“The X Factor” auditions continued last night, Sept. 18, and Detroit area singer/songwriter Jeff Gutt returned to vie for a recording contract again after being cut from the competition last year at boot camp level.
Both Demi Lovato and Simon Cowell instantly remembered Gutt, and advised newbie judges Paulina Rubio and Kelly Rowland that he had mad vocal skills. In fact, Cowell praised him right out of the gate and told him he was glad he decided to return.
Gutt, 37, is a single dad who lives from gig to gig. He’s performed in clubs throughout Michigan, including The Machine Shop, John D. Bistro and many more. His signature rock sound boasts stadium strength and he wowed the judging panel last year with his unforgettably unique version of Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah.”
The charismatic singer advised Cowell and company he’d be singing Aerosmith’s smash hit, “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing.” Cowell’s face fell during the performance and he signaled for the sound crew to cut the music.
Cowell told Gutt he sounded like he was trying to impersonate Steven Tyler and was battling with the song the entire way. However, he decided to give Gutt’s skills the benefit of the doubt and asked him to sing something else, so he could hear his voice properly.
Gutt called up “Creep” by Radiohead and his own edgy and melodic voice fit the lyric and the music like a glove. His vocal range hit glorious highs and powerful growls and by the end of the song Demi Lovato was on her feet with a standing “o.”
A relieved Simon Cowell praised the effort and said, “This is why we don’t have an age limit on this show, Jeff, to find people like you. I am honored to have you back on the show.”
Lovato told him, “I believe timing is everything. You weren't supposed to be here last year. You’re supposed to be here now.”
In the end, all three female judges voted Gutt through to the next round, with Cowell adding, “You are the one who got away last year. You’re not getting away this year. It’s four yesses.”
Jeff Gutt moves on to the next stage of what he hopes will be a fight to the final prize. With a huge platform like “The X Factor” behind him, the accomplished rocker just may prove that dreams can come true at any age, at any time.
More importantly, if Lovato is right, and it is indeed his time, Gutt’s second shot may allow him to follow in the footsteps of some infamous Michigan natives who have become music legends like Bob Seger, Aretha Franklin, Madonna, Eminem, and Kid Rock, to name a few.
At this point, Jeff Gutt seems poised and ready to join that impressive roster. Fans throughout Detroit and its surrounding cities are undoubtedly pulling for him to succeed.
“The X Factor” airs Wednesdays and Thursdays in Flint on WSMH FOX66 at 8 p.m. EST.