So much went right for Melanie Amaro en route to winning “The X Factor” and the $5 million prize. Her fans voted in droves. She performed flawlessly in the competitions and handled the pressure like a champ. She even held her own in a duet with R. Kelly. There was just that one minor glitch.
Moments after winning the crown on Thursday (Dec. 22), Amaro took the stage for a performance of the Beyonce tune “Listen.” But overcome with the emotion of the moment, Amaro couldn’t remember the lyrics.
“It was as though for a moment my mind was racing, like ‘Oh my God, I just won.’ And right after that it was like it went blank,” she says.
This was the only blip in Amaro’s run through the competition that many favored her to win. The rest of her performances, from the moment she made it to the live broadcasts, demonstrated a powerful voice with range. And when combined with a rabid fan base and a Twitter following the grew to 140,000, it was easy to see how she won the title.
The greatest irony of Amaro’s victory is that she almost didn’t make it at all. Simon Cowell initially rejected the Florida teen from advancing. But after reviewing the tapes of her performance, Cowell, with the urging of the other judges, changed his mind and invited Amaro back. It’s lucky for both of them that he did.
Amaro has quickly put her victory in perspective. She recognizes that this win isn’t the end, but rather the beginning of her career as a recording artist.
“At this moment I just feel as though I’ve worked so hard and I’ve come so far…I just need to continue to work hard,” she says.
In the interim, Amaro has $5 million to help her get started down that path.