Melanie Amaro, the winner of the first ever American edition of The X-Factor, is having a very happy new year. She just claimed her grand prize after emerging triumphant from the three-month contest: a recording contract with Epic Records worth $5 million.
The 19-year-old singer beat out over 100,000 competitors, including co-finalists Chris Rene and Josh Kracjik, on Simon Cowell's much-talked about singing competition series. In addition to Cowell, fellow American Idol alumnus Paula Abdul and Epic Records Chairman and CEO L.A. Reid were judges on the show.
"I joined The X Factor to be able to discover undeniable talent such as Melanie," Reid said in a statement. "I am pleased that she is now signed to Epic Records because I believe we have only scratched the surface on uncovering her talent and her inevitable journey to superstardom."
In addition to her multimillion dollar recording contract, Melanie, a British Virgin Islands native, will appear in a Pepsi commercial that will air during the Super Bowl on February 5.
Her specialty in the competition was ballads, and highlights from her run included renditions of Mariah Carey's "Hero" and Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing." She began and ended the competition by singing Beyoncé's "Listen."
Though he did not win the competition the show did help introduce BET Music Matters talent Astro to a prime-time audience.
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(Photo: Mark Davis/Getty Images)