Everyone knew returning to X Factor Malta this year after being eliminated in the first season would throw you under the microscope like never before, but that didn’t stop one young man from trying his luck and making it all the way to this Saturday’s Live Final. This is the story of that young man. Ladies and gentlemen, Kyle Cutajar.
Half a decade ago, a baby-faced, 14-year-old Kyle Cutajar took the stage during a Christmas telethon… and while he looks barely recognisable, that signature deep voice was already there.
The teenager from Birżebbuġa sang a surprisingly mature rendition of Hallelujah, and what followed was five years’ worth of performances, improvements and highlights… thankfully all of which have been televised.
Speaking of Birżebbuġa, Kyle had made his hometown proud all the way back in 2016…
Celebrating the coastal town’s feast in style, the teenager featured prominently in the song F’Qalb Uliedek, a celebration of the summertime village feast written by Wayne Spiteri.
In 2017, on yet another TV programme – this time Arani Issa, Kyle showed up with an even deeper voice and sophisticated cover.
Choosing to go for the Jimmy Fontana classic Il Mondo – a song he would revisit soon enough – Kyle impressed the studio audience (and no doubt the audience back at home)… but it wouldn’t be his only appearance for 2017.
At the 2017 Oħloq Tbissima Marathon in summer 2017, Kyle sang the more recent (and freshly-released) Human by Rag’n’Bone, showcasing his ability to also hit some high notes while still maintaining his now-signature low voice.
2018 kicked off with Kyle revisiting Il Mondo, and one thing soon became very clear: the teenager had been working very hard on perfecting his vocal chops.
Now approaching 17, Kyle’s rendition of the classic – shot in Italy for added effect – showcased everything that the young singer was slowly becoming famous for, along with a touch of refined talent that was steadily starting to bubble up.
In 2018, ready to take on a bigger challenge, a 17-year-old Kyle took his chances at the first season X Factor Malta. But it was just not meant to be…
“Music is something I just can’t live without,” the young singer said in his introductory comments. “So I decided to apply.” The rest was history.
Performing Beyoncé’s Listen, Kyle had a slightly rocky start when Howard Keith told him he needed to sing a song that wasn’t “too big” for him. So instead, the 17-year-old went for something he was definitely more comfortable with… Human.
“Better, much better,” Howard replied. “Your image is giving me an idea for something in particular, and I’m not sure your voice’s tone is enough on its own.”
“I think you deserve to develop further through this competition, so it’s a yes from me,” Alex said, with all the judges echoing her Yes.
Kyle was eventually put in a group, the trio Systm 12.
Making it through the Six Chair Challenge, Systm 12 failed to progress past the Judges’ House stage, with Jonas Blue’s Polaroid being their last performance.
And even though Kyle did not make it through to the first X Factor Live Finals, 2019 landed him even more TV appearances… including one with none other than Destiny.
At the Hope Mission Fest marathon, now 18 years old, Kyle was joined on stage by the Junior Eurovision Song winner – and his future X Factor competitor – for a beautiful duet-rendition of Shontelle’s Impossible.
It was clear that the young singer was not taking his downtime from X Factor any slower and was working hard on improving his voice for the new decade, soon enough appearing on yet another telethon, this time Oħloq Tbissima 2019.
In a sign of things to come, Kyle sang Feeling Good… a song he would revisit and perfect in the months to come.
Finally, last summer, Kyle was ready to take on X Factor one more time… this time hellbent on taking centre-stage as a soloist.
“Ageing and improving like fine wine”, in the words of X Factor Malta’s producers themselves, Kyle returned to the audition room with Sam Smith’s I Know You’re Not The Only One.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Kyle told the judges. “I’m grateful for the group last year, because it helped me grow into the artist I am today. I now have more self-confidence and knowledge on singing.”
What followed was a performance that left previous critic Howard Keith beaming, Ira Losco glowing, Ray giving his full approval… and Alex crying.
What followed was Kyle’s second round of four yeses, something which he wasn’t going to take lightly moving forward.
Every single time the teenager appeared on the stage from then on, he looked 100% ready to show how far he’s come over the last couple of years.
Week by week, as the contestant whittled down, Kyle found himself surrounded by less and less male singers… until eventually, he ended up quite literally becoming the last man standing.
Providing audiences everything from colourful bouts like the 80s banger Never Gonna Give You Up to the classier, suited up performances that he’s gradually become famous for (including the grand return of his favourite Feeling Good), Kyle has worked hard to maintain his place every single week… and will definitely be proud to see how far he’s come in just over year.
But when you really think about it, this young man has been working hard for well over half a decade.
This is part of an ongoing series shining a light on this year’s X Factor Malta finalists. Tune in tomorrow for the next profile.