Tonight’s the night, kids! No, not that night. Not Santa and presents and sugarplums night. That’s two nights from now. 

Tonight’s the night when we finally learn which X Factor finalist got the best Christmas present ever from America: That $5 million contract, a Pepsi Super Bowl commercial, and the lifelong title of Very First Winner of The X Factor USA. The winner probably even gets a special gold card to keep in their wallet that gets them into special Very First Winner Lounges where they can rub elbows with Kelly Clarkson, Adrienne Curry, Jay McCarroll and Richard Hatch. (Just kidding! Richard’s card got revoked when he joined that other, slightly less exclusive club, Prison.)

WHO’S GOING TO WIN? I honestly couldn’t tell you. My gut says Melanie, but what if everyone else’s guts also said Melanie, so they voted extra-hard for Josh and Chris, who were equally as amazing (if not more so, *cough* Josh *cough*) last night? 

We’ll have to just wait, and wait — and wait and wait and wait and waaaait — over the course of the 800,000 minutes of A Very Special X Factor Finale Results Santa-Bieber Christmas Extravaganza to find out! 

Everyone got their spiked nog ready? You better, because here’s a Very Special X Factor Finale Results Drinking Game to make the time until we get actual results go faster: 

Drink every time:

  • Someone cries.
  • Nicole makes it about her.
  • Someone says “five million dollars.”
  • Simon explains (again) why he brought his show to ‘merikuh.
  • Steve Jones says something that makes him sound like an android.
  • Someone says “burrito(s).”
  • Someone says something about how Chris used to be on drugs.
  • Someone mentions Melanie’s awesome secret accent (which she only revealed to us when she felt we had earned it). 

And, just for fun, how about a poll while we wait? I’m actually dying to know how you all feel about this important topic:

On to the show! 

Host Steve Jones is looking snazzy for the final (sadly, maybe his final?) episode in a tuxedo. He’s like Bond, but without the smoothness or charisma. The judges enter to “The Final Countdown,” but sadly, Paula does not “pull a Gob” and put a knife in her mouth while releasing a dove out of her bosom.

Then, the X Factor Final 12 perform together. This includes the United Muppets of Benneton from InTENsity, weepy Stacy Francis, the four-pack-Barbie-playset of Lakoda Rayne, and World’s Sexiest 60-year-old LeRoy Bell. The whole gang’s back together! They sing a manic, techno-laser version of Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory.” Astro raps. Hi, Astro! Oh, and there’s Rachel Cr–WHOA, DREW IS A BRUNETTE NOW? Her elimination must have been like a breakup where she felt like she needed to “reinvent herself” after. I wonder if she took up yoga or knitting. And Melanie has bangs?! It’s like I don’t even know them anymore. Seriously though: Looking good, ladies.

Steve Asks Simon about His Holiday Plans: “I’m going to play with penguins in the North Pole.” 

Simon’s Seamlessly Segued Introduction of Melanie: “This girl is not a penguin. She’s an amazing singer.”

Melanie Performs “All I Want for Christmas Is You”

Surrounded by giant presents, candy canes and red-and-white-clad aerobic dancers, a slicked-back, glittery Melanie performs Mariah’s Christmas classic. It’s adorable. “That beautiful voice you have is the best friend a song has ever met,” says LA Reid, award-winning songwriter. Simon says that he’s “praying” that Melanie wins because she deserves it. (Oh, it’s not because he wants to be able to say that he won the first season of his own show?)

Then we see a montage of Melanie’s friends and family sending her their words of support and love. Picture-in-picture Melanie smiles and laughs and tears up. It’s like graduation! Oh, the places you’ll go, Melanie. She really starts sobbing when she discovers that the show went all the way to the Virgin Islands to get a message from her grandmother. So sweet! Melanie’s so touched that she’s speechless. Steve Jones begins to power down, as Melanie won’t provide the soundbite needed to charge his heart-shaped battery.

Chris Performs “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

Chris puts his unique spin on this classic by adding strategic “uh”s and “yeah”s. Somehow, it works! Actually, I know exactly how it works: Chris is adorable and full of heart, and when he tells me to have myself a merry little Christmas, I can feel that he means it. I will, Chris. I will, thank you! Nicole says that Chris is “a star from the inside out.” Paula says he’s the most original of the three finalists, and Simon does his best “Scrooge the morning after” impression and says that Chris (Bob Cratchit) is “truly an inspiration” in these “tough times.” 

Then, it’s time for Chris’s graduation montage. Everyone from his 1st grade teacher to his schoolyard pals to his rehab pals are here to tell him just how loved he is in Santa Cruz. His son says “I love you, Daddy!” and Chris starts crying. Chris has some words for Steve, but I missed them because right then, something got stuck in both my eyes at the same time and I started tearing up. So weird! 

Nicole’s Response to Steve Jones Trying to Invite Himself to Her Christmas Plans Three Times: “Yes. No. What?” (Aw crap. Did Nicole just redeem herself a little bit?) 

Josh Performs “Please Come Home for Christmas” 

Backed by the human-sized snowglobe with a creepy human-sized human swaying inside, Josh lends his dreamy voice to one of the best Christmas songs of all time, and it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. LA Reid once again compliments Josh by saying that he can’t think of any criticism. That is the worst backhanded kind of compliment, and LA loves to give them out. (And I love LA for it.) Nicole says, “I appreciate you.” Hey, that’s Drinking Game Rule #2. Drink!

Josh’s montage is full of swelling-with-pride friends and family. The best part is the message from his daughter, who says “I just love you so much, and I don’t think I say that enough.” These just never get old. “What is this?” Josh says as he wipes away the tears.

Justin Bieber and Stevie Wonder Perform A Christmas Medley for the Ages 

In his traditional Christmas garb (a letterman jacket and fingerless gloves), The Biebs does his little Biebs thing on “The Christmas Song,” with the chestnuts roasting and tiny tots with eyes aglow, and then Stevie Wonder joins in. STEVIE WONDER! Justin puts his fingerless-gloved hand on Stevie’s shoulder as Stevie plays the harmonica. Justin prances around like Santa’s long lost reindeer, Sassy. A true meeting of the greats here.

Then Bieber goes into a version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” that includes record scratching and breakdancers. I refrain from sharing my true feelings about this, lest those inflicted with Bieber Fever assemble in the comments and perform their internet voodoo curses on me. But speaking of Bieber Fever, Drew joins Justin on the final line of the song, and she looks like she might actually explode in ecstasy at holding his (fingerless-gloved) hand. It’s very sweet. I’m betting that was worth missing out on $5 million to her. Merry Christmas, Drew! You love Bieber and I love your brunette hair. Everyone says “thanks, Stevie” and shuffles the living legend away.


We find out the third-place finisher, and that finalist is…


Wow, Steve Jones can hardly believe it. Me too! But it’s fitting that the competition would come down to Josh and Melanie, who have been the show’s two powerhouses since the beginning. Chris leaves on a high note, thanking everyone. “This feels … weird,” Steve says of the foreign emotions swelling inside of him. Everyone then ignores Steve’s overtures for comment as they hug Chris goodbye. “It’s mayhem here at the moment,” Steve says, cutting to another break. Well, that took all of 45 seconds. Did you know that tonight’s results show could actually be 3 minutes long if they cut out the filler and commercials?

It’s down to Josh and Melanie. But forget about them for the next 50 minutes. We’ve got more space to fill(er).

The Show Counts Down Its 5 Most Shocking Moments:
#5: That jerk named Xander Alexander was a jerk.
#4: Astro was a baby jerk and everyone booed him.
#3: That idiot I forgot about named “Dylan” acted like an idiot on stage.
#2: Some girl’s boyfriend acted like a bleeping jerk when she got eliminated. (Did we even see that happen? I don’t remember it.)
#1: Nicole crushed Rachel Crow‘s dream.

Just Kidding, Rachel Crow Is Alive and Well: She joins Steve Jones to tell him that “amazing things are coming” (DISNEY SHOW!) and she’s going to steal his job. Actually, that sounds plausible. Rachel Crow as host of the X Factor in 2012? I could see it. But here’s a better idea: Co-hosts. Steve could be the Dunkleman to Rachel’s Seacrest.

Leona Lewis Performs “Run” by Snow Patrol
Well, this is melodramatic. Leona Lewis, once-winner of The X Factor UK, performs as a black and white montage of the show’s eliminated contestants plays in the background. It’s a little like those goodbye montages they play for dead famous people at the Oscars.

“It’s a Clash of the Heavyweights, Ding Ding, It’s LA Versus Simon!”
We watch a montage of all the times that Simon and LA found creative, insulting ways to disagree with each other. All the boxing “dings!” makes you almost wish the rivalry had come to real blows. Maybe next season.

50 Cent Performs Something, Honestly Who Cares, This Show Has Been Going On Forever
50 Cent performs some song while models in white bodysuits slink around on white couches. Gross. Then he segues into “In Da Club,” and some random guys walk out on stage and get mobbed by the dancers? Honestly, I have no idea what is happening until Astro comes out. Astro gets to yell out random words in between 50 Cent’s lyrics, like he’s playing a special game of audio Mad Libs.

Nicole Vs. Paula, The Cry-Off
It’s exactly what it sounds like. Nicole wins (loses?) something like 26 to 10.

We have 20 minutes left, and this recap is getting too long for even me to handle, so I’m going to recap in shorthand until we get to the actual results again. OK? Cool. Here we go.

Pitbull. Ne-Yo. “Tonight.” Snore. Marcus. Leather pants. Spin move. Fin.

Duet. Melanie and Josh. “We Could Be Heroes.” She’s the queen, he’s the king. Wish they could both win. Did they know they’d be the final two, or practice three different duets for the three different potential final-two pairings? We’ll never know. What we do know: This stage houses infinite lasers.

Pepsi “tonight is the night” commercial for the 500th time. Tonight is the night ... that I stab myself in the ears?


We finally get to learn who won!

The Winner of The X Factor IS…


Melanie: “Ohmygodohmygodohmygod.”

Josh: “I feel amazing. Melanie deserves it. This experience has been amazing. I got to be myself, sing what I want to sing, and I couldn’t be happier.”

Steve once again is unable to extract a coherent soundbite out of Melanie. But Simon will speak: “I’m very proud. I’m very grateful. And a worthy runner-up in Josh.”

Melanie won’t speak to Steve, but she will sing “Listen” for a final time. Well, sort of. She’s so overcome with emotion that she almost cries, then skips some words, then actually cries and skips a whole bunch of words. She recovers, though, and closes out the song like a champ. (Which is what she is.) An angelic clan of gospel singers sneaks up on her and backs her up as she pretty much crumbles into an ecstatic mess. Her fellow finalists come on stage and hug her as she finishes the song. What a sweet moment!

Steve finally gets his soundbite from Melanie: “Thank you. GOD IS GOOD!” Then: “I’m so happy and I don’t know what to say. This is something I’ve wanted for all my life!”

Well, what do you think, America? I admit that I was pulling for Josh, but I still couldn’t be happier for Melanie. Josh and Chris will do well, I hope, and this truly did change Melanie’s life. I feel all warm and fuzzy. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good X Factor finale.

(Image courtesy of FOX)

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.