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Backstage at X Factor: Contestants Talk Tears, Kim & Kanye and Getting Cut on Thanksgiving

X Factor Judges Ray Mickshaw / FOX

It was an emotional night of performances on The X Factor stage Wednesday night, no? If you shed a few tears as the contestants performed songs dedicated to pivotal peeps in their lives, you weren't alone.

"I was like, people gotta quit cuttin' onions in here!" country crooner Tate Stevens told us backstage, joking about his own misty reaction. "I was like, I want a knife, I want to stab myself in the neck! This is terrible!"

One of the more gut-wrenching moments came courtesy of Cece Frey, who sang "Wind Beneath My Wings" in honor of her big sister, who was born with cerebral palsy and died on Christmas Eve in 1991 at just seven years old. "It was really tough getting through that," Frey said after the show, adding that she'd chosen the Bette Midler track because it was played at her sister's funeral.

Read our latest X Factor recap!

Over the course of the competition, Cece hasn't exactly come across as the warm-and-fuzzy type, but her choked-up performance Wednesday showed off a considerably softer side. Backstage, she explained why she hadn't opened up about her family's loss before now. "I did not want a sympathy vote, a sob story," she said. "But tonight, I really wanted to celebrate my sister and my family. I did it for all the right reasons, and that's really what matters in my book."

Even the playful heartthrobs of Emblem 3 got serious on performance night (they all wore shirts!). After singing One Republic's "Secrets," which they dedicated to their youth leaders/life coaches, Drew Chadwick shed some more light on the troubled upbringing he'd touched upon during the show.

"In high school, I was allowed to do whatever I wanted, and I was influenced by people who weren't positive influences," he said. "They led me down a dark path. I was 18, and I was ashamed. I wasn't doing anything with my life. I hit rock bottom. But now I can look back on everything and view it with a different [perspective]. It's awesome to be able to have gratitude for my life now." 

The mood backstage lightened considerably when talk turned to some of the famous guests inside the studio Wednesday night—namely the Kardashian clan and Kim's boyfriend Kanye West, who all showed up to suppport cohost Khloé Kardashian Odom.

Carly Rose Sonenclar proudly read aloud a complimentary tweet she'd received from Kim for her killer performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," while Arin Ray could barely contain his excitement over getting to meet a certain pair of lovebirds. "Kanye was holding hands with Kim, and he shook my hand, so technically, I was kind of holding hands with Kim Kardashian!" he said. "It was crazy."

"Kanye said I was great," added Vino Alan, "and that's enough from Kanye. He's a pretty straight-forward dude." 

TV items we're thankful for this year

Naturally, none of the contestants are looking forward to Thursday's results show when two acts will be sent packing. On Thanksgiving! Hardly seems fair, does it?

"It sucks," said Emblem 3's Wesley Stromberg, "but that's the nature of the competition."

"At least [whoever's cut] gets to go home and eat leftovers," said Drew.

Way to look on the bright side! 

OMG moments on The X Factor

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