Jeff Gutt has no trouble adding a darker side to the typically pop-centric X Factor. The 2013 contestant describes himself as an “edgy and raw” artist but the resident Season 3 rocker definitely has a softer side. Jeff’s a single dad to adorable five-year-old son, Talon. (One huge upside to Jeff powering through to the finale: We’ll likely get a chance to see that cutie patootie again. Oh, and hearing Jeff perform is always nice.)
The last remaining Over 25 contestant has been in the biz for decades (he’s also got a previous history with X Factor) and seeing him knock it out of the park night after night had us wondering why this talented Detroit single dad hadn’t made it big yet. We asked him as much during an exclusive Wetpaint Entertainment interview and his answer may surprise you.
Wetpaint Entertainment: What’s been the biggest surprise for you so far this season?
Jeff Gutt: I was surprised when Ellona [Santiago] went home ... You just never know what’s going to happen. There’s always surprises. Everyday I don’t get my schedule until the day of. So we never really know too much about what’s going on … It can be stressful at times but that’s what we’re here to do.
In the final four, who do you think of as your biggest competition left on the show?
I would probably say Alex & Sierra. I think they have a lot of support and just in general are doing really well.
What was your favorite performance this season?
“Bohemian Rhapsody” [by Queen], just because that was the first time that I let go on stage. I wasn’t overthinking everything. It was just one of those performances where I felt free.
Were you nervous at all because that particular classic has been covered a lot on music competition shows?
I just try and go out there and clear my mind of all that stuff, and just do what I’m there to do.
You’ve been performing for a long time. Is there a big difference between performing on TV opposed to performing at a bar, a club, or another venue?
There’s a lot more people at a bar or a club than in the studio audience. It’s like sometimes you can forget that the cameras are there, but they have to remind us [to look at a certain camera]. It’s hard to get used to that because typically I play to the crowd, not cameras.
Are you feeling any pressure being the last Over 25 group member for judge Kelly Rowland?
Just in the sense that there are a lot of young pups here and I can’t let them beat me, you know what I mean? I’ve been doing this professionally as long as some of them have been alive.
Judge Simon Cowell once asked you why you think your career hasn’t taken off yet. Have you thought about that? Any theories?
It’s a really long story. I’ve had a record deal before and I was willing to do whatever they wanted me to do and I thought that would be it. By the end of it, you know, I hated myself. I wish I would have stuck to my guns on certain things. Just a lot of regrets there so it’s more of a learning process for me. That lasted about nine years. Now, though, I know what not to do … I know what kind of artist I want to be, what I’m capable of, what I’m not capable of.
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