‘Taylor’s the nicest person in the world!’
We catch up with X Factor finalists the Cutkelvins to talk about Taylor Swift, homesickness… and their dating ban
They’re the Scottish family trio who blew mentor Simon Cowell and his guest judge Cheryl away at Judges’ Houses. Now, the Cutkelvins – Shereen, 20 (whose former girl group, Neon Jungle, sang with Taylor Swift at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show in 2013), plus brothers Jay, 24, and Kyle, 22 – hope to be the first group to win The X Factor.
Inspired by their musician dad, who passed away from a heart attack seven years ago, they’re singing to make their family proud…
WHAT’S THE TOUGHEST THING ABOUT THE X FACTOR SO FAR?
Kyle: Being away from home. I’ve got a nine-month-old baby, Jaden Lucas, and this is the longest I’ve spent away from him – my girlfriend hasn’t managed to bring him down to see the show. I want to make him proud of me.
HAVE ANY FORMER CONTESTANTS GIVEN YOU ADVICE?
K: Liam Payne said it was really important to connect with the cameras. He said, ‘Although you’re performing live, it’s the people watching TV who vote. You have to connect with them.’
SHEREEN, YOU’VE MET TAYLOR SWIFT. WHAT’S SHE LIKE?
Shereen: She’s the nicest person in the world. We also met her mum and she gave us some good advice – they were just genuinely nice people. Taylor was very down-to-earth.
WHAT’S IT BEEN LIKE TO SHARE A HOUSE WITH SO MANY PEOPLE?
Jay: It’s great fun. We come from a big family, so we’ve gone from one madhouse to another. The only difference is, this house is massive!
S: Only over food! Ash from Rak-Su wasn’t happy because Jay ate his food. Now, he puts signs on his stuff, saying, ‘Jay, do not eat!’
JAY AND KYLE, IS IT TRUE YOU’VE BANNED SHEREEN FROM ANY ROMANCES IN THE HOUSE?
J: Yes, one hundred, million per cent! She’s not allowed to date anyone.
HOW IS SIMON [COWELL] AFTER HIS FALL?
J: He’s great. He’s back on good form! It’s nice to see him back and to perform in front of him again.
SIMON’S YOUR MENTOR. HOW’S THAT GOING?
S: He makes you feel dead comfortable, like you’ve known him for a long time. If you’re watching him on TV, he might seem scary, but he’s genuinely a nice person.
WHO ARE YOUR MUSICAL INSPIRATIONS?
J: Definitely our dad. Every week when we’re on that stage, I know he’s up there, singing the song with us. We can feel his presence there, so it makes us feel a lot more comfortable.
IS YOUR BROTHER, BRANDON LEE, GOING TO JOIN THE GROUP?
K: Yeah, he’s just waiting for us to do the hard work, then he’s going to join at the end of the year [laughs]. He’s 16, he sings and raps, and he’s a very good-looking boy.
S: Yeah, Brandon will be popular with the ladies.
ANY CELEBRITY CRUSHES?
S: R&B legend Smokey Robinson for me. He’s 77, but he’s still rocking it. K: I’ve got a few. Nicole [Scherzinger] is very nice! The X Factor is on ITV, Sat, 8.10pm, and Sun, 7pm
Meet Jay, Shereen and Kyle Bro Brandon (second left) might join the group Shereen’s girl group supported Taylor Dad Derek: their main inspiration