Sophie & Gene Simmons in 2011 [photo: Jo Hale / Getty Images]If you're wondering where rock 'n' roll dad Gene Simmons spent Father's Day yesterday, it's probably not where you'd expect. Apparently he was in San Francisco with his daughter Sophie, attending her audition at "The X Factor." But in true rock-star style, the KISS tongue-waggler reportedly arrived at the auditions at the last minute, via a private jet.
According to TMZ, Sophie Simmons showed up at the San Francisco "X Factor" auditions Sunday and claimed she wanted a "fair shot," telling the judges: "This isn't about my dad. This is about my audition." But Gene, of course, wasn't about to miss spending Father's Day with his little girl--nor was he about to miss an opportunity to get some juicy free publicity. So when Sophie called him and told him that she couldn't see him on Father's Day, and then revealed her "X Factor" intentions, he immediately chartered a private jet and headed north.
"I was in Las Vegas, mom was in Los Angeles, and we get a phone call saying, 'I can't come home today because I'm in Oakland,'" Gene told Britain's The Daily Mail. "And I said, 'What are you doing in Oakland?' She goes, 'I'm auditioning for X Factor.' So I had to take a private jet and Shannon came up. We had no idea this was happening. I swear to God."
No word yet on whether or not Sophie's audition was strong enough to impress judges Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid, Britney Spears, and Demi Lovato; a representative for the show said everyone inside was sworn to secrecy. However, the Daily Mail did reveal that the judges were split in their decision on whether to advance Sophie to the next round. Simon did tweet that San Francisco was "one of the best audition days" of this season so far, but it's unclear if Sophie specifically inspired any of his uncharacteristic enthusiasm.
Sophie is of course no stranger to the reality television spotlight--she's been starring on Gene's A&E show, "Gene Simmons' Family Jewels," for seven seasons now. One episode of the series, from 2009, actually featured the then-16-year-old taking a stab at a music career and recording a pop song called "Take Me Away." When asked, "What's the difference between Sophie's singing voice and your singing voice?," Gene dryly answered, "Pitch." The clip of that song, seen below, sounds heavily Auto-Tuned, so it's definitely still up for debate whether Sophie is "pitchy" or not, or if she is true "X Factor" material. However, if you feel like playing Simon Cowell yourself for a moment, check out and judge the clip below:
A better example of Sophie's singing voice is perhaps a raw, brief clip of her singing the Etta James classic "At Last" at her parents' wedding, which aired on A&E last year. Ironically, it's the same song with which Josh Krajcik made such an impression at his own "X Factor" audition in Season 1:
Sophie does seem to have some vocal talent, although knowing crafty Gene Simmons (and crafty Simon Cowell), I wouldn't be surprised if this was all some big publicity stunt. We'll just have to wait until "The X Factor" premieres in September (or until "Family Jewels" returns for an eighth season) to find out Sophie's fate. And since her older brother Nick is also a musician...who knows? We may see Nick Simmons, and his camera-hogging famous dad, on "The X Factor" Season 3.