Who Won ‘The X Factor’?

by | December 20, 2012 at 11:01 PM | RealityTV, Recap, The X-Factor

Tate Stevens and Carly Rose Sonenclar during the "X Factor" finale. (Photo: Ray Mickshaw/FOX)

It may have taken two hours to get there—well, two hours and three months—but we finally have a winner on “The X Factor.” And it’s exactly who you think it is.

There’s a reason the other music competitions don’t reveal the leaderboard as they did here this season. Because too early, you kind of know how it’s going to play out. Almost all season, Tate Stevens and Carly Rose Sonenclar flip-flopped from first to second place, and tonight, those were the last two standing after Fifth Harmony got the axe an hour into the show.

Catch Up on the Best “X Factor” Performances

So it was a battle between a 13-year-old girl and a 37-year-old man all along. And it was the 37-year-old man that won. Tate Stevens, a country singer, has won Simon Cowell’s pop show, and he’s probably going to make more money for Cowell than any pop singer to come out of a TV show ever could.

But let’s rewind to the preceding 118 or so minutes, during which time we got performances from Pitbull and “X Factor UK” winners One Direction (again!?!), a red carpet catastrophe, lots of retrospective videos, and Khloe Kardashian Odom asking everyone and their mother (literally) what is going on in their mind, and repeating the word “phenomenal” about 276 times.

The show opened on a red carpet outside the theater, where a line of Escalades waited to bring in one judge after another, hosts Mario Lopez and Khloe escorting each of them from the car to some confused space where they either stood or wandered aimlessly, wondering where to go. Mario: “I’ve become a valet all of a sudden.” Khloe: “What’s going on in your mind right now? What’s that, I can’t hear you, I’ve taken the mic away from your face. Phenomenal.”

Then the top 3 came in the same way, though they seemed to know where they were going, while lipsynching “All You Need is Love” along the way. They passed by some former contestants getting groomed, but for what it’s unclear, since they didn’t perform. CeCe Frey was basically just hanging out backstage getting her hair done, because she had nowhere else to go.

We did get to visit with some former contestants, though, and the most notable thing we learned is that Emblem3 is going snowboarding in Whistler as soon as they are set free of “The X Factor”s death grip.

We watched some videos reminding us about some of the high and low moments of the season. That guy that got arrested. That guy that let down Britney Spears. How much more fun Britney Spears used to be during auditions. And: What the heck ever happened to Panda?!?

More videos roasting the judges. LA Reid doing strange hand movements. Simon Cowell being a Grinch. Britney making those hideous faces. Demi being “sassy” to Simon.

Each of the top 3 performed a Christmas song, followed by a bunch of video messages from friend and family. The best messages came from Carly Rose’s grandmas, who both have the most awesome thick New York accents. “I love you mawww!”

Fifth Harmony actually did the best of the three, here, performing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) and actually harmonizing. Unfortunately, it seemed like some girls were mic’d louder than others, so it sounded a little strange, but the carousel horses and parasols and overall production value was pretty adorable.

Carly and Tate then did a duet of “The Climb,” which I wonder how they explained to Fifth Harmony without giving anything away, and finally the results came. After 35 million votes, three costume changes for Khloe, and a lot of time spent watching this ridiculous show, Tate was pronounced the winner. He punches the air, and it’s just great that this good, over the hill guy, got $5 million. It’s a big moment, and Khloe has just one question for him: “What is going on in your mind right now?”