Weather Updates

Mother’s sacrifice not forgotten by former child star

ChristCollins sang Radiohead’s “No Surprises” Sunday.

Christa Collins sang Radiohead’s “No Surprises” on Sunday.

storyidforme: 19890155
tmspicid: 7389491
fileheaderid: 3369593

Updated: November 19, 2011 8:46AM

“The X Factor” contestant Christa Collins, 32, has her mother to thank for getting her into singing.

Her mom, Denice DeCero of Chicago’s East Side, drove Christa to countless auditions as a child and managed her young daughter’s bright career — a career that included a two-year national run in “Les Miserables,” during which time Christa and her mom lived with her grandparents in their home at Avenue E and 104th Street.

Walt Disney Records signed Christa Larson, as she was known back then, as a solo recording artist for the album “Minnie ’n Me.” It was while Christa was in Australia promoting that album that her mother ended up making the ultimate sacrifice for her daughter’s career.

“I’d gotten ill due to the rigorous schedule we were on,” recalled Christa, who was 12 at the time. “We were passing by a hospital and she wanted to run in to see if they could take me for a checkup. While crossing the street, she was hit by a car.”

Her mother died, and “I pretty much left show business,” said Christa, who lives in California.

In 2005 she got back on stage — this time, with her husband — as a member of the rock band Woolly Bandits.

On Sunday’s “X Factor,” she delivered a powerful performance of Radiohead’s “No Surprises.” Viewers will find out Tuesday if Christa makes the cut and moves on to the show’s live performance round Oct. 25.

“I know that singing is what I’m supposed to be doing,” Christa said. “And I know my mom is proud of me.”

Lori Rackl

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.