In a victory that had been widely expected and predicted for weeks, 19-year-old Melanie Amaro became the first winner of “The X Factor” U.S.
The announcement was made in the show’s first season finale, which was televised on Fox on December 22, 2011. The show took place at CBS Television City in West Hollywood, California.
“The X Factor” U.S. grand prize consists of $5 million and a record deal with Sony Music. The first winner of “The X Factor” U.S. will also star in a Pepsi commercial that will premiere during Super Bowl XLVI on February 5, 2012.
After Amaro found out that she won, she was so overcome with emotion that “The X Factor” U.S host Steve Jones tried and failed multiple times to get Amaro to say something in reaction.
“The X Factor” U.S. executive producer/judge Simon Cowell, who was Amaro’s mentor on the show, made this statement on stage in reaction to Amaro’s victory: “I just want to say, America, thank you for giving this girl an opportunity. She’s going to represent this country. She is a star. And I’m very grateful. And a worthy runner-up with Josh. This is an amazing moment for me.”
Ironically, Cowelll had eliminated Amaro in the competition in late August 2011, before the show premiered, but then Cowell changed his mind and brought her back to the contest.
After being surrounded by family members and other well-wishers on stage, Amaro began crying while she sang Beyoncé’s “Listen” as her victory song.
Finally, as Jones once again asked Amaro to say how she felt, she exclaimed: “Thank you so much! I don’t even know what to say! God is good! Thank you so much. I’m so happy. I don’t know what to say. This is something I’ve wanted all my life!”
She was surrounded on stage by several former “X Factor” finalists who congratulated her.
(Click here to watch Amaro reacting to winning and then singing “Listen.”)
Amaro’s victory resulted in Josh Krajcik, 30, coming in second place. It was announced earlier in the evening that Chris Rene, 28, came in third place.
(Click here to watch Rene get eliminated.)
The final results were really not too surprising. As previously reported, several unofficial online polls and gambling oddsmakers had predicted that Amaro would win, Krajcik would come in second place, and Rene would come in third place.
Krajcik smiled as he said in his farewell speech: “I feel amazing. Melanie deserves it. She’s [got] a wonderful voice. I’ve had such an incredible experience here. I got to be myself, sing what I wanted to sing, and I couldn’t be happier.”
“The X Factor” U.S. judge Nicole Scherzinger, who was Krajcik’s mentor on the show, had this to say in reaction to him coming in second place: “I couldn’t be any more proud of him. I just love and adore you, Josh. Thank you so much for everything. And to you, Melanie, we’re so happy for you as well, my love.”
It wouldn’t be “The X Factor” without tearjerking, emotional moments. Amaro, Krajcik and Rene began crying after video segments were televised of their family members, friends and other supporters talking about the contestants’ past and wishing them well in the competition.
Speaking of tearful moments on “The X Factor,” the show poked fun at how much judges Scherzinger and Paula Abdul cried throughout the season and showed a “cry-off” to tally which judge cried more on the show.
(Click here to watch the Scherzinger vs. Abdul “cry-off.”)
The show also highlighted the most memorable conflicts between judges Cowell and L.A. Reid.
(Click here to watch the Cowell vs. Reid segment.)
The episode, which was filled with musical performances, began with all Top 12 “X Factor” U.S. finalist acts of 2011 performing Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory.” Each act (except the Top 3) took a spotlight turn on the song in the order that the act was eliminated: InTENsity, the Stereo Hogzz, Stacy Francis, Lakoda Rayne, LeRoy Bell, Astro, Drew, Rachel Crow, Marcus Canty, with Amaro, Rene and Kracjik standing together to finish off the song.
(Click here to watch the performance of “The Edge of Glory.”)
Then the final three contestants each sang a holiday song.
Amaro sang Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”
(Click here to watch the performance of “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”)
Rene sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
(Click here to watch the performance of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”)
Krajcik sang “Please Come Home for Christmas.”
(Click here to watch the performance of “Please Come Home for Christmas.”)
Next up was a previously taped performance of Justin Bieber doing “The Christmas Song” with Stevie Wonder. Bieber then sang “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” and Bieber was briefly joined by a star-struck Drew at the end of the song.
(Click here to watch the performance of “The Christmas Song” and “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.”)
Leona Lewis then sang Snow Patrol’s “Run” to a montage of emotional moments from the show’s first season.
Lewis’ performance was preceded by “The X Factor” U.S.’s picks for the Top 5 most shocking moments of the year on the show. (Crow’s controversial elimination was ranked No. 1.) Crow then came out on stage to introduce Lewis.
(Click here to watch the performance of “Run.”)
50 Cent did a medley of “Wait Until Tonight” and “In Da Club” and was joined on stage by former “X Factor” U.S. finalist Astro. Derek Fisher, Steve Blake and Matt Barnes of the L.A. Lakers were on stage too, but they did not sing/rap during the performance. The basketball stars just moved awkwardly to the music.
(Click here to watch the performance of “Wait Until Tonight” and “In Da Club.”)
Pitbull performed “International Love.” He was then joined by Ne-Yo and former “X Factor” U.S. finalist Canty for the hit “Give Me Everything.”
(Click here to watch the performance of “International Love” and “Give Me Everything.”)
Before the winner was announced, Krajick and Amaro duetted on David Bowie’s “Heroes.”
(Click here to watch the performance of “Heroes.”)
It is a tradition for “The X Factor” in other countries for the winner to sing in the season finale what will be the winner’s first post-victory single. It is unknown at this point if Amaro’s first studio single will be “Listen” and when her first studio single will be officially released.
Amaro’s first album is expected to be released in 2012.
Krajcik and Rene are also expected to get record deals with Sony Music, although it has not yet been announced which Sony labels will sign them.