America has crowned its first X-Factor winner and it is…
…WHY DID YOU CLICK THIS POST IF YOU DIDN’T WANT TO KNOW? WE NEED A FEW MORE WORDS SO IT DOESN’T SHOW IN THE BLURB…
In the most not-shocking news of the decade, Melanie Amaro, the Virgin Islands native whose heartfelt rendition of “Listen” from the Dreamgirls soundtrack earned her a place at phone-voters’ fingertips from her first show appearance, is the first ever winner of the American version of the X-Factor.
The win came after a finale show that featured Justin Bieber, Stevie Wonder, Fifty Cent, Ne-Yo, Pitbull, Leona Lewis and more. (My parents and I were trying to remember everyone who performed, and I’d like to report their cuteness in indicating the appearance of Fifty Cents, Bulldog, and Mio.)
What else happened?
- The show opened on a medley of the top 12 contestants that reminded you why you voted each of them off. Rachel Crow promised big things and was the only top finisher not to perform a spotlight number – is someone already under a Disney contract or what? The 13-going-on-30 year old is sure to follow in the Brit-Justin-Xtina-Miley-Zefron footsteps.
- Stevie Wonder brought us into Awkward and Bizarro World by performing backup to Justin Bieber, and the Beebs turned contestant Drew into a giggling pile of girl-goo when he called her out to sing the last note of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
- The show’s producers gave us montages containing messages from each of the finalists’ families, set to music from Love Actually that made me wonder when Colin Firth was going to appear in my restaurant and ask me (in terrible Portuguese) to marry me.
- We got a better Christmas special than Glee ever hoped to give. Even if the most astoundingly obvious songs were given to the top three (Melanie gets Mariah’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” Chris a soulful “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and Josh the Bon Jovi-ish version of “Please Come Home for Christmas”) it was probably better than any other Christmas special made this year.
- Nicole Sherzinger cried. Don’t be so shocked! But, thankfully, the producers made hilarious tribute to Her Waterworksiest by counting all her tears.
- We got the normal amount of unbelievably exaggerated judge critique: for all the talk of the heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears that went into those performances you’d think that every week they were rushing off stage to take on critical strikes in Afghanistan. Can we keep a little perspective here? All these guys will have contracts, commercials, deals, acting gigs. Rachel Crow is going to forcefully take over the pop culture world inside of five years. And they are doing it surrounded and helped by the world’s best producers, designers, set directors, makeup artists, and god knows what else, in an industry comically bloated with money during an economic time when a sliver of a star’s paycheck would be considered a windfall. Every time Paula talks about how a performer makes us believe, is where we all look to for inspiration, I can’t stop myself from busting up. Sorry dudes. I have never once looked to reality television show who sings karaoke (even if very well) for inspiration. They are not the wind beneath my wings. I really enjoy watching them, but they don’t make me believe in much except how very successful and rich these guys are going to (deservedly, but still) be.
- After being Love Actually’d by their montages, the contestants, tears streaming down their expertly made up faces, Host
Brian DunkelmanSteve Jones asked the finalists how they were feeling. Repeatedly. For his next trick, he will rush into the burn unit and ask if it hurts.
- We actually, for once, saw Simon Cowell nervous. When Melanie won, he jumped so far to his right he almost took her arm off. Call me jaded, but that was nice to see.
Harping aside, a brilliantly deserved result. Never one we doubted was coming – and if suffering through the tissue-paper-thin charade of watching Simon pretend he was ever going to not let her be in the show made her more likable, gave her a story to make sure she didn’t burn out and have public opinion backfire on her, well, fine. We’ll take it. She looks like Jennifer Hudson, sings like a mashup of Mariah and Beyonce, and now forever has the Kelly Clarkson darling-status, of first-time winner of an American version of a British talent show, which means she got in before it jumped the shark, and will always be its veteran queen.
What did you think? Did you want Melanie to win?