There was hardly a dry eye in the house as young lovebirds Alex and Sierra won The X Factor on Thursday December 19th 2013 – and a $1million Sony recording contract.
The adorable Florida couple, Sierra Deaton and Alex Kinsey, both 22, took the title ahead of impoverished single dad Jeff Gutt, 37 and lovable Carlito Olivero, 24.
With their blend of powerful vocals, instrumental ability and folksy charm, the pair had been strong frontrunners from the start.
‘I feel like Christmas just came early,’ beamed Simon Cowell, 54, who is set to make a fresh mint from their success.
Offering his condolences to the loser Jeff Gutt, Cowell said: ‘Jeff…big respect you did brilliant in the final but my heart was with these guys and I genuinely think they deserve it.’
‘Thank you so much for getting us here and not making fun of my weird faces all the time, but thank you,’ she sniffed.
The smoochy duo then sang a final song – hindered by their delighted sobbing and sniffling.
Gutt, who had already been rejected from the show once, looked utterly crestfallen:
‘I’m not going to give up. I’m still going to be out there on tour and making records,’ he sighed.
In third place was hard working Olivero, who hoped a win would lift his family out of poverty.
The former boxer and coffee shop worker from Chicago took his defeat like a man.
‘Ah man, I’m blessed. I worked so hard to get here and look, I made it to third place baby, I cannot be mad. God is good,’ he grinned.
The announcement was preceded by a performance by One Direction – aka Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson.
The British boyband had been styled-up scruffy to perform their new track Midnight Memories with Harry sporting a Keith Richards-style hair bandana. Touching the crowd and playing up to the cameras the youngsters appeared preened and well-coached.
Since their creation during the seventh series of the British X Factor in 2010, the band has become a multi-million dollar cash cow for Cowell, and the hottest celebrities of the moment for the under 25 age group.
Despite finishing third in the initial competition their record sales have far surpassed their contemporaries – and they are estimated to be worth a staggering $99 million USD.
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When host Mario Lopez asked about their holiday plans Niall Horan, 20, said: ‘I think we’re all just going to go home be with our families for a little bit, eat lots of food and get really fat.’
Lopez asked Harry if he’d been naughty or nice in 2013.
‘I think I’ve been pretty nice this year actually, yeah,’ said the 19-year-old megastar unconvincingly.
The rest of the finale was filled with performances from the contestants and some guest acts.
Dressed entirely in white and silver the top 13 were reunited for a group rendition of One by Irish superband U2.
To fill airtime the show was peppered with humorous montages of the judges’ ‘best moments’.
Paulina had gained a repuation for her dubious English accent, in particular her confusion between the words pitchy and peachy.
Each of the top three then sang a Christmas song to mark the festive season.
Carlito Olivero started the night with a crew of sexy female Santas for (Christmas) Baby Please Come Home.
Holiday classic: Carlito sang (Christmas) Baby Please Come Home with a sexy Santa