Melanie Amaro, the teen-age powerhouse cast off early in the debut season of the U.S. The X-Factor, tonight won the show’s grand prize, a $5 million recording contract and an appearance in a Pepsi ad that will during next year’s Super Bowl. The results, read on the air one night following the star-studded final performance episode, punctuated an incredible reversal of fortune for an artist Simon Cowell now calls “a superstar”. Watch Amaro’s massive win and learn the other results below.
Clearly overtaken by the moment, Amaro cried “Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh My God!” as host Steve Jones declared her the first champion of the American version of Simon Cowell’s successful British talent program. She performed a new rendition of Beyonce’s “Listen” (the song she crooned in her audition), and later told viewers that her emergence to potential mainstream pop stardom was “something I’ve wanted for all my life.”
Her win marked the end of a winding journey: the 19-year-old singer traveled from Sunrise, Florida to compete on the show, but was sent packing by Cowell in an early round. The famously scathing talent judge later reversed himself, and visited Amaro at home and asked her to return for another go. (Funny, Cowell seemed to weather that decision better than Nicole Scherzinger did when she cut Rachel Crow).
Tonight, Cowell said of Amaro, “We came here to find a superstar, we found a superstar. Thank you to everyone who supported the show… “I want to say, America, thank you for giving this girl an opportunity.”
Her victory left 30-year-old Josh Krajcik as the runner-up, with 28-year-old Chris Rene placing third.