X Factor winner? Simon Cowell votes for Melanie Amaro
X Factor winner? The three finalists sang their original audition songs Wednesday. But Melanie Amaro was Simon Cowell's "winner" to take home the $5 million X Factor prize tonight.
LOS ANGELES — The three finalists of TV singing contest "The X Factor'' went back to their roots on Wednesday night, each performing their first audition songs as they battled for votes and a $5 million recording contract.
Recovering drug addict Chris Rene, 28, performed his original rap song ``Young Homies'' that captivated judges at his September audition and has since racked up more than 10 million views on YouTube.
"This is going to be a very, very close call,'' said British judge and "X Factor'' creator Simon Cowell.
But after Amaro closed the show, Cowell declared she deserved to win the $5 million prize and a Pepsi commercial.
"Based on that performance tonight, you should be the winner of the 'X Factor','' Cowell said.
On Wednesday night's live show, the three finalists also performed duets with established pop stars but earned less favorable comments from the judges.
Amaro struggled with the key when she teamed up with R. Kelly for ``I Believe I Can Fly,'' Krajcik seemed intimidated next to Alanis Morissette on ``Uninvited'' and Rene's singing was deemed shaky when he took the stage with Avril Lavigne on ''Complicated.''
The two-part finale marks the close of the first season of the U.S. version of ``The X Factor,'' which has fallen short of the ratings and critical expectations set up by Cowell earlier this year.
Cowell admitted to reporters on Monday that he was probably ''a little too cocky'' when he launched the U.S. version of his hit British show. But he said ``The X Factor'' would be better when it returns for a second season in 2012.
( Editing by John O'Callaghan)