After the earlier bit about Simon and L.A.'s rivalry, Steve does a tongue-in-cheek intro to the season-long "cry-off" between Paula and Nicole. There's a scoreboard on the screen and everything, and all I will say is that Nicole wins 25-10, although 15 of those were from the night she sent Rachel home by being a coward. And now, Pitbull featuring Ne-Yo! Whose records are we selling tonight, anyway? Marcus Canty gets to join them at the end of their song, so I guess these special guest performances amount to consolation prizes for some of the losers.
Steve is out in the audience between the Krajciks and the Amaros, who obviously are very proud and supportive and kind of bored with having to wait two hours to find out who's going to win already. Or maybe that's just me. Josh and Melanie now have to do a duet together, of "Heroes" by David Bowie. I assume all potential permutations of the final two had to rehearse a song to sing tonight after the third-place contestant got the boot, which makes me rather curious about what both Josh and Melanie would have had to sing with Chris. Tell me you're not curious too. You can't, can you? Josh and Melanie hug afterward like they're not mortal enemies, and Steve says the winner will be revealed after the break, honest and for true this time.
For what I hope is the last time, the opera music plays as Steve brings out the final two with their mentors. Steve says it's down to the final two based on votes, and says this is it. "The winner of The X Factor is..." An eighteen-second pause! No, actually it's Melanie Amaro. Melanie wins! After having been eliminated from the competition, no less. She's going to give reality show losers unrealistic hope for years to come. While she and Simon hug, Steve informs her, like she doesn't know, that she's won a five-million-dollar recording contract AND will get to be in a Pepsi commercial. Melanie is too overcome to talk, and while everyone else hugs each other, Steve kills a few seconds by getting Josh's reaction. He's taking it pretty well, saying Melanie deserves it and he's happy to have gotten to be himself. Nicole adds that she couldn't be any more proud of Josh. He takes a final bow, and Steve has to all but pry Melanie off the stage where she's on her knees praying to get her thought. But then he's cockblocked again by her family members rushing up and hugging her, so Simon gets to make a big speech thanking America for giving Melanie an opportunity. "You're not gonna get a word out of her, Steve," he warns. Steve takes the mic back and says Melanie's going to have to sing one more time, and he goes stage right to remind us all what Melanie won and to introduce her final performance. Once again, she sings "Listen," a little more roughly than last night, skipping some lines entirely, but whaddya want? Girlfriend's a multimillionaire now. She can go full-on Whitney Houston if she wants. She's eventually joined onstage by the backup singers, the rest of the final twelve, and a metric ton of confetti by the end of the song. After she's done, Steve finally gets through to her to ask how she's feeling, and all she can manage is, "Thank you so much!" Steve turns to Simon, who says they came to find a superstar and found one. And finally, Steve congratulates Melanie, thanks the judges, and reminds us all to audition next year. Yeah. I think I'll pass. He gets Melanie to thank America one more time and tells us good night.