Melanie Amaro first USA 'The X Factor' champion
By April MacIntyre Dec 23, 2011, 18:44 GMT
12/19/2011 - Simon Cowell and Melanie Amaro - "The X Factor" Press Conference - CBS Televison City - Los Angeles, CA, USA © Andrew Evans / PR Photos
Newcomer Melanie Amaro hit the jackpot, winning a $5 million dollar proze on FOX's "The X Factor" first season last night.
"Oh my God!" Amaro, a 19-year-old from Tortola, British Virgin Islands who lives now in Coral Springs, FL, shared with the crowd. "Thank you so much! ...This is something I've wanted for all my life!"
Simon Cowell expressed his thanks to the audience: "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]...."
The X Factor purse is a $5 million recording contract and the opportunity to star in her own Pepsi commercial.
Nicole Sherzinger's charge Josh Krajcik finished in the runner-up spot. Chris Rene, a 28-year-old from Santa Cruz, CA, came in third place.
Amaro was poised as the frontrunner after the final performances on Wednesday night. Cowell said America should vote Amaro the winner after all four judges gave her a standing ovation.
Amaro was in the "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.
The X Factor's Top 12 acts took to the stage and performed, while the Top 3 finalists sang holiday songs. 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."
Also appearing were Justin Bieber with Stevie Wonder, Leona Lewis, 50 Cent with previously eliminated contestant "Astro" Brian Bradley, and Pitbull with Ne-Yo and Top 4 finalist Marcus Canty.
Amaro finished the finale with an encore performance of "Listen."
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