Jeff Gutt, the last man standing from the Over 25s category on “The X Factor” Season 3, has been performing for about as long as his fellow finalists have been alive. So to be competing for the title in the finale of the FOX reality competition really means a lot to him.
“I played my first gig 21 years ago, and it’s been a long road with a lot of ups and downs, and I never knew if this moment was going to come,” he tells reporters following the semifinals results show. “To stick with it through all this time, even though I never knew this moment would come, now to have it here, means everything to me.”
Because Gutt is hungry for success, Simon Cowell says he’s got the right attitude for a winner. “The best thing I heard from Jeff was when we heard on tape before the sing-off when he said that he really wanted to kill the competition. That is how the music business works,” Cowell says. “You cannot be nice and succeed. So many shows say they love each other, but they shouldn’t love each other, it’s all about winning and I saw that yesterday from Jeff and I really respect Jeff for that!”
Gutt is grateful for everything the show has given him, especially the advice from his mentor, Kelly Rowland. “I want to say thank you to Kelly for all that she has done,” Gutt says. “She has helped me through some hard times and really had me come out of my shell. I had a lot of walls that I would hide behind as a performer and she has helped me break through those walls and express, I can’t really put that into words! To see her break down like that [after my semifinals performance] really broke my heart, I wanted to hug her but I didn’t want security to take me away!”
Rowland explains that she cried because she was so overcome with emotion after seeing Jeff transform throughout the season. “Those were happy tears, and tears because I am happy for Jeff and I am thankful for Jeff trusting me,” she says. “It’s a dynamic relationship — ours was so unique. I know about those walls and I am glad they were brought down to show us who he is, and I am grateful to him and happy that he is here.”