December 23, 2011 at 06:53 AM EST

Both the third- and second-place winners of the first season of The X Factor were in fine spirits backstage after the show’s Thursday night finale. In contrast to their postshow interviews after Wednesday’s performance show, they were both far more relaxed and optimistic about their futures after the show. They spoke with reporters about their thoughts on the winner, and that charming duet of David Bowie’s “Heroes.” Since this introduction has been all kinds of tortured so as to keep it spoiler-free, let’s just get to the Q&As, shall we, where the night’s results can and will be promptly spoiled for all: 



What is the next step for you?

The next step is going to come from, I’m sure, the higher-ups. There’s some decisions to make, and God willing — we’ll see what happens.

It was nice to see Josh and Melanie do that duet at the end. Had you prepared a duet had you made it to that stage?

Oh yeah. Every one of us, every way, we rehearsed that. So it was me and Josh. It was me and Melanie. It was Josh and Melanie. It was the exact same song. [sings] “Like dolphins can swim.” It’s so beautiful. Lovely.

Did you have a favorite moment for the whole series?

Talking to Stevie Wonder on the phone, and being able to perform my original songs, “Where Do We Go From Here” and “Young Homie.” Boom. Beauteous.

What was going through your head when you were waiting to hear who came in third?

I’m like, “Wait, what’s going on? What’s happening? Whoever they call first, they go?” Because I’m not really paying attention to that. I’m just there to perform. I was just floating away.

What did L.A. Reid say to you after you got the results?

“Straight to the top.”

Anything you would have done differently?

No sir. Definitely no.

What was it like for you to see your kid on the screen? Did you know that was coming?

I had no clue that was coming. It was very emotional. I couldn’t hold those tears back.

What’s your advice for Melanie going forward.

I would just say, “Enjoy it.” And she’s going to. She’s going to have fun. C’mon, man. Everybody wishes they could have that in them, and she’s so blessed to have it. She knows that. She’s going to do great things. That’s all there is to it.

NEXT PAGE: Josh Krajcik on the importance of hard work, and whether his 13-year-old daughter is a Justin Bieber fan

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