The X Factor Season 3 Finale Recap: And the Winner Is… [Plus 15 Additional Awards!]

the-x-factor-season-3-finale-recapThe X Factor, you are truly a complicated beast.

One minute, you’re moving us to tears with your interviews of contestants’ families — complete with emotional moms and dads, ovulation-inducing baby pics and tales of overcoming The Obstacles with hard work and genuine talent.

Ten seconds later, you’re like an inappropriate party guest who knocks over the punch bowl, playing an extended montage suggesting Demi Lovato — sober now, after spending time in a rehab facility for physical and emotional issues just a few years back — openly defies Simon Cowell thanks to her penchant for drinking a bubbly green beverage that bears a strong resemblance to absinthe and seltzer.

As an incredulous Demi mouthed to fellow panelist Kelly Rowland prior to the unfunny zinger that she’s hooked on the fictional product Annoying Juice, “That’s f***ed up!”

Yes, girl, truly, profoundly and deeply f***ed up.

One step forward, two steps back at The House Shack That Melanie Amaro Built, I suppose.

Before we get to the results, though, let’s hand out some awards based on tonight’s telecast — and Season 3 overall:

Best Running Tit-for-Tat
Simon’s mispronunciation of “Mary-Oh” Lopez, and Mario’s almost robot-like precision in introducing the exec producer/mentor as “Simon Cowwwww.”

Most Botched Opportunity
The finale opening with those post-apocalyptic, white-painted warriors dancing amidst the lasers — WHY? — when Fox could’ve used the 30 seconds to build cross-network synergy and tout a herd of So You Think You Can Dance alumni.

Most Striking Take-Away from the Top 13 Group Performance
Rachel Potter and Khaya Cohen really shoulda made it deeper into the competition.

Most Apt Moment from the Top 13 Group Performance
The deep-voiced dude from Restless Road struggling to stay on pitch as he got a solo on the line, “leave a bad taste in your mouth.”

Most Eye-Roll-Inducing Quote
“I want to win this more than I want air in my body.” –Jeff Gutt, who as the father of an adorable son, most certainly has more important reasons to live than the outcome of a reality singing competition

PG1_6237Biggest (and Most Disappointing) Discrepancy
Carlito Olivero opening a box containing a bikini-clad dancer with a giant bow on her back, but failing to take off his jacket and show his guns during a solid cover of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”

Best Vocal by a Celebrity Guest
Lea Michele, absolutely KILLING IT on “Cannonball,” her earworm of a new single.

Oddest Pairing of Celebrity Guest and Song
Is “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” really good enough for the incomparable Mary J. Blige? (Groovy jazzy arrangement, though!)

Neatest Staging
Jeff Gutt delivering a heartfelt “O Holy Night” against a simple backdrop of sparse, snow-covered trees and a light sprinking of faux frozen precipitation.

Sweetest Facial Expressions
Alex’s adorable eyebrow raises while glancing at girlfriend/partner Sierra as they rocked “All I Want for Christmas Is You”

Demi-Lovato-Annoying-JuiceMost Righteous Facial Expressions
Demi’s utterly disgusted face as she tried to figure out why an entire “comedy” segment was being devoted to her “drinking” something untoward. (See photo)

Most Emotional
Sierra, who was sobbing three seconds in to her hometown/family memories package, and didn’t let up till Mary-Oh cut to commercial.

Weirdest Pronouncement of Holiday Cheer
“Happy holidays to everybody out there…face down, booty up!” –sang Pitbull (and a video screen of Ke$ha, who couldn’t be bothered) on his new single “Timber”

Worst Accessory
That old t-shirt wrapped around Harry Styles’ head during One Direction’s rendition of “Midnight Madness”

Best Vocal
Alex & Sierra and Jeff Gutt, blending beautifully on John Newman’s “Love Me Again” (admittedly the first time I’ve ever really enjoyed this jam)

And now…results!

Final Three
Alex & Sierra
Carlito Olivero
Jeff Gutt

Third Place
Carlito Olivero

Second Place
Jeff Gutt

The X Factor Season 3 Winner
Alex & Sierra

YES! YES! A THOUSAND TIMES YES! The season’s most consistent — and consistently inventive/thrilling/downloadable — take home the major-label recording contract!

“Thanks for not making fun of my weird faces all the time,” Sierra said, clearly in a state of total shock, before launching into a tear-soaked cover of “Say Something” with her verklempt boyfriend. Admit it: You needed a tissue when Sierra shook her head defiantly on the line “I ain’t sayin’ goodbye.”

And on that note, it’s your turn. What did you think of the Season 3 finale? What were your favorite performances? Did anyone surprise you? Did the right person win? Sound off below, and for all my reality-related interviews, recaps, news and videos, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!