X Factor reject Stevi Ritchie has admitted Simon Cowell laughed when he asked the music mogul for a job.
Stevi was booted off the ITV contest after a sing-off against one of the show's favourites, Andrea Faustini, who ended up in the bottom two in a shock result and was saved by votes from Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Mel B and Louis Walsh.
Only Stevi's mentor Simon Cowell opted to save him, but the judge's wildcard said it had been a different story when he went cap in hand to Simon's dressing room after the show.
He said: "I saw Simon in his dressing room last night and he did say he was going to genuinely miss me. I said, 'I'd love to work for you, Simon,' and he was laughing. So I don't know, who knows what's going to happen.
"One thing I've learned in this business is you don't take anything for granted. If things are meant to happen, they happen for a reason. But I love Simon, he's a lovely fella, he's a friend of mine as far as I'm concerned, and I really hope we stay in touch."
Stevi said he felt privileged to befriend Simon: "Since day one, people have asked me, 'Who would you like as your mentor?' and I said, 'Simon Cowell'. Then when you get to the stage of the final 12 or 13 at bootcamp and Simon Cowell walks through the door, you're like, 'Oh my God.' I rushed up to him and gave him a massive hug and kiss.
"Then to have him as a mentor on the show and do all these things with him like go for dinner, you don't do that, you know? To go for dinner with him was like, wow."
He added: "I don't know what it was, but since day one I had this sort of connection with him, I'm sure he'll say the same. We had some sort of bond, it was more than just being in front of the camera. I felt it was a genuine friendship.
"I absolutely love him, for me he's like a brother. He is the god of X Factor. I'm so glad I've got him as a friend."
The X Factor continues on ITV on Saturday.