Melanie Amaro recently signed a record deal, as anticipated, weeks after she became the first winner of Simon Cowell's new FOX singing contest series "The X Factor."
The 19-year-old won a $5 million cash prize - the largest in television history. Epic Records recently announced that she had signed a recording contract with the company, which is headed by L.A. Reid, who served on the judging panel with Nichole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul and Cowell, both formerly of "American Idol."
Cowell had pushed for Amaro, a soul singer who lives in Florida, to win the competition, which he produces. The show debuted last fall and aired its finale in December. Reid had backed another finalist - Chris Rene, a California hip hop singer and recovering drug addict.
In an Epic Records statement obtained by OnTheRedCarpet.com, the record executive expressed his support for Amaro.
"I joined The X Factor to be able to discover undeniable talent such as Melanie," Reid was quoted as saying. "I am pleased that she is now signed to Epic Records because I believe we have only scratched the surface on uncovering her talent and her inevitable journey to super-stardom."
"I am so excited to start recording my debut album for Epic under the guidance of L.A. Reid and Simon Cowell ," Amaro added. "This is a dream come true for me."
The recording contract is separate from her prize money.
"She gets a guaranteed $5 million paid over five years," a spokesperson for Cowell's company Syco Entertainment told OnTheRedCarpet.com on Friday, January 6.
FOX representatives had previously said the winner of "The X Factor" would win a recording contract with Sony Music. Epic Records is owned by that company.
Amaro had said following her victory that she hopes to use the money to buy her mother a new house for her mother and also joked that she wanted a lifetime supply of chicken.
Amaro, who wowed viewers with her renditions of songs by artists such as Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. When she was younger, she was sent to live with her grandparents in Tortola in the Virgin Islands for most days of the year because her "Caribbean-bred parents couldn't afford to take care of her," according to the official "X Factor" website.
In addition to $5 million and a record contract, Amaro will also get to star in a Pepsi commercial. The ad is set to air on NBC during Super Bowl XLVI on February 5.
Rene, who wowed the "X Factor" audience with his original song "Young Homie," fellow top 3 finalist and rocker Josh Krajcik and hip hop singer Brian "Astro" Bradley, another contestant, are also expected to sign record deals, although officials have not confirmed this.
Rene Tweeted on Wednesday, January 4, that he was "in the studio" with record producers J.R. Rotem, who has worked with artists such as Dr. Dre and 50 Cent, and Marty James.
Bradley recently appeared on the BET cable channel show "106 & Park." During his interview, he denied reports that said he signed a record deal with Jay-Z's Roc-Nation.
"I don't have a contract or a check so I ain't signed to nobody," he said, adding: "I'm dropping a new mixtape soon. Reality shows, clothing lines, movies and everything that I could possibly do, I'm going to do."