Marcus Canty Marcus Canty

It was kind of inevitable. After three consecutive weeks in the The X Factor's Bottom 2, Thursday night was Marcus Canty's night to go. But the 20-year-old Maryland native has no hard feelings about the elimination.

"People picked who they wanted to be in the final, and I think everybody that's left in the competition is extremely talented — they deserve it," he said.

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Despite his elimination, Canty truly feels the competition changed him for the better. He described a "two-year window" his mother had given him to pursue a career in music before auditioning for The X Factor. Not surprisingly, she's granted him an extension.

"Before the competition I got a little lazy about my career," Canty said. "Everything that happened, my mom did for me, so I didn't have to work that much. But this competition matured me. I had to keep fighting. And going back, and seeing how many people loved and supported me... it made me want to work even harder. I won't give up on my dream."

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Even though he just missed the finals, Canty wouldn't have done it any other way — especially when it came to his mentor. "LA [Reid]'s a great guy," he said. "He was perfect mentor for me. He shaped so many of the careers I look up to. It was just fate — it felt like fate to me.

"I walked into this competition and I wasn't going to feel any regrets," he added. "I wouldn't change a thing."

The X Factor finale airs Thursday, Dec. 22, at 8/7c on Fox.