X Factor's Anton Stephans on his friendship with Simon Cowell and disagreement with Nick Grimshaw

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Anton Stephans may have been the sixth act to leave The X Factor on Sunday evening, but he isn't too disheartened. The 45-year-old was full of enthusiasm as he talked to HELLO! Online just hours after leaving the competition, truly excited about his future plans and newfound friendship with Simon Cowell.

Speaking about his mentor, Anton described working with Simon as "extraordinary" and revealed it was one of the most positive experiences he had on the show.

"It was a wonderful and extraordinary experience and I've just gained so much from The X Factor, I've made a new friend," Anton said. "That's what I think the main wonderful thing is that I've made a new friend.

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Anton Stephans was the sixth contestant to leave The X Factor

"He's been in touch this morning just wishing me luck and saying he's there for me and I appreciate that a great deal."

As well as striking up a friendship with the music mogul, Anton also met Simon's mini-me son Eric when he joined his dad at rehearsals, and it appears the toddler may be a fan of the singer too.

"He's so beautiful and such a sweet little boy, and whenever I'm singing he likes to jig about. It was really sweet!" Anton said of his encounter with the youngster.

Anton said he has no regrets from his time on The X Factor

While Anton hit it off with his mentor, he did not have such a strong relationship with Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw, who suggested that he was "faking" his emotions following Saturday night's performance.

"It's one thing to play records on the radio and be a radio personality and have lots of pop star friends, and lead that lifestyle, but it's quite something else to be up there and do it," Anton said of Nick. "Three of those judges absolutely know what that's about because two of them have done it and are mega stars. One of them makes global stars for a living, so understands how it is.

"So if someone says what you're doing is not real, I can turn around and go 'Actually, you don't know what it takes to do that and that is not accurate.' It's your opinion and you're welcome to it, but I am also able to stand up for myself."

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Anton hopes Reggie n Bollie will win the show

With only three weeks until the final, Anton is hoping Reggie n Bollie will be named this year's winners as they are "the most joyous people you will ever meet". The singer said that while there are other contestants left in the competition who have incredible voices, the duo's enthusiasm and hard work means they are serious contenders to win the show.

"The sense of joy when these guys walk in the room… you can't package that, you can't write it down. It's just a gift," Anton says enthusiastically.

As for what Anton has in mind for life after The X Factor? "Of course theatre is my natural home and I love that, so I think there'll be more of that. TV is something I've turned up and I have loved that a great deal…" Anton explains. "Of course, I'm never going to stop singing and now have the opportunity to do that and record, and lots of people have been waiting for me to do that.

"Radio One are begging to play my CD so I'm sure they'll play it all day long!"

Anton wasn't the only contestant to leave the competition this week. In a shock elimination twist, Mason Noise was voted out of the competition on Saturday night, while Anton left the following evening after a sing-off against Ché Chesterman.

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