The X Factor Finalists Perform Duets with Superstars

From left: Chris Rene, Melanie Amaro and Josh Krajcik

Ray Mickshaw/Getty(2), Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup

updated 12/22/2011 AT 8:00 AM ET

originally published 12/22/2011 AT 8:30 AM ET

The top three singers – out of 100,000 who auditioned – performed for the final night of competition on Wednesday in Los Angeles, as season 1 of The X Factor nears its end.

Josh Krajcik, Chris Rene and Melanie Amaro performed first with a superstar duet partner, followed by their "$5 million song" on a night head judge Simon Cowell promised would be “”the

The winner, who gets a $5 million recording contract and will star in a Pepsi commercial to air during the Super Bowl, will be announced Thursday night (8 p.m. ET) on Fox in a star-studded holiday show with performances by Ne-Yo, British The X Factor winner Leona Lewis, Justin Bieber and Pitbull.

Josh Krajcik

Nicole Scherzinger’s charge performed “Uninvited” with Alanis Morissette, who called the former burrito maker a “very soulful man.” “I couldn’t think of a better way to open up this competition,” Paula Abdul said of the number.

Later, he tackled the Etta James classic “At Last.” “I’m proud,” L.A. Reid said. “You look so at home up there [on the stage] … You’re such a rock star.”

“Hard to tell my chances tomorrow,” Josh said of winning. “They chant for Melanie and Chris, so I feel like an underdog. But my head is held high regardless of outcome.”

Chris Rene

The former trash collector, who celebrated eight months of sobriety this week, sang “Complicated” with Avril Lavigne, who said, “Chris is amazing … he definitely kicked ass.” Simon agreed: “[I felt] your total joy and confidence in being here,” he said. “That [duet] could be a record.”

Next, he sang “Young Homie,” including lyrics about his personal struggle with addiction. “You are serving your purpose right now with that song,” Nicole told him. Simon applauded Chris for keeping his promise to stay sober and called him “a brilliant performer.”


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