Melanie Ann Amaro (born June 26, 1992) is a Virgin Islander-American recording artist who won the first season of The X Factor USA in 2011, securing a $5 million recording contract with Syco Music and Epic Records. Amaro was also the youngest contestant to win the competition during the show's run (2011-2013).
Amaro was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and raised on Tortola, British Virgin Islands since the age of 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, 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. Melanie attended the Althea Scatliffe Primary School and later went on to Elmore Stout high school, formerly known as BVI high school. Melanie moved to Florida when she was 15, and graduated from Plantation High School in 2010. In March 2012, her high school chorus teacher, Gary Rivenbark, whom Amaro credits with the help of shaping her voice, died of lymphoma at age 48.
2011: The X Factor
In June 2011, Amaro was persuaded by her mother to audition for the first season of The X Factor USA. She auditioned in front of 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, after 2 weeks 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. Amaro was also declared to be the show's youngest contestant to win at age 19. Her prize was a $5 million recording contract with Syco Music and a Sony Music label, which is the largest guaranteed prize in television history. Shortly after winning, Sony Music label Epic Records announced that they had officially signed Amaro, who will be working alongside L.A. Reid at the label. In addition to the contract, Amaro also appeared in a Pepsi commercial alongside Sir Elton John, which aired during Super Bowl XLVI on NBC.
Performances on The X Factor
Melanie Amaro performed the following songs on The X Factor:
|Audition||Free choice||"Listen"||Beyoncé||N/A||Through to bootcamp|
|Bootcamp 1||Group performance 1||"Run to You"||Whitney Houston||N/A||Through to bootcamp 2|
|Bootcamp 2||Group performance 2||"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"||U2||N/A||Through to bootcamp 3|
|Bootcamp 3||Solo performance||Not aired||N/A||Through to judges' houses|
|Judges' houses||Free choice||"Will You Be There"||Michael Jackson||N/A||Advanced via Wild Card|
|Live show 1||Free choice||"I Have Nothing"||Whitney Houston||17||Saved by Simon Cowell|
|Live show 2||Free choice||"Desperado"||Eagles||7||Safe (4th)|
|Live show 3||Songs from movies||"Man in the Mirror"||Michael Jackson||7||Safe (2nd)|
|Live show 4||Rock||"Everybody Hurts"||R.E.M.||5||Safe (2nd)|
|Live show 5||Giving thanks||"The World's Greatest"||R. Kelly||3||Safe (2nd)|
|Live show 6||Songs by Michael Jackson||"Earth Song"||Michael Jackson||7||Safe (1st)|
|Live show 7||Dance music hits||"Someone Like You"||Adele||1||Safe (1st)|
|Save me songs||"When You Believe"||Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston||6|
|Semi-final||Pepsi challenge songs||"Hero"||Mariah Carey||3||Safe (1st)|
|"Get me to the final" songs||"Feeling Good"||Cy Grant||7|
|Final||Celebrity duets||Duet "I Believe I Can Fly" with R. Kelly||R. Kelly||3||Winner (1st)|
|Christmas songs||"All I Want for Christmas Is You"||Mariah Carey||1|
Amaro did not originally make it through to the live shows, but was later brought back as a wildcard.
2012–present: Truly, label conflict and broadway ventures
Amaro was scheduled to release her debut album in 2013. Amaro's Pepsi commercial aired during Super Bowl XLVI on NBC as part of her X Factor prize. The commercial featured Amaro singing a dance cover of "Respect", alongside Elton John, Flavor Flav, and Annie Ilonzeh. The song was released as a music download on February 2, 2012, and reached the #3 spot on the Billboard Dance/Club Chart. On August 1, Amaro released her debut single "Don't Fail Me Now", written by Livvi Franc and produced by Rodney Jerkins. Amaro's album was set for release on December 4, 2012. On 19 October 2012 Amaro premiered the music video for "Don't Fail Me Now" on her official VEVO account. The song failed to chart and the album was pushed back to 2013. She performed a new single, "Long Distance", live on The X Factor on December 6, 2012. The song was released on December 3, 2012. Truly was rescheduled for March 2013, but was never released. While season 2 winner Tate Stevens debut album was released in April 2013 under RCA Nashville, Amaro's label has stated that her album has no confirmed release date.
In August 2013, Amaro performed in Indonesia for RCTI's 24th anniversary television special, X Factor Around the World along with Samantha Jade, Jahméne Douglas, The Collective, Novita Dewi and Fatin Shidqia. Amaro performed her new single "Long Distance" and then "The World's Greatest" as a duet with Fatin Shidqia.
On October 4, 2013, Amaro made her musical theater debut in the national tour of "You're Never Alone".
On June 19, 2014 she premiered the lead single "Fuel My Fire" on Soundcloud from her upcoming EP of the same name. Amaro described the song as being about "her frustration with the lack of music released by her label." The song was released independently as a digital download on June 26, 2014, without Epic or Sony being credited.
As of September 2014, Amaro's album is believed to have been scrapped and will not be released. Months later "Fuel My Fire" was taken off of iTunes for unknown reasons.
On May 6, 2015, Amaro released a new song Dust featuring American hip-hop recording artist, Fabolous. It is the second independent release of the artist ever since her departure from Syco & Epic Records. "Dust" was finally released to digital retail stores in September 2015, a solo version without Fabolous was also released.
On Feb 17, 2016, Amaro released a new song The One.
As lead artist
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Album|
|"Don't Fail Me Now"||2012||8||"Truly"|
|"Fuel My Fire"|
|2014||—||Fuel My Fire|
As featured artist
(Rocki Boulis featuring Melanie Amaro)
(Konshens featuring Melanie Amaro)
Other charted songs
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions||Album|
|USDance||US Adult R&B|
|"Love Me Now"||—||27||Truly|
Awards and nominations
|2012||Teen Choice Awards 2012||Female Reality Star||The X Factor||Nominated|