Josh Krajcik on his 'Surreal' Return to the 'X Factor' Stage, Favorite Season Two Finalist

Josh Krajcik X Factor Season 2 P
Ray Mickshaw / FOX

Josh Krajcik is a romantic through and through.

Asked what inspired his new song "One Thing She'll Never Know,” which the X Factor season one runner-up performed on Thursday’s elimination show, the 31-year-old Wooster, Ohio native says, quite simply: love.

“I always remember being a child and feeling that first moment of love,” he told The Hollywood Reporter after the show. The song, which featured a lush string ensemble to accompany and compliment Krajcik’s soulful vocals, is from his just-released EP -- a four-song collection that serves as “a nice little taste” of what’s to come from a full-length, due out next year via publishing giant BMG. Consider it an amuse-bouche, of sorts.

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“Creatively, this year has been amazing,” Krajcik added. “I've worked with some great producers” -- among them: ‘Eg’ White (Adele, Florence +The Machine), Julian Bennetta (Leona Lewis), Andrew Frampton (Natasha Beddingfield, The Script), Steve Kipner (Christina Aguilera, 98 Degrees) and Steve Robson (Rascal Flatts, Take That) -- “and everybody got my vision. We got to the place I wanted to be and I'm really excited about it.”

That place is one of authenticity, Krajcik continued: “The thing that's really important for me is that the music's got to feel real. I have to talk about things that I don't necessarily know about, but I feel. I like to write from an emotional standpoint -- less of a storyteller.”

Speaking of the visceral, how did it feel to be back on the stage that made him a household name (albeit, one that’s difficult to spell)? “It was great to see Simon [Cowell] and L.A. [Reid] with their little smiles and Demi [Lovato] and Britney [Spears] are beautiful,” said Krajcik (his season one mentor, Nicole Scherzinger, has moved on to judge X Factor UK). “It was really fun and also kind of a surreal in the sense that it was like a time warp. But it was different this time because it was less of a pressure cooker. I just got to go out there and do my thing.” In fact, Krajcik added, he would have welcomed feedback on his performance.

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As for the season two finalists, some of whom (certainly Vino Alan) were likely inspired by Krajcik’s own ascent to the No. 2 spot. “They're all very talented and, in a sense I have empathy for them, since I've been there,” he said. “I think I like Tate [Stevens]. I kind of relate to him in the sense that he's a dad and a work-every-day kind of man.”

Kracjik met Tate and Vino backstage on Thursday, and said they were both “really nice and cool.” And while the latter was later eliminated, Krajcik sees a thriving career ahead, “If he gets in a kick-ass rock band.”

His advice for any and all contestants comes by way of Krajcik's own experience and hard-earned wisdom, and it goes a little something like this: “Remember, it's not just about winning this show. It's about everything that you do afterwards. The goal isn't to win. The goal is to have an amazing career.”

Spoken like a true pro.

Twitter: @shirleyhalperin