ETonline, Thursday, December 22, 2011, 7:23pm (PST)
America's choice for The X Factor's $5 million prize winner was announced on Thursday in one emotional, two-hour-long reveal. If you don't want to know who won, read no further.
The Cinderella contestant of the competition, Melanie Amaro, was the belle of the ball as she was crowned the winner of the FOX reality show's first season in the US. The newly minted millionaire was literally speechless when host Steve Jones made his best attempt to get her to comment on the event. Steve's efforts proved futile once the singer was flanked by family and friends who stormed the stage.
"I've had such an incredible experience here," said the show's runner-up, Josh Krajcik, humbly conceding his defeat. "I couldn't be happier."
Chris Rene, who received the night's honorable mention gave similar parting words, saying, "I feel amazing that I got to do this ... God has blessed me on so many levels."
Melanie was initially cut from the competition early on before Simon Cowell realized his mistake and brought the 19 year old back on the show.
Before the big announcement, Justin Bieber set the Christmas tone, singing The Christmas Song as a duet with Stevie Wonder.
The teen pop star made eliminated X Factor contestant Drew Ryniewicz's dreams come true when he escorted her onto the stage to sing the final note of his second number, Santa Clause is Coming to Town.
Now that Melanie has won the contest, she will also follow in the footsteps of music greats like Michael Jackson and Ray Charles by starring in her own Pepsi commercial.
"We came here, Steve, to find a superstar," said Melanie's proud mentor, Simon Cowell. "We found a superstar."
The finale also featured other notable performances by Leona Lewis, 50 Cent, Pit Bull and Ne-Yo.
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