26 June 1992 (age 25)
Melanie Ann Amaro (born June 26, 1992) is an American-born British Virgin Islands singer who won the first season of The X Factor in 2011, securing a $5 million recording contract with Syco Music, Sony Music, and Epic Records
Melanie Amaro was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida,and raised in Tortola, British Virgin Islands since age three.Amaro was sent to the British Virgin Islands to live with her grandmother Catherine, after her parents Hipolito Amaro and Debra Sylvester Amaro felt they did not have the means to provide for her.Amaro would only see her parents during summer vacations and Christmas breaks.She also has two brothers named Mark and Mike, and a younger sister named Maya.Her mother Debra recalls that when her daughter was about six months old, she would get up at around two o'clock in the morning and would start singing in her crib. Furthermore, from an early age, Amaro would sing around her house using a hairbrush as a microphone. Melanie realized she fell in love with singing and acting at around age eleven, and credits her mother for pushing her to follow her singing dreams.Amaro never entered any singing competitions as a child, but performed at weddings, churches, and other events.
Following her mother's persuasion in 2011, Amaro auditioned for the first season of The X Factor USA before judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger and L.A. Reid, singing "Listen" by Beyoncé Knowles. She previously tried auditioning at her local Fox affiliate for a "fast pass", but was not well received by producers there and subsequently auditioned with the general public at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Florida. After becoming one of the Top 32 finalists, she performed Michael Jackson's "Will You Be There" in the judges' house, in front of her mentor Cowell. Amaro was initially not chosen to be part of the Top 16 and was eliminated from the girls' category. However, Cowell surprised her at her Florida home, inviting her back to the competition after deciding he had made "a huge mistake" in not including her.
Amaro progressed to the live shows in Cowell's girls' category, along with Rachel Crow, Drew, Tiah Tolliver and Simone Battle. The addition of Amaro took the total number of qualifiers for the first live show to 17. On December 15, Amaro won a place in the final along with Chris Rene and Josh Krajcik. The following week, she was declared the winner. Her prize was a $5 million recording contract with Syco Music and Sony Music, which is the largest guaranteed prize in television history. In addition to the contract, Amaro will also appear in a Pepsi commercial set to air during Super Bowl XLVI on NBC.
Amaro will be releasing her debut album sometime in 2012, which will feature music styles different than what people are used to her performing
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