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After more than six grueling weeks of learning songs, rehearsals and performing in front of millions of viewers, it all comes down to Wednesday night’s “X Factor” finals.
Dueling for the top prize are rocker Jeff Gutt, boyfriend-girlfriend duo Alex and Sierra, and Latino pop singer Carlito Olivero.
“It’s crazy,” Olivero, 24, said during a phone interview from the show’s set Tuesday afternoon. “It’s overwhelming but bittersweet in a way, because the show is almost over.”
“For the last six months the show has been our life,” he continued. “Just now I was on stage and walked off to talk and then we are going somewhere else.”
No one was more surprised than the Chicago-native when the show’s host Mario Lopez told him he was safe and into the finals last week.
“I lost my mind. I went to another planet,” Olivero recollects, adding that this was a huge accomplishment for him. “I was singing ‘Suavemente’ and I was all over the stage like I had drunk 15 Red Bulls.”.
Olivero, who is of Puerto Rican and Mexican heritage, said the fact that he was the first to make it into the finals shows that America really wanted him there.
Among his biggest fans that night – and throughout the competition – was Olivero’s mentor and judge, Mexican superstar Paulina Rubio.
“She was so happy. She said I deserved it,” he said. “She told me America is finally seeing who I am.”
On Tuesday, Rubio took to Instagram to show her support for Olivero, posting a picture of the two with the caption “So proud of @carlitosway89 <3 <3”
“It really means a lot,” he said.
Although Olivero did not reveal many details about what fans can expect from him in the finals Wednesday night, he did say he will be singing some up-tempo songs along with a ballad.
“They can expect a lot more vocal songs,” he said. “It’s going to be a great show.”
He will just need viewers’ votes to win it.
“I want to thank everyone at home for supporting me,” Olivero said. “Us Latinos, we are going to bring it home.”
The show airs Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m. on FOX.