'X Factor': Simon Cowell on Melanie Amaro's future and other comments from the red carpet

x-factor-group-fox.jpgAfter all the excitement, suspense and music of "The X Factor," there could only be one winner. And it was 19-year-old Melanie Amaro who took home the $5 million prize. The finale was very much a celebration of how far everyone had come since the singing competition began many months ago. Following the show, the contestants and mentors took a moment to talk about what they've learned and what their future holds now that the season is over.

Here's the best of what they had to say.
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Simon Cowell on the moment he brought Melanie Amaro back to the competition: "It was like a marriage proposal. I said to her, 'I've made a mistake, I admit it. I'm going to give you a second chance.' And I stood there like a lemon for 30 seconds while she stared at me. And then quietly [she] said, 'Yes. I'll do it.'...All I can say is I royally screwed up. I've done it before in this business. But this time at least I had a chance to rectify it. Thank God I did."

Simon Cowell on Melanie Amaro's musical future: "We've got three labels right now who want to sign her within Sony. So I have to make the decision in the next 24 hours...She is the priority...We haven't had a singer like her since Mariah [Carey] and Whitney [Houston], so we have to do her justice. But fortunately a bunch of good producers want to work with her now."

Paula Abdul on Melanie Amaro winning: "You can't deny her vocal ability. It's magical when she sings. And you can't help but love her story. She was denied to come to the live rounds. And we all wanted her to come back. Simon did the right thing, and brought her back. So she came in as an underdog but quickly became the front runner. People say, 'Are you surprised?' It would be surprising if she didn't [win]."

Nicole Scherzinger on working with Josh Krajcik
: "When we found out he was in the Top 2, we were both really excited and grateful. I'm really proud of him...I put a lot of heart and thought into every day how I was going to help him mentally...He's so easy to work with and so amazing and I just enjoyed the whole process."

L.A. Reid on working with Chris Rene in the future: "I think Chris Rene goes on to become a massive star. I think he'll go in the studio, make records, do videos, do tours and do movies and the whole nine. I think the guy's a star...If the boss says I can sign him, then he's signed."

Josh Krajcik on his reaction after the results were announced: "It was relief that it was over. It was pride for [Melanie Amaro]. It was pride for myself. She deserves the win. She's wonderful...She's got such an amazing voice. She's such a great girl. I couldn't be happier for her...I told Melanie she deserves it. I gave her a kiss on the cheek and said, 'Good job.'"

Chris Rene on his immediate future: "This whole thing is so amazing, so crazy, something that I never thought was going to happen, something that I'm just learning how to get used to. So the next step is gonna come from, I'm sure, the higher ups and I'm going to have some decisions to make. God willing this is what happens."

Steve Jones on criticism of his hosting: "I've never done what I do on this scale. And maybe I didn't realize the level of criticism that people go through when they're working at this level. It shocked me a little bit. It didn't particularly upset me, I suppose. It shocked me. Maybe I was naive coming into it."

Marcus Canty on performing with Pitbull and Ne-Yo: "It was bananas. Before the performance, I was kind of shaky at first. I was like, 'Man, performing [with] Ne-Yo and Pitbull. Live in front of millions of people.'...They just told me, 'Look man, just have fun out there, be yourself and just bring a lot of energy...Bring all the energy you've got.'"

Drew Ryniewicz on singing with Justin Bieber: "To meet Justin Bieber, to sing with Justin Bieber, to hug Justin Bieber is not real. I don't even know how anyone can believe he's real. He's like Santa Claus."

Brian "Astro" Bradley on what he learned during 'The X Factor": "Learning how to deal with criticism...I've always had 'haters' but they would never come at me in hundreds of thousands of comments...Now it's more intense, so I'm learning how to deal with it, be more calm and just mellow about a lot of things."

Photo/Video credit: FOX