Sophie Tweed-Simmons On Her 'X Factor' Elimination: 'I'm Not Going To Give Up' (Q&A)
The daughter of Gene Simmons discusses her Boot Camp experience, the reality of the TV show's editing, and what Tara Simon and CeCe Frey are really like off camera.
We didn't get to see too much of Sophie Tweed Simmons' experience at X Factor's Boot Camp, but we know plenty about her thanks to her A&E show Gene Simmons Family Jewels.
Since she has music in her blood, trying out for a show like X Factor shouldn't have been too much of a stretch. Her San Francisco audition, where she sang Adele's cover of the Bob Dylan song, "To Make You Feel My Love," earned the 20-year-old an invite to Boot Camp. Not bad for someone who had only sung in public three times, including a gig at the W Hotel in Los Angeles and at the requests of friends and family. Alas, her journey came to a premature end.
However, her time on the show was memorable, from her arrival at her audition with her famous parents, to a perceived feud with vocal coach Tara Simon. Simmons graciously shot down the rumor on Twitter before the story spiraled out of control, pointing to creative editing as the culprit.
Had Simmons, whose father is famed for playing bass in the band, KISS, not been cut, she would have been competing in the Young Adults category under the tutelege of Demi Lovato.
One day after her Boot Camp elimination, Simmons talked to THR about what viewers didn't see on television, what really happens in Boot Camp, and her plans to move forward.
THR: We missed seeing you in Boot Camp!
Simmons: Yeah, I don’t know what happened there, but we definitely did a lot when we were there.
THR: What didn't we see on television?
Simmons: You guys don’t see us getting up at the crack of dawn and staying up all night learning new songs. We really helped each other through the competition because we all became such good friends. There wasn’t really that much drama that I saw but I made some friends that I am going to have for the rest of my life and I am so thankful for that.
THR: It's nice to see you and Tara Simon clearing the air with positive tweets on Twitter.
Simmons: Maybe she said some things about me before she knew me, but we were actually pretty good friends throughout Boot Camp and really helped each other through staying up nights and all the hard work we had to do.
THR: We didn't get to see you perform at all during Boot Camp. What songs did you sing?
Simmons: I sang "Gravity" by Sara Bareillis and "Love You Like a Love Song", by Selena Gomez. The second song we don’t really get to choose. We are given a list. The first one is a song you bring to Boot Camp for the first elimination. You bring a song from the ‘70s and ‘80s and they pick the song they want to hear. I brought "Gravity" and “Killing Me Softly” by Roberta Flack.
THR: You enjoy that kind of music, don't you?
Simmons: I am a big fan of the oldies, like Ella Fitzgerald and Etta James but I also really like Norah Jones and Adele and Mumford and Sons and the Black Keys. It's all very soulful music, but all very different.
THR: We thought it was so cute how your father looked so nervous when he saw all the people lined up to audition for the show.
Simmons: Your parents can be whoever they are, but they are still going to be worried parents. He really wanted me badly to go through, and I tried to explain to him, I am not here to win a singing competition, I am here to show the world who I am, and he, being the competitive person that he is, said 'no you are going to win'.
THR: Did you keep in touch with him during Boot Camp?
Simmons: I taught him how to text, so he was texting me the whole time.
THR: He didn't know how to text?
Simmons: He would only email and then when the iPhone came out, I told him you really need to know how to text, so now he uses Siri which is a good compromise because he can talk to it and it just says it for him.
THR: How was it when he learned you were going out for the show?
Simmons: I told him this wasn’t going to be about him. I didn’t want my parents to come to my audition, because I didn’t want that sort of attention, but of course after I told them they were there in three hours. I told them you can take pictures or do whatever you want but when it comes to my song, you are not allowed to say anything or talk to the judges or do anything you really want to do.They understood, and my dad was like, 'I can help,' but I told him, no. That would defeat the purpose. Of course, they were trying to be helpful loving parents.
THR: How is filming X Factor different from the show you did with your family?
Simmons: They are both very different shows. Family Jewels was showing every day life. On X Factor, they are filming you throughout Boot Camp when you look awful at 4 in the morning, and they are filming you trying to learn songs and seeing your mistakes and accomplishments. Also, you don’t have editing rights on a show like this. They show what they show and a lot of friends of mine were pretty upset about how they were portrayed and that’s television. You don’t get a say in what they show.
THR: Did you interact with CeCe Frey?
Simmons: They didn't show it, but we had a challenge where they put us in groups and we had to learn a song and perform a song as a group, and CeCe was in a group with me.
THR: It seems like she may be getting the shaft with editing.
Simmons: She is a bit. She is actually a really sweet girl. She has a very out there personality and she was very much born to be a star but she is just really sweet and I don’t think they are showing that part of her. Being up for four days straight can make anyone bitchy and they choose to show those things.
THR: What is Tara really like? She seems like the type that is backstage helping everyone practice vocal runs.
Simmons: She is! Tara has a very mom-like personality where she was making sure we all had snacks, and that we were warmed up. She’s a vocal coach, and she is back there running exercises and giving tips and is very excited about singing in general. It’s hard to contain.
THR: Who did you bond with during Boot Camp?
Simmons: Paige Thomas, Lyric Da Queen, Emblem 3, Roxy Montana, Level 3, pretty much everybody. When you are all stuck in a holding room waiting to be judged, you get to know everyone.
THR: Which judges gave you the best advice?
Simmons: Demi and Britney (Spears) told me I had a good tone and it was interesting but I needed to find the right genre of music for my voice. I thought singers can sing anything, but no, you can't. I couldn’t go out there and sing Mariah Carey but I could sing you Etta James.
THR: What are your plans now?
Simmons: Right now, I'm coaching Girl’s Volleyball AVA Volleyball Club in Southern California and finishing school. I took a year off to coach, and I already finished all of my major requirements [her major is computer engineering] but I will return for that last year.
THR: You are so level-headed for a 20-year old.
Simmons: Thank you! My brother (Nick) and I don’t really party or drink or smoke. We were both in school our whole life and hanging out with our parents for our reality show so we never got a chance to be wild and crazy, which is why I'm not.
THR: Is music still in your future?
Simmons: I am not going to give up. My parents told me not to quit and this will only make me stronger and push me to try new things.
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