Mel's got it
The X Factor winner Melanie Amaro said on Friday she was shocked at her victory but believed that singing from her heart had given her the edge over her rivals in the TV contest.
Amaro's triumph also gave broadcaster Fox a ratings win, with Thursday's two-hour finale bringing in 12.4 million viewers, making X Factor the most-watched show of the night on US television.
The 19 year-old won a $5 million (Dh18.36 million) recording contract, but said on Friday she was going to keep details of her first album a secret.
"I am going to keep everyone guessing as to what is going to come out, so people will go get it and they will be amazed," she said.
But she said she planned to spend some of her winnings on a foot massager and a new house for her mother.
"I feel as though I am in a dream. I feel as though this is not real... I was so thrilled to have won and so shocked."
Amaro's powerhouse vocals had made her a front-runner since her first audition for the show.
But she was cut from competition's early rounds, only to be later reinstated by X Factor creator Simon Cowell, in what TV watchers widely considered a manufactured drama to hype interest in the show's first season on US TV.
Amaro said she did not know whether her initial elimination and call-back had been deliberately staged, but said she genuinely thought she was out of the contest.
"I had no clue Simon was coming to my house. I thought I was out of it... I kept thinking I wasn't good enough," she said.