Justin Bieber, Stevie Wonder, Leona Lewis, Pitbull, Ne-Yo and 50 Cent Perform During Two-Hour Special
Although two people went home with nothing (except the knowledge that the record labels will soon be clamoring for their signatures), spirits were high at tonight's "X Factor" finale, where each of the top three contestants sang a holiday song, superstars were out in full force, and Melanie Amaro walked away with a $5 million recording contract.
The audience was speckled with celebrity fans as the judges walked out on stage to "The Final Countdown" and the top 12 contestants returned to show off their new styles and confidence during a group performance of Lady Gaga's "Edge of Glory."
Video: Top 12 group performance, "Edge of Glory"
Each of the top three also sang a solo holiday song and received video well-wishes from their families and friends. Melanie was first up, singing -- of course -- Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You." Chris Rene followed with "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and Josh was the last to perform, singing George Jones' "Please Come Home For Christmas."
Video: Melanie Amaro, "All I Want For Christmas Is You"
Video: Chris Rene, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
Video: Josh Krajcik, "Please Come Home For Christmas"
Justin Bieber performed "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting)" and "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" with Stevie Wonder singing backup and playing harmonica on the side of the stage, before bringing out eliminated contestant and super-Belieber Drew for a hug, a dance and to sing the last note. Simon and L.A. must have called in every favor in their rolodexes tonight: Leona Lewis also took the stage, singing "Run," Pitbull and Ne-Yo teamed up with "X Factor" top five alum Marcus on "International Love"/"Give Me Everything" and 50 Cent performed "Wait Until Tonight," bringing out former "X Factor" rapper Astro and a group of L.A. Lakers for an assist.
Video: Justin Bieber & Drew, "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town"
It was announced that Chris Rene had received the least of America's votes, and would be going home in third place. As the finale drew to a close, Melanie and Josh teamed up on a duet of David Bowie's "Heroes," their final performance as "X Factor" contestants before the winner was revealed. Both contestants were stand-outs from the auditions on, but Melanie took home the prize, falling to her knees in prayer and tears as the decision was announced. Josh Krajcik took his loss well, telling Steve, "I feel amazing. Melanie deserves it, she has a wonderful voice. I have had such an incredible experience here."
Video: Melanie Amaro & Josh Krajcik, "Heroes"
The winner of an iconic Pepsi commercial and a $5 million recording contract, Melanie could barely make it through the sobs to finish her final emotional performance of "Listen," the first song she ever performed on the show and her finale song from Wednesday night (Dec. 21). Much as host Steve Jones tried to get a reaction, all she could shout was "Thank you so much" and "Oh my god" as her family, the judges and the eliminated contestants surrounded her in hugs.
Video: Melanie Amaro's winning song, "Listen"
Did you think Melanie deserved to win? Who did you vote for? Share your thoughts on the "X Factor" finale in the comments below!