HITS Daily Double

X Factor winner

X MARKS HER $5 MILLION: In an emotional finale, 19-year-old Sunrise, FL, native Melanie Amaro took first prize in last night’s X Factor finale, over the 30-year-old burrito baritone Josh Krajcik, giving executive producer Simon Cowell a satisfying conclusion to his American Idol competitor. L.A. Reid’s contestant, rehabbing blue-eyed hip-hop crooner Chris Rene had been eliminated earlier in the evening. Amaro was originally sent packing by Cowell during the judges’ homes sequence, only to have Simon realize his mistake and travel down to Florida to fetch her back. If that wasn’t manipulative enough, Amaro proudly revealed her British West Indies roots by embracing an island patois and a feisty personality that, combined with her soaring voice, led to a victory that was, if you believe the blogosphere buzz, pretty much wire to wire. Offering a $5 million first prize made it more of a game show than American Idol, and certainly jacked up the pressure for the finalists, with two single, struggling dads and a woman whose parents are immigrants facing a life-changing future with the cash. Of course, that loot comes in the form of a “recording contract,” which means a large majority of that sum will probably be spent on promotion, marketing, videos, touring and all the accoutrements of a modern-day pop career. Maybe Melanie should just take the money and run. (12/23a)