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'X Factor' Finalists Speak Out

Josh Krajcik, Marcus Canty, Chris Rene, Melanie Amaro and Rachel Crow dish about crying on TV, the judges and their idols

December 7, 2011 12:00 PM ET
Josh Krajcik X Factor
'X Factor' finalist Josh Krajcik
Aldo Rossi / FOX

The first season of The X Factor, Simon Cowell's triumphant return to televised musical swordsmanship, is finally drawing to a close. To think it all began with September's auditions, with an overcrowded crop of 164 contestants jockeying for position. That herd has thinned into only seven finalists – wait, hold that. As of last week, two more – Astro and Drew – have been eliminated.

In advance of show's grand finale, which is just two short weeks away, we spoke with the last men and women standing. One of the below interviewees might be our next Kelly Clarkson or Chris Daughtry. In an increasingly tight race, however, guessing which one has become an exercise in futility.

Josh Krajcik

During pretty much every episode, there's a reference to your old restaurant job involving burritos. Do you hate burritos now?
I haven't gone into a burrito place lately. It's to avoid the irony. Listen, Mexican food is amazing, but I've been sticking to tacos.

Whose career would you like to model yours after?
Prince.

What's the meanest thing a judge has said to you?
Simon said we looked like Dracula and his brides onstage once, but I guess he wasn't really critiquing me so much as he was criticizing everything that was going on around me.

What's it like to cry on national television?
I think I only squeezed out one tear back when I made it through to the next level at boot camp. I guess it's good to show that you're a human being and not a reality TV show robot.

Steve Jones and Ryan Seacrest enter a boxing ring and only one is walking out. Who's it gonna be?
Clearly, it's going to be Steve Jones.

What are your thoughts on dubstep?
I don't know what dubstep is.


Marcus Canty

Would you mind name-dropping any famous people who've given you props since you've been on the show?
After I did "I'm Going Down," Mary J. Blige tweeted at me. I've also heard from Dwyane Wade, Gabrielle Union and Kelly Rowland.

As a spiritually devoted young man, did your pastor give you any flack for a recent performance that featured scantily clad girls dancing on your person while the set was alight with fire imagery?
Well, my pastor is my aunt. She didn't really get upset because she knows my relationship with God is beautiful. She thought the dancers were a bit underdressed, maybe, but she didn't have a problem with the fire.

Why does Taylor Swift always look surprised when she wins something?
As an artist, you might get these awards every time, but it's a different experience every time. I got all kinds of trophies for playing basketball back in high school and it always felt different.

Which judge has the greatest desk-side dance moves?
LA Reid. He reminds me of a dad, the way he bobs his head. It's just very soulful and I'm a soul man.

How did your mom feel about your Thanksgiving week tribute to her?
She couldn't have been more happy. She told me how much she appreciated it and how proud she was of me. I just wanted people to understand that it was for her.

You might end up in a Pepsi commercial, which I guess is an honor? Do you have a favorite Pepsi commercial?
The one with Michael Jackson.


Chris Rene

Who is your hat-style guru? Is it Justin Timberlake?
No, it's not Justin Timberlake. I like every kind of hat, but I think I like beanies the most. No, I like the not-a-fedora one I wore to the audition. I picked that up at a gas station. Eight bucks!

Have you ever regretted anything that you wrote on Twitter?
Hell no! I say whatever's on my mind on Twitter and I regret nothing.

Whose career would you like to model yours after?
All the good ones have died of drugs or gotten killed, so I don't know. Eric Clapton?

What's the coolest thing a fan has done to show you love?
One girl showed me how she drew my name on her back and wrote "love life" underneath it. That was pretty cool. Also one fan started an Asian Young Homies group on Facebook.

If you could lightly but firmly slap one judge, which one would it be?
If I could let one judge slap me around, it would definitely be Nicole.

Steve Jones and Ryan Seacrest enter a boxing ring and only one is walking out. Who's it gonna be?
Steve Jones, bitches!

What's the meanest thing a judge has said to you?
It's not mean if it's constructive criticism.

Do your fans have a fun name like Stacey Francis' Franatics?
There's the Renegades, and there's the Renaliens. Like, I just found out I have fans in outer space!

What are your thoughts on dubstep?
Dubstep is awesome!

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