'X Factor' Redux: Why Josh Krajcik Will Win

Josh Krajcik black and white P
Aldo Rossi

The X Factor's last four standing are finally revealed tonight, and while a shocker is de rigueur this late in the competition, one finalist making it through comes as no surprise at all. 

Expect the unexpected could be Josh Krajcik’s slogan. From his very first audition, with Etta James’ “At Last,” a song Simon Cowell has heard butchered too many times to count, the burly burrito maker, as he was regarded in the early phases of X Factor U.S., has left America floored with every performance (with the possible exception of “Dirty Diana” on Michael Jackson night -- a rough one all around).

And it’s no wonder: from his gravelly voice to the pitch-perfect delivery to that sweet Midwest demeanor, Krajcik endeared himself to viewers young and old from night one, and he’s only improved with time. Look no further than his brilliant spin on Rihanna's "We Found Love," his spot-on take on “With A Little Help From My Friends,” Joe Cocker-style, and a bombastic run on the Foo Fighters’ “The Pretender.”

As one of Nicole Scherzinger’s “Over 30s” contestants, Krajcik has long had the deck stacked against him. First fatherhood (he had a daughter while barely out of his teens) threw off a professional music career for the Columbus, Ohio native, then depression and finally age. But talent never fades and fortunately his ambition didn’t either. Throughout the competition, he’s proven that time and time again as more marketable acts -- ahem, Lakoda Rayne -- have come and gone, and now only the strongest remain.

Josh says he rarely watched television singing shows like American Idol, but if he had, he would know the advantage guitar-playing male singers have had, especially in the last five years. Had he studied the X Factor predecessor, he may have even stumbled upon a performance he shares with Idol’s season 7 winner, David Cook. Both delivered moving versions of Roberta Flack’s tearjerker “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” Let’s hope that’s not the only thing these two guys have in common.

Twitter: @shirleyhalperin