Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co Photo: Josh Krajcik, Melanie Amaro, and Chris Rene on the X Factor Finale, on December 22, 2011

While Melanie Amaro took the grand prize on Thursday night’s X Factor, runner-up Josh Krajcik and third place finisher Chris Rene still had plenty to say backstage after the show.

Burly Ohio native Josh, who surprised many by finishing in second place, told reporters how he felt when it was announced that Melanie won: “Relief that it was over, pride for her, pride for myself.  She deserves to win.  She was wonderful.  America decided.  She has such an amazing voice.  She’s such a great girl.  I couldn’t be happier for her.”

Josh was also surprised he leaped over Chris Rene for second.  “I was ready for me to be third.  I kind of got in that mind set.”

Now, he said, “I feel like the future’s bright and everything I’ve done in my life has led to tonight.  It’s a turning point in my life and now I get to work.  My main thing is to just get busy with whatever I can do from the amazing opportunity that this show has afforded me.”

After taking a week off in Ohio to decompress with his girlfriend, Megan, Josh plans to return to Los Angeles to pursue his musica career.  He told Wetpaint Entertainment what to expect: “If you asked me which rock star’s career do I admire, it would be [Eric] Clapton or [Paul] McCartney.”

Meanwhile, Chris, whose path to sobriety impressed many X Factor viewers, told Wetpaint Entertainment about winding up third, “My feelings towards it are acceptance and happiness and joy.  You guys are all talking to me.  Look at this.  Everyone who knows my music and knows what I’m about, knows my story, I look at that and I go, the reason why I came here was to do myself, to be myself, and if people accept me for that, that’s beautiful and if they don’t, that’s beautiful.  More people have accepted me than I thought so that’s really beautiful.”

Chris said when Melanie won, he was delighted.  “I said onstage, with my eyes, ‘good job, homie!’ “

Like Josh, Chris is now itching to launch his music career: “I’ve got a lot of music that I’d like to put out.”  He told Wetpaint Entertainment that he’d love if some current artists could do cover versions of his original song “Young Homie,” which was one of the season’s highlights.  “Kayne West could do a cool one definitely, [and] Drake [and] Jack Johnson.”

Now that the show is over, Chris is going to get a new tattoo to join his many others, which include musical notes and a microphone.  “I’m getting bricks and halfway down they’re broken and behind it is the clouds with the castle and angels flying on it.”