'The X Factor' results: And the winner is ...
And the "X Factor" winner is … Melanie Amaro! Yes, at the end of the day, the teenage diva with the gigantic, pitch-perfect, incredibly supple voice captured the Season 1 crown and the $5-million recording contract.
Her most worthy rival for that crown, bluesy rocker and former burrito slinger Josh Krajcik, came in second. And Chris Rene, who made his mark with his original song, "Young Homie," and his sweet stage presence, finished a respectable third.
Steve Jones' awkward hosting style notwithstanding (former contestant Rachel Crow joked that she was after Jones' job and then proved she would, in fact, be better at it), it was a pretty satisfying night, on the whole.
We got to see all 12 final contestants, including the three group acts that I, for one, had sort of forgotten about. LeRoy Bell didn't miss his cue. Rachel Crow showed us she'd recovered her bubbly spirit after her startling elimination earlier in the season, promising that she had big things ahead. Drew returned to perform a dream-come-true duet with her one true love, Justin Bieber, who had just sung with Stevie Wonder, who seems to make a habit of strategically showing up on these talent shows.
Astro rapped with 50 Cent and the Lakers. Leona Lewis, who won the British version of "The X Factor" in 2006 and has gone on to international stardom, reminded us what a winner of this show can accomplish. Marcus Canty upstaged (in a good way) Pitbull and Ne-Yo, giving us hope for his future. And there were lots and lots of Christmas songs and Christmas trees and good holiday cheer.
And that's not to mention the heartfelt "this is your life" tributes from the people back home that left each of the top three finishers in tears. Or the fantastic duet between Amaro and Krajcik, on David Bowie's "Heroes." Perhaps they can be heroes just for one day, but both these talented singers will be successful for much longer than that.
Thankfully, it didn't work out that way. Rene bowed out gracefully with the bronze. And it appeared that Krajcik and Amaro would each have been happy enough to finish with either the silver or the gold. (Though of course there was the $5-million recording contract that came with the gold to consider …)
When Amaro won, though, well, her relief, joy and surprise were unmistakable. She couldn't speak. She couldn't sing. She couldn't even think. (We know because we saw her mouth the phrase "I can't even think.")
In the last few seconds of the finale, after the hugs from the contestants she beat for the crown subsided and Jones doggedly thrust his microphone into her face, begging for a word from her, Amaro managed a great big "Thank you!" It was the moment she had been dreaming of all her life, she said.
This time, when she goes home to Sunrise, Fla., 19-year-old Melanie Amaro will go home a winner.
Were you happy to see Melanie Amaro win "The X Factor"?
-- Amy Reiter
Photo: The top three on the "X-Factor" were, from left, Josh Krajcik, Chris Rene and winner Melanie Amaro.
Credit: Ray Mickshaw / Fox