By Adam B. Vary
Updated December 02, 2011 at 08:19 AM EST
Nino Munoz/Fox

WARNING: Do not read further if you don’t want to know who was kicked off of last night’s episode of The X Factor. For everyone else, read on for the exit interview with the second act to leave the show this week, after the judges’ vote:

Nino Munoz/Fox

Drew Ryniewicz may have been a wet ball of tears during last night’s X Factor, no more so after she and Marcus Canty were forced to sing to save their spot in the competition. But a couple hours after all the judges but her mentor Simon Cowell voted her off the show, the spunky 14-year-old had dried out and found that indefatigable smile of hers once more. “You know, I kind of had a weird feeling about tonight in the first place, so I was honestly dreading the results all day,” she told reporters backstage. “When I was on stage, I finally let out my feelings of being sad. I knew something was not going to go the way that it should.”

“But as the night’s gone on,” she continued, “I’ve realized that this is the greatest experience of my life. And everyone’s going to be going home, whether they’re the winner or someone else, in the next few weeks. So for me to have made it this far is an honor. For me to be on the first X Factor [in the] U.S.A. and, you know, just to be able to say that I’ve worked with Simon Cowell, and I’m best friends with Melanie and Rachel Crow. I’m best friends with people who are still on The X Factor, might I say!”

That’s not to say Drew didn’t have plans to make it all the way to the end. In fact, she explained she was planning on saving her statement at the end of this week’s results show — “Jesus loves all of you guys and I haven’t gotten to say that and that’s what I’m here for and that’s what I was truly in this competition for so now I’m saying it” — for the finale. “I understand that people’s beliefs can make a huge wall and make people not want to vote for them,” she said. “And so I’ve gone on with this competition not hiding my belief, but I’m not shoving it down anybody’s throat. I had this whole thing planned out for the finale to show that I haven’t changed and nothing can change me as a person. No matter if they agreed with my beliefs or not, I wanted them to see that who I am as person will never, ever change, and didn’t change through the whole process. So when I didn’t get to go to the finale, I was like, ‘I’ve gotta get this out there quick!’ I wasn’t going to, like, rub anything in anybody’s face about that. I just wanted to be the singer. I just wanted people to see my talent for a while.”

As for Drew’s mentor, the usually above-it-all Brit was visibly upset at the prospect of his first contestant leaving the show. “I came to a peace about going home, but I don’t think Simon came to that same peace,” said Drew. She explained that, like Simon even said himself on the show last night, his confidence in his decision for Drew to sing a mournful ballad version of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” while seated in a chair the entire time was ultimately his undoing. “Simon told me at the beginning of the week, ‘This is going to bring you back to the top,'” Drew said. “He feels guilty. I don’t think he should feel guilty at all because I got to the top 7. Not everybody can win this show, and he has two girls left representing him.” That said, she does admit to wishing she could have showcased “that side of me that is a teenager who dances around — the fun side. I’m definitely going to do that with my album.”

She may have a chance to make that album soon. After the show, Drew said she hugged Simon and told him she was okay. “And he said, ‘Drew, just listen to me. In a few weeks’ time, this is going to be all different, and I will let you be the Drew that you started off as, the fun Drew. Just wait. Just wait. A few weeks.’ Now, I don’t know what ‘a few weeks’ means. But that brings up my hopes.”

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The X Factor

Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland, and Paulina Rubio judge Season 3.
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