The X Factor Season Finale Results: And The Winner Is...
Author: Kelly West
published: 2011-12-22 19:46:58
It’s the final countdown! Or so says the song that led the judges out onto the stage at the start of tonight’s season finale of The X Factor. The first season of the singing competition series comes to a close tonight, with a two-hour episode full of performances and other suspense-building hype to lead up the big reveal. Who will win the $5 million record deal? Who will be featured in a Pepsi ad? It’s down to Josh, Melanie and Chris.
I figured something out tonight. All season long, I’ve been bothered by the dancing spectacles that take place for many, if not most/all of the contestant performances. In most cases, the dancing has felt out of place, as though it’s part of some other performance that the singer has somehow walked in on. I couldn’t quite figure out what was off about it, considering artists are often accompanied by dancers during live performances. But then I realized it’s the fact that typically, the artist engages with the dancers and in some cases joins in with them, depending on the artist and the music style.
We saw an example of how this works (when it works) tonight when Justin Bieber took the stage to perform. At times he was singing while the dancers danced, and at times he was dancing with them. Either way, the whole time he was with them and they were with him. It felt like one fluid performance. That’s not what’s happening during the contestant performances on The X Factor, and understandably so. The kind of act someone like Justin Bieber (or Lady Gaga, Madonna, Justin Timberlake, etc) puts on comes from the experience and the training he’s gotten over the years, which these contestants don’t have yet.
Between the background-dancing, the lights and those giant screens, oftentimes it’s felt like they’ve just filled up the stage with as much “stuff” as they can to surround the contestants during their performances, practically screaming, “Look at this big production we’ve put on!” The intention is probably to create a star atmosphere for each act, but a lot of the time, it’s just distracting and it feels like an oversell . The X Factor doesn’t need to be American Idol to be good, but in this case, a more stripped down approach to the live performances, similar to what we see on Idol may be better in letting us get to know these artists over the course of the competition. In short, I really hope they tone down the dancing during performances next season.
My own gripe-y filler aside, let’s move on to what we all tuned in for tonight... the results and lots of performances. The episode opened with a group performance that put all of the acts back on the stage together as they sang “On the Edge of Glory.” This was followed by each of the Top 3 singing a Christmas song in the spirit of the holiday. Christmas hits is certainly a category American Idol hasn’t been able to explore due to the season it airs, but The X Factor made good use of that tonight. Following their performances, each contestant watched a packaged video of their loved ones talking to and about them and showing support. Tears were shed and we got to know each of the Final 3 a little bit better. Also, was that the Love Actually music playing over the segments? It would explain the pavlovian response I experienced that compelled me to laugh and cry at the same time.
Celebrity guest performance led us into the second hour of the finale, beginning with Justin Bieber and Stevie Wonder. Bieber took a break from his performance of “Santa Claus is Coming To Town” to invite fan and eliminated X Factor contestant Drew up onto the stage to join him for the rest of the song. Her reaction to the moment was adorable.
Just after 9:00 p.m. EST, Steve Jones announced the third place winner, which cuts the Final Three down to two by eliminating one contestant. Of the Final Three, Chris Rene was eliminated. Or he got third place. Or he didn’t win. Either way, he’s out of the running for the big prize, but he made it far and he kept his head up, even through his own elimination tonight.
That leaves Melanie Amaro and Josh Krajcik as the final two. And we have close to an hour to go to find out which of these two won.
The second hour consisted of a video of some of the shocking moments of the season, including Rachel Crowe’s elimination, a video featuring L.A. and Simon’s verbal brawls at the judges table, and a segment that poked fun of Paula and Nicole’s tear-fests. Leona Lewis and 50 Cent performed separately. Pitbull and Ne-Yo performed together. And now we’re much closer to knowing who’s this year’s X Factor winner.
Melanie and Josh took the stage to sing "Heroes" together, after which they hugged and we're sent to a commercial.
It's difficult to predict who will take the final prize but it all comes down to America's vote. Both are extremely talented and likely to make careers out of their gifts if they choose to do so. But who's getting the big prize?
The winner is: Melanie Amaro!
While Josh was all smiles, Melanie look stunned and later fell to her knees, looking overjoyed and grateful. Melanie was too happy and too busy being hugged to say anything, so Simon thanked everyone for their support of her. The final episode closed out with a performance by Melanie. She sang "Listen," which was a great choice as it was arguably her strongest performance all season. The performance ended with her fellow contestants joining her on stage for more hugs and back-patting. In the end, Melanie tearfully thanked the viewers and announced, "God is good!"
And that about wraps it up. We'll have to see what changes, if any, are made to the format of the show between now and the next season. In the meantime, the auditions for Season 2 have already begun online. More information on that here.
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