Melanie Amaro Wins First US X Factor!

Entertainment Dec. 23, 2011 AT 9:11AM
Melanie Amaro Wins First US X Factor! Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX via Getty Images

Simon Cowell predicted Melanie Amaro would win the first season of X Factor USA -- and he was right!

On Thursday's finale, the 19-year-old powerhouse vocalist beat out runner-up Josh Krajcik, 30, and third place finisher Chris Rene, 28.

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When the results were revealed by host Steve Jones, an emotional Amaro repeatedly exclaimed, "Oh my God!" as her family joined her on stage. The teary-eyed Florida native then sang a rendition of Beyonce's "Listen," though she struggled to maintain her composure.

"I have sung 'Listen' about 1 million times, and for me to get up there and not remember any of the words...I couldn't remember anything as I was so overwhelmed," Amaro told Us Weekly post-show. "It was such a surprise to me. It was like walking into a room full of people and them all yelling, 'Surprise!'"

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"For me to have won was big. I feel blessed and I feel happy," she added. "I have worked so hard to get here and I truly deserve this.

Ironically, Amaro was technically eliminated from the competition when judge Cowell sent her home during one of the early rounds. Realizing he had made a mistake, Cowell flew to Amaro's home and personally invited her to rejoin the competition.

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"We came here to find a superstar, and we found a superstar," Cowell, 53, said on Thursday's show. "Thank you to everyone who supported the show."

Amaro's prize includes a $5 million recording contract and a spot in a Pepsi commercial that will air during Super Bowl XLVI.

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