Photo Credit: Fox
Thursday night, one of the three remaining contestants on The X Factor will walk away with a record-setting $5 million recording contract. Simon Cowell's search for the next "global superstar" has come down to Virgin Islands R&B crooner Melanie Amaro, 19, soulful Ohio rocker Josh Krajcik, 30, and Californian hip hip artist Chris Rene, 28. So after Wednesday night's final performance, how are the odds looking for these three very different musicians?
Judging from online polls, the current fan favorite appears to be Amaro, a former bullied teen who turned to music to express herself. As Cowell's protegee, Amaro also has underdog appeal: The show's creator initially didn't include her in the top tier of contestants, only to change his mind and invite her back to the competition.
Wednesday night, Amaro did a duet with R. Kelly of "I Believe I Can Fly," followed by a rousing solo performance of Beyonce's Dreamgirls hit "Listen." Though judge L.A. Reid said he was disappointed in her duet, the judges were blown away by the final number, with Cowell stating that Amaro "should be the X Factor winner."
"I don't know (if I'll win)," Amaro told People after the show. "It'll be close. Whatever happens, I am happy. I have made peace with myself and the show and I feel confident that I'll go far."
Krajcik, the "over-30" contestant, doesn't believe he's the frontrunner, but he certainly has a fan following of his own. A lifelong rock musician who's currently slinging burritos while pursuing his dream, Krajcik was mentored by Nicole Scherzinger. On Wednesday night, the bearded multi-instrumentalist performed a fantastic voice-and-guitar rendition of the Etta James tune "At Last," as well as a duet of "Uninvited" with Alanis Morissette.
"Hard to tell my chances tomorrow," said Krajnik following the show. "They chant for Melanie and Chris, so I feel like an underdog. But my head is held high regardless of outcome."
Then there's Rene, the bad boy trying to make good. L.A. Reid took him on as a protegee on the condition that he remain sober, which he has now for eight months. On Wednesday, his energetic duet with Avril Lavigne of her song "Complicated," and his solo performance of "Young Homie," drew enthusiastic cheers from the crowd. Rene has vowed that if he wins, he'll start a rehab clinic "so people can go and get a second chance -- if they want it."
To say it's tough competition would be an understatement. The winner will be announced on a special FOX holiday show airing tonight at 8 p.m. and featuring performances by Justin Bieber, Ne-Yo, Pitball and British X-Factor winner Leona Lewis.