In a press conference on the X Factor soundstage yesterday, Simon Cowell said that this week’s season 1 finale will be “the greatest finale ever, in terms of talent.” And he’s not just saying that because his mentee Melanie Amaro seems best poised to take home the title. We think.

Cowell was joined by Amaro, her competitors Chris Rene and Josh Krajcik, plus his fellow judges Nicole Scherzinger, Paula Abdul and L.A. Reid to discuss this week’s two-night finale. Here’s what we know we can expect from the finalists and their special guests on Wednesday (8-9:30pm) and Thursday (8-10pm). But there are plenty of secrets in store, too!

Special Appearances, Superstar Duets
Bieber, Pitbull and Ne-Yo are definitely confirmed to appear on Thursday’s final episode. Melanie, Josh and Chris will each perform duets with “superstar acts,” but Simon wouldn’t say who, as negotiations are still ongoing. Those acts won’t be revealed until the day of the show.

The Finalists’ Final Songs
On Wednesday’s final performance episode, each singer will perform three songs.

Simon Cowell isn’t normally one to admit his mistakes (because he doesn’t think he makes any), but the judge admitted that on Sunday night, he changed one of Amaro’s final songs because he “believed it was too British, too old for her.” Because he was being too British for her. “So I’m trying to think American, and that’s what Melanie has mainly taught me,” he said. “I can’t do this from a British perspective.”

And yesterday, it sounded like the change paid off. Simon tweeted that Melanie sounded so good in rehearsals that she was going to “blow the roof off” on Wednesday, adding, “L.A. Reid looking very grumpy.” 

Of course, the contestants are keeping their final songs — their final pitches to America for why THEY should win — under wraps until Wednesday. But Josh Krajcik promised his Twitter followers that he’s “gonna deliver & show the world what it takes to win.”

As for their order of performances on Wednesday: At the press conference, host Steve Jones brought out three cards with the numbers 1, 2 and 3 on them. Melanie picked #1, which meant she got to select her performance slot first. As Simon smiled, she chose to close out the show in the coveted “pimp spot.” Lucky girl!

The Gloves are Off!
It’s easy to see that Melanie, Chris and Josh respect each other. But that doesn’t mean they won’t do or say anything to win.

Beyond her big voice, Melanie says that she has more “fight” than her male competitors: “Yes, Chris has his story. Josh has his daughter and everything. But to me, they still don’t have half of the fight in me that I have,” she says. “They don’t. And that’s just me being honest.” She’s Simon Cowell’s protege, alright.

Josh thinks he should win for one simple reason: He’s just plain better. “I’m not as youthful as the other two. But I think that I’m better. I know that I’m better and that gives me the edge.” He also sees himself as more versatile than his competiton: “I have more to offer as an artist than Melanie or Chris. I’m a songwriter. I can play a mean piano. I can rip serious guitar, and I can sing.”

Chris may not be the best singer, but he’s got his own secret weapon: His charm. “If it was a singing competition, I feel like Melanie and Josh will go head-to-head. But this isn’t a singing competition. This is The X Factor and they’re looking for something, and I feel like I’ve got it.”

About That $5 Million Contract: What Would Their Records Sound Like?
At yesterday’s press conference, Amaro said her record would be big ballads and dance songs. Krajcik hoped to make a versatile blend of “a big rock song, a soul song, a ballad,” saying, “That’s what makes an interesting record.”

Rene thought that his debut would be “hip-pop, rock and soul; so many different things,” and concluded, “All the albums we three would do would be very different. I can’t wait.”

They’ve each so talented and charming, and their fanbases are rallying more than ever before to rock the vote… Who do you think is going to win The X Factor?

(Image courtesy of FOX)

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.