Melissa received Nashville Star's sixth-season grand prize package of a Warner Bros. record deal, a performance at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, and a Toyota Tundra.
She defeated Gabe Garcia, a 28-year-old from Lyle, TX who currently resides in Dickson, TN, who finished second.
Before Nashville Star host Billy Ray Cyrus revealed Melissa as the winner, judge and mentor John Rich reiterated comments he made during a Friday conference call with reporters that the competition between Melissa and Gabe was "too close to call."
"I know a lot of people have watched this show that maybe have never listened to country music before. They're seeing the two of you stand up here -- we have a mother of five and a Hispanic-American country singer as the Final 2," said John. "This is what country music is about. I think it's a horse race. It's a photo finish."
Shawn Mayer, a 21-year-old from May City, IA who currently resides in Madison, TN, finished third.
"I would have done nothing different. Absolutely nothing. I'm so happy to be here. You know what? [Nashville Star first-season finalist] Miranda Lambert got third place, so maybe that's a sign. I don't know. But thank you guys so much. It means so much to me," said Shawn after her ouster.
"The Nashville Star tour is coming up and the moment I get out of press tomorrow I'm going to be right out there doing some more shows to get myself and earn myself a record deal, and hopefully earn my spot on that circle on the Ryman stage, the Opry stage."
"It would really change everything about our lives," said Melissa when asked what it would be like to win Nashville Star. "It would change part of how we raise our children. It would also give them open doors... Just to find the words is crazy."
Melissa's first single -- "What if it All Goes Right" -- will make its country radio debut today. It is also currently available for download via NBC's website.
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