The inaugural season of "The X Factor (US)" has just wrapped in a two-hour final, crowning British Virgin Islander Melanie Amaro as its winner. The singer, who has been one of the frontrunners since early on the show, was joined by her family immediately after the announcement. She could barely speak for being overwhelmed with her victory.
Instead, Simon Cowell, who mentored Melanie during the bootcamp, said on her behalf, "America, thank you for giving this girl an opportunity. She's going to represent this country. She is a star. I'm very proud and very grateful." The media mogul also praised Josh Krajcik, who finished second, by stating, "And Josh was a great runner-up."
Josh himself added, "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 want to sing and I couldn't be happier." His mentor Nicole Scherzinger chimed in, "I couldn't be any more proud of him and I just love and adore you, Josh. Thank you so much for everything. We're so happy for Melanie, as well."
Melanie celebrated her win by singing her audition song, Beyonce Knowles' "Listen". The 19-year-old broke down a couple of times when belting out the track. "Thank you so much!" she said. "I don't know what to say. Thank you. God is good! I'm so happy... This is something I have wanted all my life!" As confetti fell from the ceiling, she got hugs from fellow Top 12 contestants.
Melanie and Josh were left standing after Santa Cruz-born contestant Chris Rene was eliminated earlier that night. After Steve Jones announced that his elimination, the 28-year-old said, "I feel amazing that I got to do this, that I'm here and that God has blessed me with so many opportunities. I got to touch a lot of people's hearts out there and I just have to say thank you."
Following the result announcement, his mentor L.A. Reid was quick to support him. "It's a tough one, right? But I remain proud of Chris. He's a gentleman, he's a talent. Yes, it saddens me and many of his fans but this is how it turned out. It doesn't matter, this is my man," the label boss commented on his protege.
Chris performed "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" on the piano that night. He was praised by Nicole for being a "star from the inside out." Paula Abdul applauded him for being the most original one, Simon said the performance was "very cool" and he was "an inspiration" to a lot of people. As for Reid, the music mogul said being part of the journey with him is "a blessing."
When it's Josh's turn to perform, he strummed his guitar to deliver a fuzzy, heartwarming rendition of yuletide classic "Please Come Home for Christmas". Reid and Nicole gave him a standing ovation with the former saying, "I like to try to give some criticism, but you're so good that I'm always at a loss for words."
Paula added more praise by saying, "You're such a joy. .. You are so wonderful, and you affect all of our souls. Your voice is magical, you're exactly where you need to be and this song fits you like a glove." Simon gave him a boost as well, "You've represented this category so well," the media mogul gushed. "I don't think there should be an age cap. If you've got it, you've got it."
His mentor, Nicole, also couldn't be more proud of him. "From Simon's lips to God's ears, I flippin' love you, and I appreciate you so much because of the artist that you are," she said. "You open your heart and soul to us like no other person in this competition has. You inspire me and you make me want to be better."
Prior to Chris and Josh's performances, Melanie belted out Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You". Reid thought it was "the best friend a song has ever met," while Nicole said that all she wants for Christmas is a Melanie Amaro album. Paula talked about how happy and beautiful Melanie looked like on the stage. Simon, meanwhile, praised her growth as a person and as a musician.
Josh Krajcik's "Please Come Home for Christmas":