Melanie Amaro crowned 'The X Factor' winner, defeating Josh Krajcik
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/23/2011
Melanie Amaro was crowned The X Factor's champion during the new Fox reality singing competition's live finale on Thursday night.
"Oh my God!" Amaro, a 19-year-old from Tortola, British Virgin Islands who currently resides in Coral Springs, FL, tearfully repeated in shock after her victory was announced.
"Thank you so much! Oh my God. I don't even know what to say. Thank you. God is good! Thank you so much. Thank you. I'm just so happy and I don't know what to say. This is something I've wanted for all my life!"
"I want to say America, thank you for giving this girl an opportunity. She's going to represent this country. She is a star. I'm very, very proud and I'm very grateful -- and a worthy runner-up with [Josh Krajcik]. This is an amazing moment for me," Amaro's mentor Simon Cowell, who also served on the judging panel, told The X Factor host Steve Jones.
"We came here, Steve, to find a superstar and we found a superstar. Thank you to everyone who has supported this show. I'm very, very grateful. Thank you."
For winning The X Factor, Amaro will receive a $5 million recording contract and the opportunity to star in her own Pepsi commercial.
Josh Krajcik finished in the runner-up spot.
"I feel amazing. Melanie deserves it. She has a wonderful voice. I had such an incredible experience here. I got to be myself, sing what I wanted to sing, and I couldn't be happier," the 30-year-old from Wooster, OH who currently resides in Columbus, OH, said.
"I couldn't be any more proud of him and I just love and adore you, Josh. Thank you so much for everything. And to you [Simon] and Melanie, we're so happy for you love," judge Nicole Scherzinger, who mentored Krajcik throughout the competition, explained.
While Amaro had never landed in the bottom two all season and Krajcik was only one of the final two contestants in danger of elimination once -- although it was not revealed whether he was actually one of the lowest vote-getters that week -- the two finalists seemed neck-and-neck in the competition.
However, Amaro had been considered the frontrunner to take home the season's title based on the judges' reviews of their final performances on Wednesday night. Cowell had noted that America should vote Amaro the winner after all four judges have her a standing ovation.
Chris Rene, a 28-year-old from Santa Cruz, CA, came in third place.
"I feel amazing that I got to do this -- that I'm here. God has blessed me with so many opportunities. I got to touch a lot of people's hearts out there, and I just gotta say thank you," Rene said following the announcement of his third-place finish halfway through the broadcast.
"Well, it's a tough one, right? But you know what? I'm still proud. I remain proud of Chris. He's a gentleman; He's a talent. Yes it saddens me. I'm sure it saddens many of his fans, but this is how it turned out. It doesn't matter. This is my man," judge L.A. Reid said of his mentored act.
Amaro was an act in Cowell's "Girls Under 30" category, Krajcik was one of Scherzinger's "The Over 30's" acts, and Rene was a performer in Reid's "Boys Under 30" category.
Jones revealed that Amaro had won the competition based on the home viewer votes cast immediately following Wednesday night's final performance show, which featured the Top 3 finalists each singing two songs -- the first of which was a duet that featured a well-known artist and the second was a solo performance Cowell labeled "the five million dollar song" of the whole competition.
During Thursday night's live results show, The X Factor's Top 12 acts took to the stage and performed, while the Top 3 finalists sang holiday songs without the pressure of the competition weighing upon them.
Amaro performed "All I Want for Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey, Rene sang "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and Krajcik performed a bluesy rendition of "Please Come Home for Christmas."
The X Factor judges offered their comments after the performers finished their songs and had nothing but positive feedback for all three of the finalists.
The filler-filled broadcast also featured a duet with Amaro and Krajcik and additional performances by Justin Bieber with Stevie Wonder, Leona Lewis, 50 Cent with previously eliminated contestant "Astro" Brian Bradley, and Pitbull with Ne-Yo and previously ousted Top 4 finalist Marcus Canty.
During Wednesday night's final performance show, Krajcik sang "Uninvited" in a duet with Alanis Morissette and then followed it with a solo performance of "At Last" by Etta James.
Rene performed "Complicated" with Avril Lavigne and then returned to the stage to sing his original song "Young Homie" for the solo portion of the show.
Amaro sang a duet with R. Kelly to the song "I Believe I Can Fly" and then performed "Listen" by Beyonce Knowles afterwards.
After she was crowned the champion of The X Factor's first-ever U.S. version, Amaro closed out the show with an encore performance of "Listen" and was congratulated by her fellow contestants and loved ones.