By LYDIA GEHRING
WOOSTER — Nobody in Wooster was thinking much about the midnight premiere of “Breaking Dawn” on Thursday. Instead, they were waiting with bated breath to find out if Triway High School graduate Josh Krajcik would make it onto the top nine of Fox’s “The X Factor.”
Sighs of relief and cheers of joy could probably be heard in Los Angeles — where the show is held — when Krajcik’s name was the fifth one to be called. After a rockin’ performance of “The Pretender” by Foo Fighters during Wednesday’s show — rock week — it was hard to imagine him not getting enough votes to move on.
Judges Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid, Paula Abdul and Krajcik’s mentor, Nicole Scherzinger, raved about his performance.
“You have the authenticity, you have the stage presence, and you’re the only person who’s really rocked the house tonight,” Reid said.
Echoing his sentiments was Abdul, who was quick to admit Krajcik’s performance was her favorite of the night.
“Everything about tonight has worked unbelievably for you,” she said. “Not only is this my favorite performance that you’ve done but it’s the best performance of the evening.”
Cowell, the creator of the show, basically told Krajcik the judges are pointless when it comes to his performances.
“Never ever listen to a single person again on this show,” Cowell said. “That was … bloody fantastic.”
Krajcik’s mentor was proud as usual, and said his rock star singing was what Wednesday’s show was all about.
“You’re the ultimate rock star,” Scherzinger said. “Look, that’s how it’s done America.”
At Thursday’s Olde Jaol watch party, Krajcik’s biggest fans knew he did well with his rock night performance and were impressed with his song.
“He’s the only one that really rocked,” said Olde Jaol bartender Diane DeVault. “He didn’t perform until halfway through the show so at least we knew that Josh was going to come out and rock it.”
Krajcik’s rock song was what his longtime fans in Wooster have been expecting to see from him since the show began, and Michele Mosley said it was apparent he was comfortable with it on stage.
“He seemed very natural and in his element — there’s no pretenses about that kid,” she said. “I loved it and I am really not a rock person at all.”
Shreve Elementary School sixth-grader Halie Luc came to Thursday’s watch party with her dad, Ted. She said everyone at school has Josh Fever and is cheering him on as he continues in the competition.
“We have a big bulletin board and a ton of people wear their T-shirts,” Halie said, referring to the shirts available through local businesses, adorned with Krajcik’s mug. “My friend made a pumpkin that says ‘Josh’ on it.”
Krajcik’s stepmom, Jackie Krajcik, kept eyeing her husband and Krajcik’s dad, Ron, in the audience, sitting only a couple of rows behind the judges. She was nervous each time host Steve Jones called a different name, but knew in the end her stepson would make it through to the top nine.
“He had such a great show so I really had no doubt,” she said. “Ron is so proud of him and we just think he looked like such a rock star. We’re so very happy for Josh. Ron has been going back and forth to California every week. It’s tiring for him, but he needs to be there because you never know what may happen.”
In the end, Krajcik’s fellow over-30s contestant Stacy Francis was voted off the show.
Because of Thanksgiving, “The X Factor” performance show will air on Fox a day earlier, Tuesday from 8-10 p.m. The results show will be Wednesday from 8-9 p.m.
Fans have two hours following the performance show to vote for their favorite contestant through phone, text, Facebook, Twitter or Mobile App. Visit www.thexfactorusa.com for detailed voting instructions.
The Olde Jaol in Wooster will continue to broadcast “The X Factor” on its 20-foot screen as long as Krajcik remains in the competition.
Living editor Lydia Gehring can be reached at 330-287-1655 or email@example.com.