'X Factor's' Josh Krajcik: 'Regardless of the Outcome, I'm Holding My Head High'

With the finale behind him, what's next on the singer's wish-list? "A Grammy," he tells THR. "This is the start to that. I hope it can happen. I've gotta work hard.”

Josh Krajcik would be the first to admit it: although he’s performed on the X Factor stage more times than he can count at this point, he was nervous singing alongside Alanis Morissette. “Simon [Cowell] was right, I was a little intimidated at first,” he told the Hollywood Reporter after Wednesday’s show. “She's disarmingly amazing, so I got a little shy, even flustered, but I think it passed quickly!”

Indeed, once the jitters were out of the way and the Krajcik Magic kicked in, their duet of her hit “Uninvited” sounded perfectly natural, which is exactly what Krajcik was going for. “I didn't want to make it ‘Josh Krajcik featuring Alanis Morissette,’” he said. “I wanted it to be a duet about both of us and I think I accomplished that.”

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He did that and so much more. Returning for an encore performance of Etta James’ “At Last,” Krajcik said it was all about coming full-circle. “I know this sounds corny but I've been gigging in bars for 15 years, I've paid my dues and, at last, I'm beginning to make it happen for myself,” he explained.

Thinking back on that first audition, he remembered feeling elated in the company of such esteemed music industry vets. “It was much different than [finale night],” he recalled. “I'd never sang for anybody like Simon or LA [Reid] or Paula [Abdul] and Cheryl Cole at the time with Nicole [Sherzinger] backstage watching it, too. I'd never had that moment so it was just absolute joy. Where tonight was relief and pride and empowerment. I did it. I accomplished what I wanted to do, I'm proud of myself, I'm holding my head high. Regardless of the outcome, I'm happy.”

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The former self-described “burrito slinger” has learned a thing or two in the process as well. Namely, he says, “humility -- that it's not just about me. Even when you're this contestant on this giant show, everyone's important: from security to stage to wardrobe to makeup to the talent wranglers to Simon and the EPs. Everybody's got a job, they're all working hard, everyone's tired and everybody wants it to be great. I think it was an important lesson to look outside of yourself. And when you do, good things happen because people appreciate it.”

With that in mind, he has his sights set on the next goal: a Grammy Award. “That’s the dream,” Krajcik told THR. “And this is the start to that. I hope it can happen. I've gotta work hard.” In fact, he already has an album on the brain. "I know what kind of record I want to make," he said. "I haven't had a whole lot of discussions with people like LA or Simon about it, but I don't want to stick myself with just one genre. I don't think that's smart. It's gotta be the right record, you gotta take time with it, don't rush it. I want to work with the greatest writers that I can -- I'm a songwriter myself, but I'm not rigid. I want to work with the best, because it's all about the right song." 

But first things first: a much-deserved drink -- or two. Krajcik’s cocktail of choice? “Gin and Tonic with a Jack Daniels sidecar,” he said delightedly, to which we say (in our best Cowell voice), "Cheers, mate!"

Twitter: @shirleyhalperin