In fact, most her life has been one resurrection after the next.
Panda was born in prison in Huntsville, TX and raised in Hobbs, NM by her grandmother. By the age 13, Panda would go on to live much of her life imprisoned by her own demons – drugs, prostitution, men. She belives she should have been dead so many times before, but for the grace of God, she’s still here and that says something.
God delivered and set Panda free on January 25, 1997. She’s been free of addiction ever since. Her proudest accomplishment is that she raised two kids who have not succumb to the lifestyle she once lived. They are both college educated: her daughter, Darlinda, graduated from DBU with honors for law school and her son, Darryl, is currently a student at PVAMU and a drummer who has had the honors of playing at the Super Bowl with the Black Eyed Peas.
Her bubbly personality and positive attitude landed her a job at Starbucks in 2005 where she currently works.
Panda is more determined than ever to pursue her true calling in life: sharing her gift of music with the world. She says, “I don’t have a lot of education, I don’t have a lot of anything, but I have a lot of personality, and it’s the gift God gave me. I just like to use that gift to brighten up people’s day.”
She is currently a worship leader and the children’s choir director for the Victory Outreach Church of Dallas.