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The first season finale of The X Factor aired last night and a new winner was crowned!

So, who won the highly coveted $5 million prize? The lucky winner was  19-year-old Melanie Amaro! Melanie beat out her fellow finalists – Chris Rene and Josh Krajcik to take home the ultimate prize.

Chris was the first finalist to be eliminated, leaving Josh and Melanie to duke it out for the final prize.

“America, thank you for giving this girl an opportunity,” said Simon Cowell. “She is a star.” A very emotional Melanie stated after her win, “Thank you so much! I don’t know what to say. Thank you. God is good.”

Melanie’s win wasn’t exactly a huge surprise as she had one of the best auditions to get on the show. The finale began with the top 12 contestants, including Rachel Crow and Astro, singing Lady Gaga‘s “The Edge of Glory.” This was followed by performances by Justin Bieber, Stevie Wonder and Leona Lewis.

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON MELANIE WINNING? DID YOU ENJOY THIS SEASON OF X-FACTOR?

Fans of The X Factor are still outraged following last week’s shocking elimination which sent teen favorite Rachel Crow packing!

Judge Nicole Scherzinger felt the most criticism as her decision to allow a voting deadlock when she eliminated Rachel over Marcus Canty ultimately sent Rachel packing.

See, after Rachel and Marcus — who were in the Bottom two last Thursday — sang their last chance songs, judge L.A. Reid picked Rachel to go home. Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul then voted off Marcus. This left the last and deciding vote to Nicole. Nicole, who perhaps failed to realize her duties as a judge, then stated she didn’t want to be the deciding vote and picked Rachel to send the vote into a deadlock.

Unfortunately for 13-year-old Rachel, she ended up having the least amount of votes by the public, and was sent packing. Fans of the show were livid with Nicole for her indecisiveness, that is until TMZ posted a story stating Paula was the one who told Nicole to vote off Rachel.

In a video clip obtained by TMZ, Paula can be heared whispering to Nicole, “Just let it go to a deadlock.” Which is exactly what Nicole did.

Paula is now defending herself, stating her comments were taken out of context during her Monday night appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel show alongside Nicole and the other judges. Though I’m not quite sure how “just let it go to a deadlock” could be taken out of context.

“That’s how they interpreted it,” said Paula of TMZ’s spin on the video footage. “I adore [Nicole] and know what she was feeling like [having to send someone home.]” Nicole added, “In the moment and under pressure, it’s not as easy to say ‘you’re going home.’ I own the decision I made right then.”

As for Rachel, things are looking up for the teen with TMZ reporting Disney is now looking to sign her… and have already set up a meeting to go through a list of opportunities including TV, movies and radio.

Meanwhile, Rachel’s breakdown upon hearing she was eliminated from the show (she started brawling and fell to the ground) now has people questioning whether the show needs to raise its age limit as the younger ones are simply unable to deal with the public scrutiny. Another example of this was 15-year-old Astro’s meltdown a while back upon being told he was in the bottom 2. He first refused to perform before ultimately apologizing.

[Photos Credit: WENN]

TELL US – SHOULD RACHEL HAVE WENT HOME? IS PAULA OR NICOLE TO BLAME? DOES THE AGE LIMIT NEED TO BE RAISED?

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