By Lanford Beard
November 11, 2011 at 05:52 PM EST
Aaron Rapoport/Fox
  • TV Show

Last night’s elimination on The X Factor was the most painful yet — and not just for Paula Abdul. The Stereo Hogzz, the Houston-based quintet who were sent home, admitted that watching their mentor’s meltdown “probably hurt worse than actually being eliminated.” This from group member Trace Kennedey, who added, “It felt surreal. We didn’t want to see her like that. I almost wanted to tell her, ‘It’s okay, Paula.  If it makes it any easier, you can send us home. It’s all good. We’re content. We’re happy to be here, it was a blessing. We enjoyed the ride!’ ” Even in the face of their elimination, The Stereo Hogzz (Kennedey, Justin “Just’n” Williams, Kregg “KG” Gibson, Jonathan “Jon Glenn” Glenn, and George “Trae Badd” Jenkins III) remained upbeat in a chat with EW this morning. See what else they had to say after the jump.

Aaron Rapoport/Fox

The Hogzz were just the latest of Abdul’s mentees to be eliminated (she now has only one group, Lakoda Rayne, left in the competition). As Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger, and L.A. Reid’s performers were saved one by one, Abdul’s emotions reached a peak when she realized she had no choice but to send home her hopefuls for the second week in a row. Williams admitted the group, which was also in the bottom 2 last week, “definitely knew it was a big possibility” that they would be eliminated, “but we were mentally prepared for it.”

Abdul’s rule-defying attempt to abstain shocked the Hogzz, admitted Kennedey. Pressured by host Steve Jones, she ultimately voted to save the Hogzz. “The fact that she chose us … lets us know her dedication to The Stereo Hogzz, and we love her so much more for that.” Gibson thinks that part of the struggle for America to connect with his group was that they had “five different stories from five different guys that you have to get to know in a short time period. It’s a little more difficult.” Still, “We loved the opportunity that we got. We learned so much from the show, and we’re really grateful to have made it this far.”

The Hogzz picked their first live performance of “Try a Little Tenderness” and their boot camp rendition of Michael Bublé’s take on “Cry Me a River” as their favorites from the season. Other highlights? “Trying to give [fellow contestant] Astro swirlies in the bathroom,” joked Gibson. Of the remaining contestants, Jenkins insisted, “They’re all equally good in their own right. You can’t really make a comparison because it’s so up in the air. There’s no telling who’s going to win.”

For their next steps, Williams is ready to return home to his infant daughter, who was born on the day of The Hogzz’ first audition. “I’m really excited to get back and see her,” he said, “I know she’s gotten a little bigger since the last time I saw her.” After that, he and the guys will hit the studio to record an album. They want to experiment with all types of music, from the showstopping R&B numbers they delivered on X Factor to country and rock. They hope to cross paths again with all the judges and have their sights on a collaboration with Jaden and Willow Smith, who performed her hit “Fireball” on last night’s show. Said Williams, “When we get back in the studio, we’re going to cook up an epic album just like the epic performances you saw.”

Read more:

‘X Factor’: What we didn’t see on TV

‘The X Factor’ first eliminated act: ‘I think it was hard for America to take it in’

The X Factor recaps

Episode Recaps

Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland, and Paulina Rubio judge Season 3.
  • TV Show
  • 3
  • Pending
Complete Coverage
Available For Streaming On