'The X Factor': Carlito Olivero and Paulina Rubio on peaking at the right time

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carlito-olivero-x-factor-semifinals-boyfriend-i-need-to-know.jpgTalk about peaking at the right time: Carlito Olivero, Paulina Rubio's last remaining contestant in the Boys category, had his best night ever during "The X Factor" semifinals on Wednesday night (Dec. 11). He's been an underdog throughout the entire competition, but during his performances of Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend" and Marc Anthony's "I Need to Know" he proved that he deserves his slot in the final four.

"If there was ever a time to peak and get to that level it was the semifinals. Nobody here wanted to come off that stage knowing it was maybe one of the last times we performed on that stage and knowing we could have performed better," Olivero tells Zap2it backstage after the show. "I feel like America has had my back this whole competition and I have been the underdog and fought for survival the whole way. Being in the bottom two last week I definitely knew I needed to step up my game three or four times as much as I had. I just wanted to show America that I didn't take this for granted."

How did he step that game up? Solid song choice -- and new underwear. "I wore briefs this week so I felt like they kept a lot of things together," he says with a laugh. "But other than that I just felt like it was an amazing energy, man. ... I just went out there and I had fun with it. I loved that I was able to do the Bieber song and start it off with a rap. I didn't have to be so put together or sing for my life. I was able to just get the crowd going and have hype and just have fun with it."

Olivero's mentor, Paulina Rubio, says she's incredibly proud of her contestant. "I am just so excited for him," she tells Zap2it. "To see him grow and enjoying being more in his zone is just amazing. I think little by little he has been gaining. I think tonight was a really good night for him."

Although no plans for finale duets have been announced, Rubio says she'd happily record a duet with her mentee. "An original [song], of course. I hope we can have the time to write an amazing song." Olivero's up for it. "That is amazing," he says. "That is the pop goddess right there of Latin music. Who better to work with? She is my mentor. I would love to just hang out with her and get something to eat and hit the studio and make some music."

Photo/Video credit: FOX