Those who complain that nepotism runs rampant in the music industry may have gained a little more boost to their argument last night as Gene Simmons‘ daughter, Sophie Tweed-Simmons, turned up as a contestant on The X Factor. The 19-year-old daughter of the KISS frontman and actress Shannon Tweed is no stranger to the television cameras after appearing on the A&E reality show Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels for 7 seasons, but she still appeared rather nervous when taking the stage to perform for judges L.A. Reid, Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato and Britney Spears (whom she awkwardly referred to as ma’am).
Before heading in for her audition, Tweed-Simmons said, “I really just want to step out of being the daughter of Gene Simmons from KISS. I want to be my own person and hopefully this is the way to just show the world who I am.” It was Demi Lovato who first recognized her, saying, “That’s where I know you! You’re Nick’s sister. Nick Simmons, Gene Simmons’ kid.” When asked by Cowell what her parents (who watched from backstage) thought of her auditioning, she quipped, “They didn’t know I was doing this until yesterday and they’re pretty upset with me. I just didn’t want any help.”
Performing Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love,” a perennial favorite of reality singing show contestants, she nervously paced the stage, revealing a sultry tone reminiscent of Adele’s version of the song, but seemingly lacking in confidence and displaying little onstage charisma. Lovato was the first to weigh in after her performance, praising her by saying, “I think that if you just got a little more control that you could be really, really great and you have something special about you.” Reid wasn’t nearly as supportive though, commenting, “I didn’t quite get the chill bumps that I wanted to get from you.” The usually surly Cowell seemed to be on team Sophie, adding, “I think you’ve got a very, very interesting tone to your voice. I like the fact that you took on this song. You kind of made it your version. That’s the way to do it.”
But did she make it through? Reid started out the verdict with a “no,” but Spears, Lovato and Cowell all weighed in with a “yes,” sending her through to the next round of competition. “I didn’t expect to want it that bad until I got out there,” she told her parents in the post-audition segment. “I’m so excited to move forward as myself and not as the daughter of someone. Maybe I’ll just introduce myself as Sophie and not say my last name for the entire competition.”
Click here to watch Sophie’s performance on Hulu.
-Brad Haynes/1059 SUNNY FM-Orlando