Last night’s episode of The X Factor had more twists and turns then a rope factory hit by a hurricane. A lot of entertaining characters have come and gone over the course of this inaugural season, but last night’s booted contestants, Drew and Astro, were both fan favorites. The first rapper ever to make it onto a reality singing competition show (and at the Lil Bow Wow-esque age of 15), Astro proved to be a divisive but always exciting addition to the format. Meanwhile, 14-year-old Drew Ryniewicz delighted viewers with a distinct twang that breathed refreshing life into rote Roxette covers. But now, in the time it takes to erase a DVR’d X Factor episode, both contenders are out of the competition. That doesn’t mean you’ve heard the last of them, though.
You had a zen-like calmness after you got voted off last night. Did you prepare for that outcome?
I mean, I learned from my time in the bottom two a couple weeks before. You know, I had my . . . accident. If you watch close, you can see I’m sort of trying to make sure I have my new lyrics down in my head while we’re all on stage, and when they said I was in the bottom two, it caught me off guard.
So you weren’t surprised?
I was relieved to be done with it, honestly. I got so caught up in that show I could barely do anything else. Now I can release a mixtape next week if I want or hang out with my boys. Hopefully, I’ll get to make an album. Now that it’s over, I can go back to being who I was. I mean, I’m still the same Astro who had 4,000 Twitter followers before the show. [He has 138,000 followers now.]
What rapper would you most like to battle in some kind of 8 Mile-type abandoned warehouse situation?
I don’t really want to battle anyone. Some of the ones I look up to are, you know, Jay, Kanye, Pharell, Common. As far as battling, though, I don’t know.
You have Rolling Stone as your platform; which rapper do you want to officially call out for falling off?
Let me get my record deal first and then we can talk about this. Until then I’m saying no names. [Editor’s note: Smart kid!]
Can hip-hop win a singing competition show?
I think hip-hop can win. I know it can. I guess that America wasn't too happy with my performance of "Black or White" on Michael Jackson night, but that doesn't mean everything.
What’s next for you?
I’m going to be releasing a lot of music really soon. You should be seeing it on my Tumblr and some other places.
When you were saying goodbye on the show, you shouted out a girl in Cali, and pledged your love to someone named Molly. Care to comment?
Nah, man. That was corny.
Have your feelings for Justin Bieber changed as you’ve started to draw fans of your own through the show?
I am still in love with Justin Bieber.
It’s become increasingly clear that you will probably meet Justin Bieber one day. When that happens, what will you say to him?
Oh God, I have no idea. There are a few things I’ve planned before but I can’t say for sure what I’d do if I actually met him.
How crazy has your day been?
I’ve been doing press with Astro all day, which is super, super fun. Even though I’m done with The X-Factor now, today has made me feel like there’s a lot out there left for me to do.
What’s next for you?
Well, I’m still hoping that someone will want to sign me. I really want to put out an album, and I was sort of inspired by that chair I sang "Billie Jean" on the other night. I want my album cover to be that chair, but maybe broken or on fire. The album could be called “Sitting and Waiting,” but I haven’t really thought this through all the way yet.
Were you surprised by the outcome last night?
You know, there was a point where I was shocked. I had a feeling that was going to happen, though. I had a feeling the chair wouldn’t work. I knew it wasn’t a good idea. Simon’s apology for going with the chair meant the world to me, though.
Do you think the other judges might have voted against you strategically, just so Simon wouldn’t still have all three of his Girls left?
TV shows aren’t all about who wins fair and square. There’s a lot to take into account – different personalities and voices and politics. So many things go into it! I don’t even know what went into the voting. Even though they voted me off, I still wouldn’t turn down doing it again for anything.
You had a sincere religious message at the end of the episode last night, and it sounded like this was something you’d wanted to say for a while.
I wanted to spread that message, but I didn’t want to be shoving my beliefs down people’s throats. I wanted them to get to know me first, and then I had something kind of planned for the finale. I wanted people to realize I was the same person all along, even though that’s how I’d felt the whole time.
I just want everybody to know that I’ve always said you should follow your dreams, and just because I’m not on the show anymore doesn’t mean I followed my dreams and lost. I’m going to keep going beyond this show, and I encourage everybody who has a dream of their own to do the same thing and never give up.