The X Factor Season Finale Recap: And the Winner Is... [Updated]

The word “FINALE” — spelled out in all caps using pure molten lava — bubbled and exploded across a giant electronic screen. A lithe young woman in a red-and-white striped, fur-trimmed bathing suit writhed seductively inside an oversized snow globe. And Melanie Amaro, Chris Rene, and Josh Krajcik were reduced to blubbering, carol-singing wrecks.

The message may not have been subtle, but let’s be honest, that’s never really been Simon Cowell’s forte: IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER, The X Factor reminded us in incredibly loud and extremely close-up fashion, that Christmastime is here; that Nicole HarbingerOfDoom is a master of nonsense; that Rachel Crow is alive and well and perkily scripted as ever; and — most importantly — that somebody was about to win a $5 million recording contract and the chance to star in his or her own ICONIC PEPSI AD.

X Factor’s Astro on ‘Getting to Rihanna’s Level or Higher,’ the Aggravation of Being Seen as Cocky

Here’s how the results played out. Finishing in third place — and prompting our tuxedo-clad swirl of jet-black hair and diamond-cutting cheekbones to declare “this feels…weird” — was Chris Rene. “I got to touch a lot of people’s hearts out there,” said a gracious and smiling Chris. If L.A. Reid has a functioning cell left in his brain — and after declaring “I Believe I Can Fly” as “one of the most important songs written in the last 50 years,” I’m not sure he does — he’ll release “Young Homie” to radio before 2011 is over.

And then it was on to the final results. But first, well, we had almost an hour to kill. So why not have 50 Cent take the stage with a bunch of sexed-up background dancers, some totally random L.A. Lakers players, a white bathtub prop (!), Astro (!), and a song that needed 30 percent of its lyrics censored to get it on primetime network TV without an FCC violation? And then how about a little bit of time-travel back to 1953 with a Paula-Nicole crying montage to reinforce that female reality-competition judges need not be taken seriously?

If your inner feminist survived that foolery, then it was time for Steve Jones’ final announcement (of the season, and perhaps ever): The winner of Season 1 of The X Factor is…Melanie Amaro! “She deserves it,” said runner-up Josh, noting he was thrilled to have made it to second place being himself and singing what he wanted to sing.

In a hilarious turn of events, Melanie was subsequently crushed in a group hug by her friends and family (and a member of Stereo Hogzz), then subsumed by the InTENsity collective, before Steve could ask her a single interview question. “I’m looking for Melanie Amaro: She just won The X Factor,” said Steve. To which her mentor Simon Cowell responded, “You’re not gonna get a word out of her.”

And then there was a crippling tsunami of confetti flooding the stage, Melanie attempting to deliver an encore performance of Beyoncé’s “Listen” through her gasps and sobs of joy, and finally, a few words from the new star of an ICONIC PEPSI COMMERCIAL. “God is good!” shouted Melanie. “I’m so happy, I don’t know what to say.”

As for me, well, since I’m not nearly as verklempt as Melanie, I’ve got a few more observations.

* I cannot believe they opened the episode with one last shot of that ridiculous X Factor 18-wheeler. Let’s hope it was on its way to California to pack up Nicole, Steve, the aggressively awful voiceover dude, and anyone responsible for the lighting and sound-editing this year, and send them to storage before Season 2.

* I also can’t believe they played “The Final Countdown” as the judges took the stage. Have these people never watched Arrested Development? It did air on Fox, after all.

* When Steve announced that “all your favorite finalists are back together again,” I was sure Elaine Gibbs, Jazzlyn Little, Caitlyn Koch, Tora Woloshin, 2SQUAR’D, The Brewer Boys, and even Simone Battle might storm the stage. Oh how that man lives to disappoint me.

* There were just way too many people on stage for the Top 12 performance of Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” — 28 of ’em, if I counted correctly (and that’s not including the dancers) — and the backdrop was like a combination of Jodie Foster’s space-travel scene in Contact and the middle of a modern war zone. All my brain could process was Stacy Francis hollerating, the Stereo Hogzz delivering some alarming crotch-ography, and Drew Ryniewicz sporting a fetching new hair color.

* Melanie looked like a sparkly, violet Christmas ornament and sounded lovely on Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” but Nicole’s nonsense critique — “you are a princess-goddess-warrior tonight” — was the equivalent of the Grinch foisting the tree up the chimney. Girlfriend is truly insufferable.

* Paula’s comment that Melanie was gorgeous “with your hair off your face” was a subtle but very necessary way of saying “no me gusta” to the tragic Cleopatra bangs our eventual winner was rocking at the start of the show.

* It struck me while Chris Rene sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” that he’s like beef carpaccio to Melanie’s porterhouse steak: His voice is thin and raw and quite lovely in the right setting, hers is massive and rare and dominates the plate. Those judges’ comments he got really came off like a consolation prize, though, didn’t they? “No matter what,” Screwzywocky said, “you are a star from the inside out.” Um, next time, how about a spoiler alert!

* Josh seemed right at home rocking out on “Please Come Home for Christmas,” but what the heck was with the Snowglobe Lady behind him? It was as if the object of his affection had been kidnapped by some kind of evil holiday gnome and was being held captive till Boxing Day.

* I don’t have too much use for Steve, but I kind of fell in love with him when he interrupted Nicole’s tirade to Josh — “My flippin’ love, I appreciate you so much” — with a flummoxed “What is flimmin’?”

* Poll question: Is there a jacket in the history of jackets more heinous than Justin Bieber’s crushed black leather number with shiny green sleeves?  Answer A for “No,” and B for “Hell, No!” The kid sounded decent, though, especially with Stevie Wonder providing backing vocals. (I kid ! I kid!)

* I’m flippin’/flimmin’ mad that Drew — who remains the X Factor contestant I’m most likely to download in the post-season — got relegated to a single line of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” and had to deliver it in a sombre, slowed-down fashion. And no, an awkward embrace with the Bieb is not an acceptable consolation prize.

* Surely, Leona Lewis should’ve been recruited to duet with Melanie on Wednesday on the Whitney Houston-Faith Evans-Kelly Price R&B classic “Heartbreak Hotel,” rather than being relegated to singing over a Season 1 clip show during the Thursday results telecast, right? (Yet another example of Simon’s limited musical imagination.)

* Maybe I should blame it on the alcohol, but I’m pretty sure 50 Cent’s performance was part of a Funny or Die short. Paula’s hands in the air. All the radio silence to block out the profanity. The lady dancers thrusting their netherregions with the aggression of department-store perfume hawkers. Random basketball-player types line-dancing and grabbing their manhoods. I was howling with laughter and waiting for Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel to hit their red ‘X’ buttons.

* Would you judge me harshly if I said I took a vino break when Pitbull and Ne-Yo came out to play? (Hey now, I didn’t say I actually took said break to pour a chilly glass of Indaba sauvignon blanc, I was just wondering how you’d respond if I admitted to such shirking of my recapperly duties. And hey, if I am guilty of such a crime, it’s not like I didn’t rewind and watch the eight seconds of screentime they gave to poor Marcus Canty and His Fine-Ass Leather Pants.)

* I’m not sure Melanie and Josh’s voices were built for dueting, but it was pretty adorable witnessing their genuine affection for one another on David Bowies’ “Heroes.” How come we so few glimpses of the contestants’ basic humanity over the last four months?

How about you, X Factor fans? Any parting words? Are you happy with how the season played out? And if you could change one thing about the show for Season 2, what would it be and why? Hit the comments and sound off on the results of The X Factor‘s inaugural season. And for all my interviews with The X Factor‘s Top 3 contestants, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. jen says:

    ummmm, yes Melanie, God has nothing better to care anout than an idiotic singing competition. Please get over yourself.

    • asdasd says:

      -gives you a flame shield-
      You will need this on your journey, my friend!

      • Medic says:

        On his journey into the past where he can purchase Melanie Amaro’s ballads in their proper musical era. Way to waste $5 million.

        • Medic says:

          Kill the groups catgry (Steve Jones pronunciation) and put true bands in. You know the ones who play instruments. Oh, and while you;re at it , if people are competing for $5 Mill let them play whatever they flippin’ want (legally) instead of these played out theme weeks.

        • Lynda says:

          I will never watch Xfactor again I feel it was riggeds and that you know it would be someone Simon mentored as it was his money, I will never buy a Melasnie Amaro album I feel her voice is screechy, did the public really choose her? What a waste time I put into this show it is time to send Simon back to England

          • Tanya says:

            It is people who don’t want to watch shows again, because someone did this or that wrong, that caused some really good shows to be cancelled. I for one thought she sounded great and I think i will watch the show again next season.

    • Andie says:

      Didn’t you see SNL? He has Tim Tebow to care about!

      • Tara says:

        Speaking of that man, was it me having a hallucination or did it seriously look like Melanie did a full blown “tebowing” (or whatever the crap its called) upon hearing that she won?

        • ana_muti says:

          Oh yeah, she did the full Tebow.

          • yvette says:

            Speaking of that man, was it me having a hallucination or did it seriously look like Melanie did a full blown “tebowing” (or whatever the crap its called) upon hearing that she won?Christmas day is coming, It is a meaningful day for everyone. However, would like to find match before Christmas day and you can celebrate together. Bla-ckw-hit-e’Pl-anet.COMIt’s a person’als place where to- connect with beautiful and excellent people! a nice best place for bla-ck whit-e sin-gles, to interact with each other…no games or extremes in front of true love. . There ARE bennies to being second, (or third or fourth) as Daughtry and Hudson are very familiar with.
            And Marcus looked pretty good, for what it’s worth. Enjoyed his performance tonight too.

    • Uboi says:

      He certianlly does care! Who needs to save starving children, grant equality for women worldwide or come down to earth and add and 11th commandment against child abuse. God cares about two things, having you slavishly worship him and FOX’s singing competitions.

    • dan says:

      He is still GOOD!!!!!!

    • as says:

      God had time since Survivor ended on Sunday night ;)

    • RTW says:

      You don’t make any sense…Michael is God.

    • Jay says:

      You’re an idiot.

    • BonesFringeFan says:

      ^^^ THIS^^^

    • BonesFringeFan says:

      I can’t say I’m surprised considering this is the outcome they’ve been angling for ever since Simon “made a mistake”. This whole “god is good” crap just irks me and I find her on and off accent disturbing really… Geez if you’re going to have a life-changing epiphany, stick with a freaking accent. Chris Rene is the only act whose album I would ever buy…

    • Anthony says:

      you obviously don’t understand how God works…

    • ashlee says:

      Didn’t anyone see how Melanie did not even go over to hug or console Chris after he was declared 3rd???! At least Josh went over and gave him a hug!! Geezz…. Melanie has no personality.

      CHRIS RENE WAS ROBBED!! He has so many more fans/supporters on FB and twitter, it’s hard to believe he didn’t 2nd place, let alone WIN!

      • BLT says:

        Not only does Melanie not have any personality, she has NO CLASS!! Thankfully, she will be a flash in the pan, and will be forgotten years down the road when Josh and Chris are still making great, relevant music!! :-)

        • Debbie M says:

          BLT, what did Melanie do that makes you think she has no class? Was too excited that she won and was busy hugging her family to talk to Steve? Thanking God for blessing her with that voice? Don’t see anything at all that she’s done to deem her classless.

        • Terry says:

          I have to admit, I didn’t watch the results show cuz I couldn’t have cared less who won. But if Melanie didn’t squeal, laugh, clap her hands and jump up and down when Chris was eliminated then I’d have to say she behaved with a lot more class than a certain other person did when a certain other contestant on a certain other show was eliminated in 3rd place. I’m just saying.

          • Emma says:

            And what was even more upsetting was that some people in the cyberworld were actually criticizing the contestant who was eliminated for not being happy that she was eliminated! WTF!!!

          • yeah says:

            I know every fool is killing her for supposedly once smiling when another contestant got eliminated (and if you carefully look at the video you can see that is not what was going on anyway!) and then when she gets kicked out and everyone is leaping with joy and the judges, well two of them anyway, squealing with glee then it’s STILL Haley who gets blamed! Never mind the water works when contestant 4th place left.

          • Terry's flingin it says:

            Total BS about that 3rd place finisher. You read a lot into a brief flash on the screen. What you are “just saying” is a bunch of crap.

        • lilli says:

          Let’s not be catty! Melanie sang beautifully but was quite short
          gifted in the personality dept. Chris Renee should have won..period!!
          Josh was nice enough, but his hair always looked like the grease from
          a burrito dripped all over his head. Ugh! And Paula, how old are you
          now? A little to old to be dressing like a 20 year old—altho’ we
          must all agree she cleaned up good. Nichole is a fruit cake–the kind
          we get at christmas and just toss in the trash. LA—what can I say.
          He is successful but he is what he is… figure it out! Simon,
          please find a haircut that doesn’t make you look like a blockhead.
          You truly are a pita. What an egotistical snob you are. Boring to the
          max. I had such high hopes for your show but ugh. I will not tune you
          in next season.

    • Yo says:

      I suspect God has better things to occupy himself, especially with the family birthday coming up, but am I the only one who thought Chris Rene saying “I got to touch a lot of hearts out there” was bizarre? There is something very narcissistic about that – it is a “new generation” thing, saying how wonderful you are, thinking it is modest. Chris should have said a lot of hearts touched him.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Or maybe he’s just referring to his status as a recovering addict and his comments indicate he believes he touched a lot of hearts of recovering addicts or addicts. It’s kind of like viewers here being critical of Melanie for not hugging Chris Rene. Folks, sometimes a horse is just a horse and everyone might possibly be reading a little too much into their comments and actions.

        Certainly we expect people like Nicole to come up with better comments than “warrior princess whatever” and we do not expect Simon to have an epiphany and declare, “Oh NO, I made a mistake, I must go to Florida and get Melanie back”. These folks are professionals and should accustomed to the camera and making decisions. But who knows what any of us would do in a stressful situation like “The X Factor”?

        and to quote Martina McBride, “God is great, but sometimes life ain’t good”. ;-)

        • My Alter Ego says:

          “Folks, sometimes a horse is just a horse and everyone might possibly be reading a little too much into their comments and actions.”

          Agree completely!!

          D.E.T. — Thank you, once again, for your, oh, so lucid observation.

          And a Merry Christmas to you!

    • Kat says:

      I don’t see anything wromg with Melanie saying that “God is Good”. She is obviously a person of faith and she was thanking God for giving her that amazing voice and allowing her, helping her to achieve her dream. Why are you people bashing her for being grateful?

      As for Melanie not hugging Chris, if you recall Steve was asking for she and Simon to come back after Chris won so my guess is that either Melanie started crying when she realized she’d made it into the top two and Simon pulled her away to calm her down OR they had a snafu with the stage direction and either Simon/Mel or Nicole/Josh weren’t where they were supposed to be. My money is on the stage direction because Steve seemed to be trying in vain to herd cats, Josh spent too much time with Chris and when LA was talking about Chris he wasn’t even facing the camera.

      • BLT says:

        So, I guess that if Josh or Chris had won, Melanie would have been seen on stage mouthing “God is good”??? Right.

        • GingerSnap says:

          Given that Chris is a recovering addict, chances are he would have shown some gratitude to his Higher Power, and Melanie would have still thanked her God for giving her the opportunity. Get over it.

    • Jo says:

      A person has to be a psychotic egotist to think that god cares how they perform on a game show.

  2. ana_muti says:

    I’m disappointed that Josh didn’t win, but I know what becomes a legend most: Josh + Coca Cola.

    At least, unlike the Bowersox/DeWhoever disaster, at least Mel can sing on key. I’m just not a fan of big-voiced Disney divas. But I do wish her good fortune and good luck.

    But it’s Josh’s music I will be waiting to buy. At least he’ll have his choice of company/agent to affiliate with. There ARE bennies to being second, (or third or fourth) as Daughtry and Hudson are very familiar with.

    And Marcus looked pretty good, for what it’s worth. Enjoyed his performance tonight too.

    • Grace says:

      I agree with this 1000%. I will definitely be purchasing Josh’s album when it comes out.

      • Jack says:

        No such thing as 1000%.

        • bluedog says:

          Awwww Jack… relax! Have you not been watching XFactor??? The whole thing is based on beyond0-belief superlatives… & besides, we know what Grace means by 1000%… which adds up to pretty effective communication don’t you think???

        • matt says:

          Yes, if I weighed 160 pounds at the beginning of x-factor in september and then I weighed 1600 pounds last night at the finale, my weight would have increased by 1000 percent.

    • Kim R says:

      Josh was my pick as well. What was with the snowglobe lady though?? The poor guy has got to get away from Nicole!!! :)

  3. gaier says:

    she was the best singer

  4. Yanis says:


    On behalf of all your readers. I want you to thank you on a season well-done. You made us laugh, think and look forward to your recaps. I will see you in Idoloonies!

    • Raftrap says:

      I second this, none of these shows would be any fun to watch without your recaps, you should have your own Pepsi commercial.

      • ladyhelix says:

        I third it!! There is no way I could stomach Simon Cowell – but I’m following the X-factor-action here even though I have never seen the show.

      • Stacie says:

        Absolutely a go to place for recaps. Can’t wait for Idol and Idoloonies. Who would a thunk I’d be anticipating the new season of Idol. It’s a lot calmer and more organized than this crazy train wreck, but knowing myself I’ll probably watch Season 2, especially if it produces someone just as deserving as Melanie Amaro.

    • Trisha says:

      I second that devotion ….

    • Katherine says:

      The only reason I watch XF and Idol is so that I can read Michael’s recaps and literally ROFL. Talk about entertainment at its finest! Thank you!

  5. Shindig says:

    Whelp, Josh didn’t win, which makes me sad, but I’m not bothered by Melanie winning with him in second. She’s a complete snoozefest to me, I have no interest whatsoever in another diva singer. With that said, congratulations to her, and I hope Josh has a new album out some time! Let’s hope (we can only) the production team realizes its shortcomings from this season and makes amends. But I doubt it.

  6. Francesca says:

    Oh my. I believe they all pretty much knew the outcome before the show. In critiquing Chris’ Christmas song, Nicole (who has a lower IQ than any of the Real Housewives of New Jersey) said “Chris, no matter what happens, we were blessed to have you here” (or something to that effect). Paula made a similarly annoying and revealing remark. They could both have said “we’re sorry you lost, but you inspired us” and it would have had the same effect. Then, as the final 3 were brought on stage, Josh was beaming. Chris has a look a pained resignation on his face. Also, Josh and Melanie did NOT put that duet together at the last minute. I loved watching the performers grow, but hate the format of the show, and can no longer watch Nicole and Paula (Dumb and Dumber) ruin the show with their emotional meltdowns. I wish all three of them the best.

  7. Raftrap says:

    It ended as it should have, couldn’t be happier, after the attack of the senses that was the whole 2 hour finale, you gotta give it to God, he is good, he almost fooled me. Very happy for Melanie Amaro, she truly deserved it, and she truly took it home, congrats, best of luck (Simon’s good too, I really thought he was gonna force Melanie to sing “A moment like this”, oh those brits) Now, we can all rejoice, dress in white, and start our “Cheryl Cole for Season 2” campaigns

  8. Uboi says:

    Where did Melanie’s accent go when she was overwhelmed with emotion? Why, at her most vulnerable moment did she speak like a Midwestern news anchor? Is she some sort of split-personality faker? Seriously, none of her immediate family had accents either. I hope money dosent hasten the speed at which crazy bubbles to the surface.

    Slezak, I demand better from you come Idol season. You phoned it in for XFactor, but that is ok because the show isnt really worth your talents. But be ready to step your game up. “Pithy Live Blogs” wont cut it in January. You are on notice mister.

    • Jack says:

      You said the same thing on EW.

    • Sybil says:

      1. i did hear an accent when she spoke at the end.
      2. Her mother does have an accent, but she came to the US and stayed; Melanie was sent back to the BVIs and so picked up the accent, then came back and tried to hide it. Her grandmother had an accent. Her brother and little sister stayed here. So it doesn’t surprise me that the accent comes and goes naturally.

    • GingerSnap says:

      Kinda think it’s idiots like you that make her want to hide her natural accent. Didn’t we hear that she’s been teased for talking and acting like she came from the Carribean?

  9. mel says:

    I loved Melanie’s voice from the first time that I heard her sing, which is a bit strange as I absolutely detest the typical “divas.” Back when I listened to radio, I couldn’t change the station fast enough to not have to endure Mariah or Celine…

    To me, her voice was just pure and beautiful. I didn’t love all of her songs but iTunes means that you can just download the ones that you want, right?

    I also loved Josh and would not have been disappointed if he had won…I see good things for him.

    Choice means that I will never have to endure Astro, Chris, Rachel or Drew ever again….and thank goodness for “choice!”

  10. dj says:

    I’m glad it’s over. It was a weird season. Nicole was muy annoying. Ditto for Steve. Ditto for the intro. But by far the most annoying thing for me was how repetitive the show is. It should be half as long. I don’t know if I can stand to watch next year. What kind of ratings did it get?

    • Tara says:

      But if they made it half as long, how would they manage to fit in all those commercials and product placements! :P

    • Bad Breaker says:

      I’ve read that Simon promised Fox 20+ million viewers and it averaged around 7 million. Finales usually score above average so it will be interesting to find out what tonight pulled.

  11. Tess says:

    One thing that we all can take away from this season of X Factor – even if you’re not a fan of Melanie’s – is that at least we know a girl CAN actually win one of these dang talent shows here in America! Lord knows no one believes a girl will win Idol ever again and The Voice had a chance given that 3 of the final 4 standing were women and still couldn’t get a female winner either…so hey, at least there is that. And she is talented so no one can say she didn’t deserve her win. I liked her and Josh both so I was going to be happy either way. Here’s hoping Simon & co. can do right by her, give her a good mix of ballads and uptempo songs (I blame her “boringness” on Simon’s lack of variety with his song choices for her)and give her some good singles…she does have a shot at being something. With any luck, they will give Josh a deal too. He may not be a radio friendly artist, but he could probably still make a good record and sell decently with good promotion.
    Overall, I enjoyed the season but there are some kinks to iron out for next year…namely getting rid of Nicole and maybe making up some more interesting theme weeks and getting a better variety of songs cleared (they started off better than they ended with that). I know a lot of people dislike Steve, but I don’t think he was as bad as people made him out to be so I would like to see him get the chance to come back next season. Oh, and Simon needs to review with the judges how to pick better contestants to make the live shows and how the save me sing off voting works. Get all that straightened out and I think it could be even better next year.

    • Donna says:

      I also hope Simon gets her good music. When she sings the songs of her choosing, like “Listen”, she doesn’t seem boring at all! At this point it’ll be all about the quality of the music.

  12. JVC says:

    YES there is a GOD!! Congratulations Melanie. And well put yanis, thanks slezak for getting us through all these singing shows this year. See ya next month when season 11 of idol begins.

  13. Kevin C. says:

    Congrats to the powers that be…they got the result they’ve been angling for since they did that scripted “Simon changes his mind” back in the judges houses episode.

  14. darcy's evil twin says:

    thank you, Mr. Slezak for your funny commentary and for making this program tolerable.
    Boy, am I ever looking forward to American Idol! If I never see another writhing, scantily-clad dancer it will be too soon.
    My husband actually thought I’d muted the TV during “Fiddy Cent’s” performance and said “Thank you”. I told him he should thank the network censors and the seven-second delay, not me!
    Although I preferred Josh I wasn’t upset about Melanie winning. She’s a good vocalist. Gee, it’s a good thing Simon changed his mind and rescued her from obscurity after sending her home….(*sarcasm*). Wow, who saw that coming?

  15. Kenny says:

    Despite everyone elses negetive comments CONGRADULATIONS TO MELANIE, you really deserve it.

  16. Vetle says:

    This is truly the year of the girls. :)

    In my country, Norway, a girl won Idol (in six seasons of idol and two seasons of the X Factor, she’s the second to win and only the sixth this is the first time since season three of idol (2005) there was a girl in the final two. X Factor (2009) had a girl group in the finals though).

    In the UK, three girls reached the top 5, they placed 10th, 5th, 4th and 3rd – and a GIRL GROUP from the groups category won!

    And now, a girl finally won a singing competition in America. It hasn’t happened since… Jordin Sparks?

  17. cookie love says:

    WHAT????? A GIRL WINS A SINGING COMPETITION ON TV????????????????????? YEA MELANIE!!!!!!!!

  18. Dan says:

    Melanie deserved to win. She was the best start to finish. However, I’m most looking forward to downloading “Young Homie.”

  19. Adam says:

    The right person won. I had doubts that she would but I am glad it was her in the end. However, the highlight for me would be Drew getting to perform with her crush, the Biebs. Priceless! And she looked great with the brown hair! Whatever record company signed her (I’m guessing) made her over well. Astro with 50 Cent was a little awkward for me and officially affirmed my suspicion that there is no place in hip hop for a 14 year old without it just being some sort of novelty act. As for the season as a whole, I think everyone is in agreement that Nicole and Steve need to be gone. They also need to not allow songs to be repeated. Its totally unnecessary except for maybe in the finale but even then I’m not sure. I’m excited to see what’s next for Drew, Rachel, Josh, Chris, and Melanie…the rest I could pretty much do without.

    • gregk says:

      We were overjoyed when Melanie won, although the show needs vast improvement both in judging format and production. I was a big Drew fan and thought Bieber would do more than just have her sing with him when he stopped his performance.

  20. cookie love says:

    ……and next year, please: no more screaming drowning out the singers, no more Nicole or Paula, and NO MORE half-naked writhing dancers or foul-mouthed obscene ‘guest artists.’

    • Adam says:

      …and we forgot awful screen-savers projecting on screens in the background (the horrible doves that played during one of Drew’s performances sticks out in my mind)

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Here, here! I agree with every suggestion!

    • MAE FISH says:


  21. America's Gullable says:

    I wonder how long before Melanie went to Simon’s house that it was decided she was going to win? I knew from the moment they staged the “I think I just made a mistake” that Melanie Castro would be in the finals. But for her to win, shameful. I guess the English do still think we are a bunch of dolts.

  22. lin333 says:

    I knew Melanie would win-thought so from the get-go and always voted for her! Josh-too simple, cannot handle it in the showbiz industry, and Chris is still in the beginning stages of recovery, so what do you think will happen if you hand him 1mil/year? He will relapse, and probably still will. Oh, well, best woman won!

  23. Elizabethe says:

    I’m just glad Chris DIDN’T win. I mean when he’s good, he’s good but more often he’s just really bad. I was a fan of Melanie’s beautiful singing and Josh’s soul so I would have been happy with either one winnin.

    But the 2 hour finale. Awful. Like every other reality competition, there was about 3% substance and 97% fluff. Thank goodness for my DVR.

  24. Gypsy says:

    Thank you for the recaps. I was never able to watch a whole X Factor show, too boring. When I did, I ended up fast forwarding through Melanie and Chris after listening to less than half of their performances or I fell asleep listening to them. Of the three Josh was the only one worth listening to. But for my recap, the entire season was boring and the judges were a joke. I do hope it does not get picked up for another season, there are plenty of good shows that can takes its place.

  25. mzhelaineous says:

    I personally quit watching the show after the 3rd episode…it was just too boring for me. It all seemed scripted and mostly uncomfortable to me. I loved little Rachel Crow (I hope that was her name, she was really good at the beginning), but even she seemed to be repeating lines that were fed to her after the initial episode. Its a shame because I enjoyed Simon’s cantankarous behavior on Idol, so I thought this might be at least as entertaining as Idol is, but it paled in comparison. I hope they do something to fix it next season, or it may go down the tubes….

  26. Bad Breaker says:

    Pretty dumb move on Simon’s part to get 50cent and let him do a song where every other word had to be censored. I thought there was something wrong with my TV for a minute…very irritating.

  27. TonyWendice says:

    Justin Bieber singing Christmas songs while grabbing his crotch. Lovely. I wanted to puke.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Justin Bieber grabbing his crotch while singing ANY song makes me want to puke. That’s a dance move that should have followed Michael Jackson to the grave.

  28. unknown says:

    Im sorry but Melonie sicked last night chris and josh deserved it more the show has been fixed since Simon first let her go I saw that coming very sad picking

  29. Davey says:

    The show was fixed from day 1. Of course Simon’s diva won.

  30. Davey says:

    How would you know Josh is too simple to handle the recording industry?

  31. DianaKat says:

    Loved your recap! Insightful, funny and right on the money! Thanks, Michael

  32. JudyVee says:

    Glad you mentioned the sleaze factor of some of the numbers – especially horrendous in front of CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS. What were they thinking? It was like the holiday show at the local strip club. (And I kept cringing when I’d think about all the young kids who watch this show!)

    On the positive side, I really liked how gracious Chris and Josh were. I think all three of these people will have recording careers, they are all so different and good – yes, even Chris whose voice is clearly not as good as the others but who is terrific in his genre and a completely captivating person on the stage.

  33. Pixie says:

    Michael think your opinions are the best. May not agree with you all the time but most of the time I do. Now, for you haters why do you watch contests like this if all you can say are mean ugly things. Probably the only way to get attention. But, I am glad Melanie won. Sick of country singers and was glad to see there were none in this competition. A wonderful singer won and she does have personality. Now I can wait for The Voice. Sick of American Idol will pass this year. But, I will still read your column.

  34. Louis says:

    Did anybody else notice that during the last 45 minutes Steve teased a performance by the Top 12 that never happened? Must have been cut due to time because at the end of the show they were all dressed in the same white costume. That’s ashame. I would have much rather heard from the past contestants then that terrible 50 cent/Neyo performance.

    BTW Steve needs to take some classes on hosting. If he did he’d know that after the final result it’s more fun for the viewers to see the winner celebrating/crying then hearing the host try to ask a few questions. Man was he annoying. All in all a pretty entertaining first season I’d say, but some changes should be made.

    • Natasha says:

      If you watched steve jones in interviews, he says that they are yelling in his ear for him to go over and interview these people. He is just doing what the producers are telling him what to do from the control booth. I think that he has done a pretty good job as host this season. I think that the finale could have been better, but that’s what you get being that it is a live show.

  35. G-Mom says:

    What would make me happy is if there were no Season 2!! The show was boring at the same time as being completely overblown and over the top!! NO MORE dancers even though some of the SYTYCD dancers that I love were on it. They were too distracting! And don’t get me started on the judges!!! Of course, I only watched a handful of shows. While I was watching (the procedural shows Michael was talking about changing to)House Hunters and Person of Interest, I would switch over during commercials and see what was happening. And another thing, I don’t like Pepsi! :)

  36. lorjon says:

    Melanie has a nice voice but Josh is the true talent. Only time will tell what happens. Josh should have a fantastic career ahead of him and he deserves it.

  37. Carla says:

    I love Josh don’t get me wrong but my GOD would it kill him to wear a suit or even brush his hair? He looked like a total hobo the entire night!!

  38. Bad Breaker says:

    OK, I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong but during the show, Simon asked Josh how old he was and I thought I heard Josh answer 30.
    If this is indeed the case, how did he qualify to be in the “over 30” age group?

  39. H says:

    The only good part of this finale was not having to listen to Steve say “IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER” a million times. He’s such a wonderfully awkward train wreck

  40. Pedro says:

    Things that need to go:

    – Nicole
    – The lasers
    – The horrible announcer at the beginning

    Things that most people think are awful but that I kind of love:

    – Steve Jones finale recap:

    Thanks, Michael, for your always insightful and hilarious commentary. Please please please do XFactorLoonies next season.

  41. Harmony says:

    Ho hum. I have no idea how… but with all those lights and extravagance and “current” songs and laser lights and Simon Cowell X-Factor was just… boring! And NOBODY really came close to having the “x-factor”. I do not think Melanie has it… but she’s a good singer. So whatever. I’m ready for Idol. See you there, Slezak. X-Factor made me miss it. With Idol… it’s simpler… I don’t think anyone can have a true “moment” on x-factor really… and Idol has Seacrest and seeing the fail that is Steve Jones I now really appreciate how Ryan makes the show what it is…

    • Yo says:

      I’m gonna guess Idol will rise to the challenge and do more bells and whistles on stage this year. Once the presentation level bar is raised, all of the shows kind of have to do it – even if they lose their magic.

  42. Joy says:

    I actually liked the show, but maybe that is because I like American Idol. I am glad Melanie won, but I do see great things for Josh and hope the very best for Chris Rene. I think that things that obviously looked staged sucked, and for the final song of heroes I am sure they all practiced it together not knowing which one was going to win. As for Season 2, I am definitely against the Judges being the Mentors because it is obvious each judge is going to vote for the person(s) in their group then it always seemed to be left up to one judge (Nicole/Paula)… “that just couldn’t do this”… The Judges being their Mentors I think is a bad idea. But then again I guess if they didn’t do that it would seem like American Idol. I also think that the staging/lighting that they did every week was awesome. A.I. will not be able to touch that. Overall I think it was a pretty good show and again I am glad Melanie won but would not have been disappointed if Josh had won…but you know what I was thinking. This is Simon’s show, he brought it to American, and of course who else but him should win the first X-Factor. Oh yea.. did not care that much for Steve!

  43. Dan says:

    May the name of God continue to shine throughout Melanie’s career as he has through many of the contestants on American Idol. God is good!

  44. Tim says:

    I think the ones who will make out the best post-show will be Drew, Josh and Astro, and that Melanie will be as quickly forgotten as Kris Allen.

  45. Shy says:

    Melanie Amaro is just boring to death. I can’t listen to her. I was hoping Josh to win it. Actually Drew should have won it. But Simone buried her. He was giving her the same slow songs every week and people got tired of it.

  46. Ribac says:

    a) I loved all finalists and music they make will find place in my library, but USA voted quite predictable (I love Melanie and her on/off accent, but that is a fact… and I find it quite ironic that religious, or better to say girl with faith won in this mainly atheist world… and I find it annoying that producers overblown it too much, she wasn’t in-your-face-with-God but show made her that way)
    b) Dear Simon, choose Paula or Nicole and stick with one, because having two Paulas is too much, and bring Cheryl back, this show needs one natural rose amongst all plastic ones
    c) having host with accent doesn’t make him/her adorable and/or sexy or good host, Steve maybe have british accent, but his behavior wasn’t. I think you can fix that and for someone’s sake give him some new lines IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER!
    d) raise the age limit, we saw two kids having a meltdown in front of millions of people, that’s NOT healthy (Love Rachel, Astro little less but to misquote Die Hard they were too young for this *bleep*)
    d) for flippin’ sake tone down the stories, with this rate X Factor will be oversized and too big for itself next season. Some things need to evolve, not to start on top of the food chain.
    e) and all this form Europe and YouTube clips only

  47. matt says:

    Thanks Slezak for being the best recapper, even though you’re a Drew fan and I’m a Rachel Crow fan. My parting words:
    1. Melanie Amaro is dating the Stereo Hoggz? Lucky bi–h!!
    2. I loved Justin Bieber’s green jacket
    3. Thought Melanie and Josh sounded awesome together, they should be a group

  48. marcela says:

    Just some things this finale proved:
    1. Get rid of Nicole. Paula plays the loopy role way better and at least she can actually judge, not only say everybody looks like the “princess goddess warrior”.
    2. Steve needs to go back to Scotland. Like, NOW.
    3. Melanie won, but she won’t be this season’s biggest star.

  49. raftrap says:

    Yeah, it was disappointing when the X Factor judges appeared instead of GOB. Also completely agree you on with poor amazing Drew just being thrown there to sing the final note and dance/be pushed around by Justin Bieber.

  50. Krista says:

    Not a huge Chris Rene fan, but his Christmas song was flawless. He can actually sing! Who knew?! It’s amazing what one can hear without lights, sirens, bells, whistles, fire and crazy dancers running around.

    Oh-as far as the cussing/beeping out-I’m fine with that. What I thought was disgusting was that “dancer” who opened her legs wide open for all the world to see. Eeck!

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      @Krista – I agree about Chris Rene’s Christmas song performance. I’ve not cared for him but I thought it was lovely and actually enjoyed it a lot!
      And yes, the dancers need to go. Yuck.