Credit: FOX

Going into The X Factor Season 2, Simon Cowell’s pop girl group Fifth Harmony was largely considered the underdog of the competition — even by their mentor. Now, The sassy quintet has beat out California surfer bros Emblem3 for a spot in the final three, battling Carly Rose Sonenclar and Tate Stevens for the winning title.

In a press conference with reporters on Monday, December 17, 2012, Simon Cowell abandoned his usual wry, somewhat-ambivalent demeanor when asked about his precious Fifth Harmony. Asked how he feels going into the finale with his act as the underdog, versus his strong Season 1 frontrunner Melanie Amaro, Simon defended his girls.

It's a more interesting experience and I've got to work that much harder but, then again, I don't have that pressure. It was a hard fought semi-final. But I can feel a real momentum building up on these girls. If they're as good as they were on the semi-final, I wouldn't consider them underdogs. I think this is going to be the closest final that I've ever been involved in. I'm still backing my girls to win this.

What do you think: Does Fifth Harmony have what it takes to topple Tate and Carly?

Reporting by Carita Rizzo.