Melanie spoke to reporters on Friday about her victory and her plans for the future....
What was going through your head when you were announced as the winner?
"It's so surreal! I feel amazing. I feel as though I'm in a dream and that it's not real. I was not... Last night was an amazing thing for me. It's so surreal to have won, I was so shocked. I feel so blessed."
Was there a moment that you thought you really might win the whole thing?
"To be honest, I was still thinking to myself that, regardless of anything, I was going to go far even if I hadn't won anything because I accepted myself. I knew I would go far regardless of the competition because I actually started to believe in myself."
What has the reaction to your win been like from family and friends, as well as the judges?
"They're all so very proud of me and said I really deserved this. My mentor was so proud - he was more nervous than I was backstage, actually. He kept telling me he was nervous and his stomach was in knots. I kept saying, you know, 'I'm supposed to be nervous, why are you?' They were all proud, my family and the judges were all happy for me and were really accepting of the fact that I had won."
Who did you feel was your biggest competition for the grand prize going into this week?
"For me, I thought Chris Rene was my biggest competition. I don't know why, I guess just because it was my thought. Everyone knew that he was an original artist and knew his music, plus he connected well with everyone."
What would you say to the fans who came out and voted for you in such large numbers?
"I just want to tell all of the people in Florida that I absolutely love them and I thank them so much for putting me into this competition, supporting me and voting for me. I'm so appreciative and I love every single one of them."
How have you grown on The X Factor?
"I've grown not only as a person but as an artist as well. I've matured and I've branched out into being my own. I'm growing and learning so much from the industry and being in the competition and I'm really happy about everything, about the changes that have happened in my life. Plus, I can actually sing any genre of music and do it really well."
It seemed to be a major turning point for you when you revealed your true accent. Was that something you planned to do?
"To be honest, it really wasn't planned. Something came over me during that performance and I said to myself, 'You know what, accept who you are and just speak and I did'. When I did, my accent came out, you know?"
Are there any particular artists and producers you would like to work with in future?
"I'd love to work with Mariah Carey and I'd also love to work with LA Reid because he's a great producer and mentor. He's wonderful, so I could see myself working with him."
Do you have any advice for young people who might have a dream similar to yours?
"Continue pushing and never give up because if you give up, you let yourself get defeated. If you give up, you know you won't go anywhere or fulfil your dream. If it's your dream, you have to fight for it. Anything you want is worth fighting for."
Was it hard to build a good working relationship with Simon after he initially sent you home?
"No, he was so sincere about coming back to my house and apologising about everything that I couldn't fault him at all. I was hurt at first but I forgave him for that and I went with it. It was really bad because I really should have believed in myself from the beginning but I kept thinking that I wasn't good enough and I constantly kept telling myself that."
What kind of album can your fans expect you to make?
"Right now I'm going to keep that as a surprise and not give it away. I'll just say that you should look forward to it and I'm going to make some great music. The fans should really listen to what I put out."
Do you think you still would have won had Simon Cowell not been your mentor?
"No, I don't think I would have gone very far at all because I needed Simon to be that tough judge that he was with me in order for me to grow, to get to a higher place. So for me, I needed Simon."
You won $5 million - do you have any plans for any of the money?
"I'm going to buy myself a foot massager and buy my mum a new house."
Do you think Simon's decision to eliminate you and bring you back was a calculated move meant for dramatic effect or was it a genuine mistake?
"I really don't know. All I know is that he made a mistake, he apologised about it and I came back from it and look where I am now. Whatever happened in the past is the past, and I'm looking towards the future."
What was your relationship like with your fellow contestants?
"We were all very close and on each other's side. We got used to being around each other and for someone to leave, it was always tough. It really affected all of us."
You sang a lot of Mariah Carey songs on the show and have said she's a major influence. What do you love about her?
"She has a beautiful, big, amazing voice. She's someone that uses her talent to make a difference, to do what she loves. She strives to be the best at what she does and that makes me admire her. She's an all-around great person, an amazing person."
How does it feel to go from being cut during Judges' Houses to winning the whole thing? Do you think your fans came out in more force after you came back to ensure you weren't sent home again?
"To be cut... I went back to work, back to doing the same thing I was doing before. I was miserable. But after I got a chance to come back, I felt like, 'Wow, I really have a chance to do something big'. I think my fans saw how being told 'no' affected me and that I didn't deserve it. They didn't want me to get a no again so they voted really hard to make sure it didn't happen, so I have to thank my fans and supporters for that."
You had one of the best voices in the competition - what do you think set you apart from the other finalists?
"My talent is a gift. I think I have a big range and a higher range than some of the other contestants. It was me doing what I do, putting my heart into it, unlike some of the other contestants. When I sing, I sing to the very pit of my soul. It's something that I truly, truly enjoy."
The X Factor USA airs on Fox