December 23rd, 2011
01:15 PM ET
"X Factor" went out with a bang Thursday, announcing the winner of the season and bringing special joy to Simon Cowell, the show's creator. (Interestingly enough, the reality series also came in No. 1 among unscripted shows in ratings for the fall, according to Entertainment Weekly, surely only furthering Cowell's joy.)
It was a two-hour ride filled with great performances and flashbacks and teary-eyed stories from the people who knew the finalists best. We even got a chance to see the top 12 contestants revisit the stage. From Stacy Francis to Lakoda Rayne to Stereo Hoggz; they all sang the opening song together.
And then the show really began:
For the celebrity performances, "X Factor" brought out Justin Bieber and Stevie Wonder, and yes, it was spectacular. The duo did a number of Christmas songs, and out of nowhere came former contestant Drew Ryniewicz!
She took the stage, gave Bieber a hug and launched into a performance of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town," looking like she won the lottery.
Former U.K. "X Factor" winner Leona Lewis performed, and she's never looked better. So composed, elegant, and of course, so beautiful. She sang Snow Patrol’s “Run," and it was nice to see someone who has been through the competition show how successful one can be after winning.
But the "best collaboration of the night" award goes to 50 Cent and Astro. We first heard Fiddy do his old hit "In Da Club," to which I challenge you to find even one person that doesn’t want to stand up and dance when that song is played.
Then halfway through the song Astro hopped on stage to rap the rest of the lyrics, which was a nice image. Finally, Astro was able to do his thing with a real hip-hop star.
Not to be outdone, Pitbull also performed solo before Ne-Yo joined him to sing "Give Me Everything." It’s the song LOTS of ladies were waiting for, and before it was all over, former finalist Marcus Canty joined them.
Just when you thought the song couldn’t get better, Canty added his vocals and actually made an improvement on the track. I didn’t think it was possible, but Mr. Canty did it.
When we finally got to finalists Melanie Amaro, Chris Rene and Josh Krajcik, they each performed a Christmas-themed solo. Melanie channeled Mariah Carey with “All I Want for Christmas is You,” while Chris Rene went with “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Then, Josh Krajcik belted out “Please Come Home for Christmas.” All three sang their chosen songs just as well as the originals. Well done, "X Factor."
So many people apparently thought Chris had it locked up, but alas, he didn’t.
After what seemed like an eternity, Steve Jones finally announced the name we'd been waiting for: Melanie Amaro. Simon Cowell nearly fell off stage. Josh, meanwhile, was being the ultimate gentleman, saying, “Melanie deserves it!”
So now that it's over and Melanie gets her $5 million recording contract and a Pepsi commercial, what did you think of the finale? Did Amaro deserve it?
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