The X Factor’s unique and loveable Panda Ross, a Dallas native, will sing the American Anthem at the start of Sunday’s Dallas Marathon.

Marathon executive director Marcus Grunewald says that, for years now, he has been getting coffee from the Starbucks where she works.

Through the Back on My Feet running group (Advocate BOMF story here), he was formally introduced and he invited her to give the runners a grand send-off with her powerful voice.

Not only did Panda garner Grunewald’s attention, but she also gained the approval and even affection of the hard-to-please Simon Cowell, who says he absolutely loves her.

I don’t watch the X Factor, but after watching this clip, in which she wows the judges, walks off stage, begins wheezing and is promptly wheeled off on a stretcher — laughing and gabbing all the while — I love her too.