8:30am PT by Michele Amabile Angermiller
'X Factor's' CeCe Frey on Being Inspired by Adam Lambert, Getting Advice from Ke$ha: 'I'm Ready To Raise Hell' (Q&A)
CeCe Frey’s time on the X Factor was action-packed from the very first frame. Initially positioned as a diva, Frey managed to entertain millions of viewers week after week with her leopard print face paint, newly dyed platinum locks, and fiery personality.
So when her proverbial journey came to a sixth place finish last Thursday, something about it seemed abrupt. What was missing? A farewell video, for starters.
“In every competition show, I don’t care what kind of contestant you were or how much people liked you or disliked you -- everybody gets the courtesy of a look back on their journey," Frey told The Hollywood Reporter four days after her elimination. "Not just for them, but for the people out there supporting them,” she said. “You have to wonder, what was so different about me, or my elimination or my time on the X Factor?”
She has a point. It hardly seemed like a fitting ending for a girl that essentially started out being packaged as one of those reality-show cookie-cutter villains with a big ego and a bad attitude. However, as the competition went on, audiences saw a whole other side of CeCe Frey -- one that we at THR found, well, cool.
“It’s not every day that I get called cool,” laughed the 21-year old Illinois native. “I got to meet Ke$ha -- now there’s somebody who's cool as hell!"
The precise moment America got a glimpse of “the real CeCe” was during the Thanksgiving episode when she gave thanks for her big sister, Kelsey, who died of cerebral palsy when the singer was still an infant. Clearly still a painful topic for Frey, it's astounding that she got through Bette Midler's “Wind Beneath My Wings” after watching her tearful video package.
Even on the day Frey spoke to THR, her sister was very much on her mind. “We just decorated our tree last night,” she said, adding that her family always uses purple bows, Kelsey's favorite color.
Frey wasn’t sure about sharing her story with the country, but she was touched by the reaction she received. “It was definitely hard, afraid of how the American public would perceive that,” she said. “I got very lucky that people took me and my family’s story into their hearts, and accepted it and were so respectful to all of us."
Still, Frey wishes people got to see more of the kind of artist she wants to be. “I was a rapper and a singer before," she revealed. "When I came into this competition, my aspirations of rapping on the show were quickly dismissed,” she said.
In a Q&A with THR, Frey talked about her career plans, whether she'll entertain Simon Cowell’s suggestion that she star in her own reality show, who she's rooting for and ... Adam Lambert.
Inspired by the American Idol star, the 21-year old Illinois native promised, "I’m about to raise hell."
The Hollywood Reporter: Now that you're off the show, is there a favorite you would like to see win?
Frey: Everybody still there is incredibly talented and I think there is a big market for all of them. It’s so tough because I love everybody, but I would love to see Tate Stevens win. When we were together on the show, he was my dad away from dad. He has a family and I don’t think that he needs to be doing construction work anymore. Everybody else is young and has their whole careers ahead of them, and I would love to see his take off now.
THR: Was there a time when you thought you could win?
Frey: There were a few times when I was rising in the rankings where I thought I would get pretty far up there, but you go into these things hoping to win, but I don’t think that I expected to. I knew that I wasn’t your cookie-cutter winner that usually wins these shows.
THR: You mentioned Adam Lambert as an example of an artist that wasn’t cookie cutter. Are you a Glambert?
Frey: Come on, that dude’s amazing! He has a crazy voice and he’s so cool. I remember watching him on American Idol and I said, "Now that’s the kind of dude that needs to win one of these shows." And it didn’t happen. But I think that artists like him, and I am definitely not putting myself up there by Adam because he is in a league of his own, I can only hope to be that good. But hopefully it's artists like me, and Adam Lambert and Lyric 145 that win afterwards.
THR: We were kind of hoping you would jump on stage with Ke$ha the night you were eliminated. Did you get to talk to her? Did she give you any advice?
Frey: I met her right as I was walking off stage after I had been eliminated. She was standing there about to go on and said, “You’re not giving up, are you?” And I said, "No." Once she made sure we weren’t on live television, she said, “Screw this, go out and get it!” And she’s exactly right. I’m about to raise hell.
THR: It looked like you and Demi Lovato got really close during the competition. She looked so upset last week. Have you talked to her?
Frey: She was definitely upset. She started to cry onstage. I was like, I’m not going to cry. Then she started crying, so the tears came after we got off stage. We got really close. This was a learning experience for both of us at once. When you go through an experience like this with somebody else, you grow close. It was really hard to say goodbye to her, but I think that we’ll remain friends and maybe even work together in the future. That would be amazing.
THR: So we understand Simon Cowell told you to get a reality show. Would you entertain that idea?
Frey: Simon and I were talking and he said, ‘I think you need your own show.’ I said, "With all due respect, I didn’t come on this competition to be famous. That’s not why I did it. I came to create a platform to launch my career as an artist. I did not get to show what kind of artist I wanted to be on the show, I will tell you that right now." I would talk about a reality show with Simon, but I would have to make sure that it was done my way. ... It would have to show what I’m doing post X Factor to launch my career, and really let people see me -- the real CeCe.
THR: Sophie Tweed-Simmons told us that she thought the TV CeCe suffered from bad editing...
Frey: She said that? That was so nice of her! I love Sophie. I’m going to see her this week, and we’re going to go out. We need to have a girl’s night for sure."
THR: Just curious: are you into musical theater, since you selected songs from Fame (“Out Here On My Own”) and Burlesque (Cher’s song “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me”) to perform on the show?
Frey: I love musical theater. I love musicals. I love theatrics. ... as you can probably tell. I’m quite dramatic. I loved being able to take the opportunity to sing songs like those.
THR: Is that closer to who you want to be as an artist?
Frey: I want to change the world. I know that’s a far-fetched thing. I want to be the one artist that has a heart. I want to portray that to people. I want to speak the truth, because when you do, you can never go wrong. I know these are really grandiose ideas, but I believe in magic and fairytales, and I want to show that to the people out there. On a more detailed level, before I ever came into the competition, I was a rapper and a singer. My style is definitely my own. There was a lot of times I wanted to write my own rap verses for different breakdowns, and for a couple of weeks we were coming up with really cool mixes to songs, mash-ups that were really original and somehow they always slipped through the cracks. If there is one thing I regret it's that I didn’t really come out like: this is the artist I am. So I'm really excited to put out my own stuff, and I’m glad I can show it to you all on a real music level and not a television level.
THR: It’s interesting how you call people supporters and not fans...
Frey: I think it’s weird that anybody calls people fans, no matter how big they are. I feel that’s almost a demeaning term . We’re all people. I’m just trying to share part of myself with you. I want them to feel like we are all in this together. That’s something that nobody gets about me: everyone expected me to be so full of myself, but I really don’t put myself above anybody else. That’s not how I was raised -- it's not how we do things in the midwest.
Frey will next be seen on Wednesday's X Factor Pepsi Pre-Show and her "supporters," she assures, can likely look forward to seeing her on the finale. Still, she warned, "Anything can change. Keep your eyes peeled."