Shaunna Murphy
December 16, 2011 AT 05:54 AM EST

WARNING: Stop reading immediately if you don’t want to know who was kicked off of last night’s episode of The X Factor. For everyone else, read on for the exit interview with the act to leave the show this week:

Three-time save-me-song champion Marcus Canty was all smiles during last night’s taping of X Factor, even when the automaton known as Steve Jones announced that he would be going home. “I like you and I don’t want you to go!” Jones cried. But alas, Canty was America’s choice, as last night’s semi-final was the first elimination episode without a judges’ vote. Still, Canty remained optimistic when he spoke to reporters backstage. “I didn’t win it, but I feel like a million dollars right now,” he said.

Canty had been in bottom two four weeks in a row, and last week’s publicly unpopular elimination brought a lot of pressure. “Honestly, I’ve been trying to keep it positive this whole time,” Canty said. “But I’m going to keep it real – the pressure is off. I don’t have to sing no more save me’s. I don’t got to worry about America shooting me down. I ain’t got to worry about Simon giving me heat. I can just relax.”

Canty’s future plans, however, don’t seem to include much relaxation at all. “Hopefully me and [Timberland] can get together,” he said. “He brought sexy back. I want to do everything — I want to be in movies, I want to be on television, I want my own sitcom. I need a nice, subtle, beautiful chick flick. I’m trying to do whatever. But I’m R&B, I’m going to stay R&B, and I’m going to take it to the top.”

Interestingly enough, one of the people giving Canty so much confidence was the same guy who had previously knocked him down — Simon Cowell. “Out in the back, [Simon] said, ‘Man, you’re amazing,’” Canty explained. “He said, ‘What you’ve got to remember is the people that got you here –your fans.’ Simon is actually a nice guy. He tries to be crazy on TV, but he’s a puppy dog, man.”

Of course, Canty gave most of the credit to his frequently-mentioned mother. “She’s so proud of me,” he beamed. “She had my back 100 percent. She was in the audience, just sitting there. She didn’t panic. I thought she was going to be crying, but she didn’t. She stayed strong. That made me happy.”

Finally, Canty played coy when reporters asked him who he thought would win next week. “I think Chris [Rene] can do Chris, Melanie [Amaro] does Melanie, and Josh [Krajcik]… who knows who is going to win, man? I’m enjoying myself. It’s a beautiful day.”

Read more:

‘X Factor’ recap: And then there were three

‘X Factor’: What we didn’t see on TV

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