LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – An emotional Melanie Amaro won the TV singing contest “The X Factor” on Thursday, earning a $5 million recording contract and closing the first U.S. season of the heavily hyped Fox show. Josh Krajcik finished second after a public vote and Chris Rene came in third after a Christmas-themed, two-hour finale that also saw performances by Justin Bieber, Stevie Wonder, Leona Lewis and 50 Cent. …
19-year-old from Florida receives a $5 million recording contract and a spot in a Pepsi commercial that will air during the Super Bowl.
By Adam Graham
From early reject to grand-prize winner, Melanie Amaro was crowned champion of Fox’s “The X Factor” on Thursday (December 22), winning a $5 million recording contract and a spot in a Pepsi commercial that will air during next year’s Super Bowl.
Amaro, a 19-year-old from Sunrise, Florida, beat out 30-year-old Columbus, Ohio, contestant Josh Krajcik for the title of “X Factor” winner. Chris Rene, the 28-year-old from Santa Cruz, California, came in third place.
When the results were read, an emotional Amaro exclaimed, “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!” She was swarmed by members of her family, and “X Factor” host Steve Jones struggled to get a word from her. After performing Beyoncé′;’s “Listen,” Amaro said, “God is good,” and thanked her fans.
“Thank you so much, thank you. I’m just, I’m so happy and I don’t know what to say,” she said. “This is something I’ve wanted for all my life!”
Amaro’s victory was especially sweet considering she was technically eliminated from the competition after Simon Cowell sent her home following one of the early rounds. Deciding he had made a mistake, Cowell paid a personal visit to her home and invited her to rejoin the competition.
In the end, Cowell was pleased with his decision, as well as America’s choice of Amaro as its first “X Factor” winner. “We came here to find a superstar, we found a superstar. Thank you to everyone who supported the show,” Cowell said. He called Krajcik “a worthy runner-up.”
Krajcik, the husky, self-described burrito slinger, congratulated Amaro on her victory. “Melanie deserves it, she has a wonderful voice,” he said. “I’ve had such an incredible experience here. I got to be myself and sing what I wanted to sing. I couldn’t be happier.”
Earlier in the show, third-place finisher Rene said he felt “amazing” for getting the chance to participate in the competition. “I got to touch a lot of people’s hearts out there, and I just gotta say thank you,” he said.
Rene’s mentor in the competition, L.A. Reid, called Rene — a recovering substance abuser who celebrated his eighth month of sobriety earlier this week — a “gentleman” and a “talent.” “This is how it turned out, it doesn’t matter,” Reid said. “This is my man.”
“The X Factor” was one of the year’s most anticipated shows. It debuted in September with lofty expectations, with Cowell — who abandoned his judging position at “American Idol” to bring “X Factor” to these shores — predicting the show would attract 20 million viewers per episode. Instead, it pulled about half that, averaging 11.1 viewers over the course of the season, and criticism from viewers who questioned the show’s over-the-top production and the awkwardness of host Steve Jones.
Thursday’s results show followed Wednesday’s performance episode, when the three finalists performed duets with superstar acts: Amaro with R. Kelly, Krajcik with Alanis Morissette and Rene with Avril Lavigne. Following the show, Cowell heavily endorsed Amaro to be the winner.
Thursday’s two-hour episode featured a host of musical acts. Justin Bieber performed on the show, dueting with surprise guest Stevie Wonder on “The Christmas Song” and later with “X Factor” finalist (and Biebs superfan) Drew Ryniewicz on “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” 50 Cent also appeared on the show, performing his new single “Wait Until Tonight,” as well as his 2003 smash “In da Club” alongside Tony Yayo, “X Factor” rapper Astro and several members of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Pitbull, meanwhile, appeared and did a quickie version of his single “International Love” and was later joined by Ne-Yo and “X Factor” contestant Marcus Canty on “Give Me Everything.”
A countdown of the show’s top five most shocking moments rightfully named Rachel Crow’s December 8th elimination as the season’s biggest shocker, and Crow herself was brought out and joked about stealing host Jones’ job. She introduced Leona Lewis, who covered Snow Patrol’s “Run” over a package of the season’s most memorable moments.
The top 12 finalists opened the show with a group performance of Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory.” The top three contestants also performed holiday songs, with Amaro doing “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Rene crooning “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and Krajcik taking on the Eagles’ “Please Come Home for Christmas.”
Prior to the reading of the results, Amaro and Krajcik shared the stage together and performed David Bowie’s “Heroes.”
What did you think of the “X Factor” results? Let us know in the comments!
Atlanta rapper and Waka Flocka affiliate, Slim Dunkin, was mourned in a public viewing service in his hometown on Thursday night (December 22).
Behind-the-scenes clip shows singer in London with a blond bob and gold grill.
By James Dinh
Even though “We Found Love” is still ruling the charts, Rihanna is gearing up for the release of her second Talk That Talk single, “You Da One,” by releasing a behind-the-scenes teaser for the Melina Matsoukas-directed clip.
In the two-minute montage, the RihannaNavy get several glimpses at a blond-bobbed Rih with a fitted gold grill and a slew of outfit changes. For one of her ensembles, the pop titan dons a gold chain necklace and midriff-baring two-piece as she grinds up against a checkered wall with life-size playing cards nearby. Another scene finds the singer in a white tank top and tattered jean shorts, swinging a cane in between two brick buildings.
“We’re in London town!” the chart-topper tells the cameraman while the Dr. Luke-produced track plays in the background. “We tried to shoot our first setup outside, but it started to rain really, really hard. Then it stopped after we had to switch setups. … I’m running on one hour of sleep. I’m not even going to remember this tomorrow. My eyes are burning a little bit.”
Rihanna has been dropping teasers for the “You Da One” visual for some time now. Two weeks ago, she released a clip of herself getting fitted for her grill. And just a few days ago, the singer took to Twitter to share another still, which depicted the star topless, leaning back and blowing smoke into the air. “#YOUDAONEVIDEO you know im already in trouble 4 this but, i like to keep yall in the loop,” she wrote.
Fans can also expect to be kept in the loop about the video for “Take Care,” Rihanna’s collabo with Drake. MTV News recently caught up with Drizzy, who shared his expectations for the video for the Jamie xx-produced song, saying, “I want to make it perfect — the best video I’ve done to date — so I’m just taking my time.”
Are you excited for Rihanna’s “You Da One” video? Sound off below!
MTV News’ #5 Newsmaker of 2011 tells ‘Home for the Holidays’ audience in Toronto that the tune might appear on his next album.
By James Dinh
Much like Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber is treating his crew of Beliebers to some new music right in time for the Christmas holiday. On Wednesday night, the pop superstar debuted a new track called “Be Alright” to a jam-packed crowd during his Toronto-based TV concert special, “Justin Bieber: Home for the Holidays,” which airs Thursday night (December 22) on MuchMusic and CTV.
“You might hear this on my next album, you might not, but it’s a song I’m working on. I still haven’t really finished it,” Bieber told the screaming crowd, before unveiling the acoustic tune. “Basically, the concept is: Even though when times get hard with your girlfriend or boyfriend, when times get hard, you gotta just let them know that in the end, everything’s gonna be alright.”
Sitting beside his guitarist, MTV News’ #5 Newsmaker of 2011 crooned to the slow jam as the audience clapped their way through his performance, and later on, helped the star sing along to the simple hook. “Across the ocean, across the sea/ Starting to forget the way you look at me now/ Over the ocean and across the sky/ Starting to forget the way you look in my eyes,” he sang.
After the holiday special, the teen singer took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the memorable evening, writing, “Tonight was special. No rules. Music, family, friends, fans, charity, and music. Thank you. #HomeForTheHolidays.”
“Be Alright” is just a taste of what may come from the singer’s next album release. MTV News recently spoke with JB’s longtime vocal producer, Kuk Harrell, who discussed his thoughts about the pop star’s transition into adulthood.
“The only conversation we’ve had about Justin’s album that we’re about to do is it’s really important that it’s the proper transition because we’ve seen him [with] ‘Baby,’ now we’re watching him grow up,” Harrell told us. “And we can’t just throw him into the adult game right away. It has to be the proper transition. There’s a record in between.”
What do you think of JB’s new tune? Share your reviews below!