Aiden Grimshaw May Be “The X Factor U.K.’s” Coolest Import

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks (New)

While many contestants from the "X Factor" franchise--like America's Chris Rene, Marcus Canty, and Rachel Crow, and the U.K.'s Cher Lloyd, Rebecca Ferguson, and Little Mix--continue to make inroads with their music, the darkly beautiful new tunes from "The X Factor U.K.'s" Aiden Grimshaw may comprise my favorite "X Factor" output yet. Aiden was a Dannii Minogue-mentored contestant on the seventh season of "The X Factor U.K." (the same season that spawned Cher, Rebecca, and of course, One Direction), and while he disappointingly only placed ninth, he thankfully secured a record deal with RCA/Syco anyway--and now his debut album, Misty Eye, is about to get some serious rotation in my iPod.

Aiden's indie-electro epics are sexy, brooding, and dark, with a sort of Muse-meets-Robbie Williams-meets-Placebo-in-an-Ibiza-coffeehouse vibe...and they really don't sound like the songs of some reality show contestant. (I mean that as a compliment, by the way.) This is probably why Aiden is the only TV talent competition veteran who can claim he's toured with Swedish indie darlings Niki & The Dove and has been advertised on

Misty Eye comes out next week, and you can preview it in full below. It's a real thriller, so to speak, and it even includes a lovely cover of Sia's "Breathe Me" that I wish Aiden had had the chance to do on ITV.

Will we find anyone as cool as Aiden when the ninth season of "The X Factor U.K." kicks off this weekend? We shall soon find out. But why can't we have contestants this cool on "The X Factor USA," huh?

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