Despite having a dad who could probably just pick up the phone and get her a record deal, Sophie Tweed-Simmons – the 19-year-old celebuspawn of snake-tongued KISS bassist Gene Simmons and actress Shannon Tweed – auditioned on The X Factor just like any other run-of-the-mill hopeful. Oh, except she arrived in an Escalade, got escorted to the front of the line and brought along her uber-famous parents. But we’ll humor her and pretend like she’s stepping out from behind her father’s shadow and completely shirking any help, like she mentioned several times.
After looking sullen when recognized by the judges, Sophie did an average rendition of Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love” (at the 3-minute mark) that allowed her to squeak by with three votes despite some lukewarm feedback. “I didn’t quite get chill-bumps,” said L.A. Reid, who was the lone holdout on the panel. But while she still made it to the next round, we doubt Sophie will go much further . . . unless her 6-foot-2 father follows her around intimidating everyone while dressed like his alter-ego, “The Demon.”
It wasn’t the only surprising free pass given on a night filled with mediocre auditions that seemed to make the judges squeal in delight for inexplicable reasons. Like the karaoke-like rendition of “Ice Ice Baby” by Nick Youngerman that made Britney Spears jump up and do some funky chicken-style dance moves, or the muffled, messy version of David Guetta’s “Without You” by overly confident vocal coach Rachel Berry – er, we mean Tara Simon (seen rolling her eyes at Sophie) that nabbed four yeses.
More deserving of making it to the next level were 15-year-old Rihanna wannabe Dinah Jane Hansen, Bruno Mars knock-off David Correy and 16-year-old Arin Ray, who was a member of last season’s eliminated group InTENsity.
Totally tanking, but genuinely more charming than anyone else who stepped onstage, was 52-year-old Changyi Li, whose thick Chinese accent and harlequin clothes only added to her wonky take on Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” (Simon Cowell compared her to the iceberg that sunk the Titanic.) The most annoying act of the night? A PDA-obsessed couple called Jaime who incessantly pawed and kissed each other before plowing through a cheeseball song that made the judges put the kibosh on their cutesiness. Next time, bring your famous folks, guys.