6:00am PT by Cortney Wills
'X Factor' Recap: Finale Night Brings Tears, Cheers and a Simon Cowell Victory
The X Factor crowned its season three winner during a two-hour finale on Thursday night.
The way-too-long broadcast featured guest performances by Mary J. Blige, Leona Lewis, Lea Michele, Pitbull, Ke$ha and One Direction. Unfortunately for the live audience, however, all were pre-taped with the exception of Pitbull's "Timber" and Lewis' sparkly holiday number, "One More Sleep."
Glee star Lea Michele knocked it out of the park with her new single, "Cannonball," likely an ode to her late boyfriend and former co-star Cory Monteith.
Fans also got one final glimpse of this season's castoffs, all of whom returned to the stage to perform "One Love" and were adorned in white outfits.
Each finalist watched messages from their loved ones and fought back tears as they heard how proud their families were. This whole section was so emotional it seemed like the contenders were being sent off to war instead of vying for a $1 million record contract.
Host Mario Lopez kept the momentum going throughout the show that gave the last three contestants an opportunity to make a final impact on viewers with one Christmas song each.
Carlito Olivero delivered a pretty good version of "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," while Alex & Sierra's take on "All I Want For Christmas" was lackluster, at best. Then Jeff Gutt took on "O Holy Night" and reminded America that the lovebirds weren't the only act in the game.
Olivero was the first contestant to get cut on Thursday night and the Latin lover didn't seem too surprised from his predictable third place finish. "I'm so happy, man," he told Lopez. " We came in third place!"
Demi Lovato took her final bow as an X Factor judge and mentor but was noticeably bothered by a segment devoted to figuring out what she was sipping on. The recovering starlet was seen mouthing "That's f----- up," after Lopez made the ill-mannered reference to her green juice. After the show, she was still visibly upset and skipped a big part of the press line, likely to avoid commenting on the dis.
When Lopez announced the winners -- Alex & Sierra -- it came as no great shock because they had been considered front-runners for weeks. Still, they made their best efforts to seem surprised and Sierra thanked fans for "not making fun of her weird faces all the time."
Their mentor, Simon Cowell, was overjoyed with his win. "I feel like Christmas just came early," he said.
As the first couple to win the competition, the twosome struggled through one last performance of A Great Big World's "Say Something" before they were joined by all of the Top 10 contenders of the season.
Once the show wrapped, Gutt seemed confident about his future and his mentor, Kelly Rowland, said she would be keeping a watchful eye on his progress.
"We're at a place in the music industry where we make the rules, so I think Jeff has a great chance at going out there and doing his thing, whether it's with a great indie label or whatever he chooses to do," she said. "I'll definitely be staying abreast of what he's doing."