Melanie Amaro, the 19-year-old singer from Florida who has wowed America with her performances on The X Factor USA, is being tipped to win the competition by head judge Simon Cowell. Amaro sang a stirring rendition of Beyonce's 'Listen' during Wednesday's finale (December 21, 2011), prompting Cowell to 'unofficially' dub her the winner.
If she secures the first X Factor USA crown on tonight's results show, Amaro will win the grand prize of $5 million, a recording contract, and a starring role in a Pepsi commercial. Following Wednesday's performance, judge La Reid declared, "That wasn't a $5 million performance.That was a $50 million performance", though Cowell went even further and suggested Melanie had done enough to win the competition. The comments will have been somewhat dispiriting for the two other finalists, Josh Krajcik and Chris Rene, though both offered excellent responses with their own performances. The former sang a rendition of 'At Last', while accompanying himself on guitar, while Rene sang his original composition 'Young Homie' with a group of dancers. Judge Paula Abdul saved her highest praise for Rene, saying, "You make everyone fall in love with you". The final also saw each finalist performing with established artists - with Amaro partnering R Kelly for 'I Believe I Can Fly, Krajcik tackling 'Uninvited' with Alanis Morissette and Chris Rene teaming up with Avril Lavigne for her smash hit 'Complicated'.
The winner of the show will be decided by viewer votes and announced on Thursday's results show.