While Melanie Amaro, Josh Krajcik and Chris Rene all seem worthy of the grand prize, only one can triumph. So who will it be? Stick with Digital Spy live from 8/7c to check out the result, as well as all the high-profile performances.
> Drew Ryniewicz: 'Melanie Amaro should win The X Factor USA'
21.58 "Thank you so much!" Melanie says after the last performance. "I don't know what to say. Thank you. God is good! I'm so happy... This is something I have wanted all my life!"
Simon adds: "We came here to find a superstar and we found a superstar. Thank you for everyone who supported her."
Well, that's it for The X Factor USA's inaugural season. Thanks for joining us!
21.56 Melanie has to sing again - she chooses Beyoncé's 'Listen', but breaks down in the middle on several occasions, obviously still overwhelmed with her win. She's eventually joined by her fellow Top 12 contestants, all of whom hug and congratulate her as confetti falls from the ceiling.
21.51 It's the moment we've all been half-heartedly waiting for! Ha, I kid. Who will it be? As they return to the stage with their mentors, it could be either Josh or Melanie who takes home the final prize.
Steve Jones then announces that the winner of The X Factor is... Melanie Amaro.
She's incredibly emotional and can barely speak from shock. In fact, she doesn't speak. Instead, she brings her family up on stage and hugs them as she screams and cries.
Instead, Simon says: "America, thank you for giving this girl an opportunity. She's going to represent this country. She is a star. I'm very proud and very grateful. And Josh was a great runner-up."
Josh is also okay with being the runner-up, saying: "I feel amazing. Melanie deserves it - she has a wonderful voice. I had such an incredible experience here. I got to be myself, sing what I want to sing and I couldn't be happier."
Nicole adds: "I couldn't be any more proud of him and I just love and adore you, Josh. Thank you so much for everything. We're so happy for Melanie, as well."
> 'X Factor' USA's Marcus Canty: 'I'm torn between Josh and Chris to win'
21.43 Josh and Melanie head back to the stage for a special duet of David Bowie's 'Heroes'. It's as awkward as you might imagine, but both of them do sound pretty fantastic.
21.39 Sigh. Pitbull and Ne-Yo hit the stage to perform 'Give Me Everything', while Pitbull also sings his part of Chris Brown's 'International Love'. I'm just going to leave it at that as I have zero to say about this mess. Oh, I should mention that yet again, a finalist not in the Top 3 gets a better duet than they did - Marcus Canty gets to sing a few notes.
21.37 In what is arguably the best portion of the entire night (yes, including the performances), a hilarious video collection of the "cry off" between Paula and Nicole throughout the season is shown. Nicole winds by a landslide - though I must mention, she tends to let out crocodile tears. They just don't exist!
> 'X Factor' USA's Simon Cowell 'frustrated' by Astro
21.27 LA Lakers player Derek Fisher comes out on stage to welcome 50 Cent, who's performing 'Wait Until Tonight', much of which has to be censored. It's admittedly a bit salacious for the younger kids in the crowd and seems vaguely out of place on The X Factor - and I say this as a 50 Cent fan.
He then launches into 'In da Club' and brings out some special guests, none of which I recognise. I feel old and un-hip. Oh, I do recognise little Astro, who seems right in his element. Shame that someone who wasn't even a finalist gets a better duet than the Top 3 did. Also, apparently the other guests were basketball players. That explains why I didn't recognise them.
21.25 Josh and Melanie are backstage, waiting to hear who will go home the winner. Melanie talks as if she's already won, which makes me want Josh to win even more. He also believes in his talent but comes off as pretty humble and a little apprehensive.
We're then shown a mini collection of clips highlighting the rivalry between Simon and LA all season. It's clearly filler material - I wish they'd get on with the results.
> Melanie Amaro 'X Factor' USA win predicted by Digital Spy readers
21.14 Leona Lewis is here to sing 'Run'. Talk about a great singer! She seems to be flailing around a bit for Leona, but she sounds incredible and looks great, as well. No complaints here.
21.12 We're treated to some of the more... shall we say "memorable" moments from the audition process earlier this year as well as some of the more shocking moments (like Rachel Crow's elimination) from the live broadcasts.
21.03 It's time for the first results! The finalists are back on stage with their mentors and it's time or someone to head home. Steve announces that the act finishing in third place is... Chris Rene!
"I feel amazing that I got to do this, that I'm here and that God has blessed me with so many opportunities. I got to touch a lot of people's hearts out there and I just have to say thank you," Chris says following the result.
His mentor LA adds: "It's a tough one, right? But I remain proud of Chris. He's a gentleman, he's a talent. Yes, it saddens me and many of his fans but this is how it turned out. It doesn't matter, this is my man."
> Simon Cowell: 'X Factor USA final will have the greatest talent'
20.53 Before the Belieber minions jump on me, maybe he was singing live. Doesn't seem like it, though. Anyway, he's launched into 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town' now and there are some young breakdancers on stage and it's all very busy.
At the end of the performance, he calls his biggest fan Drew Ryniewicz out on stage to sing with him and they share a long, awkward, teenage hug which makes her so giddy that she can't get out another note. It's very nice of him, though, I'll admit.
20.49 Justin Bieber's here to sing, looking like a cross between kd lang, Chris Brown and Shrek. Get the visual? He sings 'The Christmas Song' - or should I say "sings", 'cos those vocals are definitely not live. Oh, and look (no pun intended), it's Stevie Wonder! I really can't get along with Justin Bieber since his voice dropped. He just freaks me out, now. Stevie's got his harmonica, though, so it's all good.
> 'X Factor' finalist Josh Krajcik: 'Alanis Morissette made me nervous'
20.38 Everyone's favourite former Chipotle employee Josh Krajcik couldn't possibly pick a better Christmas song - 'Please Come Home for Christmas'. He's so good and if he does not win, well then, I'll... I won't do anything but probably vent about how this competition is rigged and/or the public is stupid. This performance is actually really, really good.
LA is wowed, saying that Josh has been the "toughest" for him to criticise and thanking him for getting everyone in the Christmas spirit. Paula calls him "such a joy" and his voice "magical". She "just loves" him.
Simon thinks that he represented his category well and thinks that he has been a brilliant contestant, predicting that he will sell "a lot" of records in the future. Nicole appreciates him because of his artistry week after week and the fact that he opens his heart and soul every week. "You inspire me, you make me want to be better," she adds.
After watching his messages from home, Josh is emotional, saying that his life is finally beginning to make sense. I love him! How much can I possibly say it?
> 'X Factor' USA's Chris Rene: 'Avril Lavigne duet was amazing'
20.26 Up next, Chris Rene is keeping it seasonal with a rendition of 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas'. He sings accompanied by a piano and while his voice isn't so great, you can tell he's really trying and is quite into it. The poor guy - you can tell he's dying to riff on it, but there's not much of a rap you can put on a classic Christmas song, is there?
Nicole says that he's a "star from the inside out". Don't get too metaphysical on us. Apparently the music in him comes from "another place, a deeper level" and calls him a hero. Paula concurs, saying that he's the most original in the competition and has such a great style about him.
Simon thinks it was "very cool" and really likes him. He calls Chris "an inspiration" to a lot of people out there since he's been through tough times but was a man of his word and pushed through. LA calls the journey with Chris "a blessing" and thinks that Chris can truly change the world by sharing his experiences.
Chris also sheds some tears while watching the well-wishes from his family and friends.
> 'X Factor' USA's Melanie Amaro: 'R Kelly duet blew my mind'
20.14 You've gotta be kidding me. Melanie is up to sing and guess what song it is? That's right, Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas is You'. Listen, people - her voice is gorgeous, but I'd rather watch paint dry than listen to this. There's just zero excitement and originality, and we all know that being a star means that you need to be versatile. She's got a few awkward little choreography moves and the high note at the end kinda makes my ears ring, but whatever. I may eat my words later.
Melanie also gets extremely emotional as she's shown videos from her family and friends wishing her well in the competition.
LA thinks that she did the song justice and says that her voice is "the best friend a song has ever met". All Nicole wants for Christmas is a Melanie Amaro album. She can have mine, Santa. "You are a princess goddess warrior," she adds.
Paula says that she's never seen Melanie happier and tells her how beautiful she looks like. Simon takes the opportunity to appreciate how great she is to work with and applauds her growth as a person and as a musician.
20.08 LA Reid says it brings back "so many wonderful memories" to see the Top 12 back again, telling them they're all winners. Yeah... okay. Nicole Scherzinger is ready to have fun (no surprises there) and Paula is "overwhelmed" and starts talking about giving gifts on stage. Simon's nervous despite there being more than one star on stage at the moment. To be honest, this one really is too close to call.
20.05 Oh look, it's the Top 12 back again for a group performance of Lady GaGa's 'The Edge of Glory'. It really does drive it home exactly why they went home to begin with, I have to say. Where's Kitty Brucknell when you need her? She'd have done this up right.
20.04 As a side note, I'd like to request that The X Factor USA gets a new announcer next year, 'cos the guy they have now is bogus. Can't we hire Peter Dickson, too?
In any case, the judges are on their way out - not sure about Paula Abdul's bolero-inspired dress, but whatever.
20.00 Well, here we go! Who is everyone rooting for? As I said last night, Josh is it for me, though I guess I could deal with a 'Young Homie' victory. Follow along with us in the comments below!