About Her: Whether she was belting outWhitney Houstonballads or old-school Michael Jackson pop, this 19-year-old college student arguably had the most powerful voice in the competition. During her initial auditions, with her close-knit family watching from the sidelines, Melanie Amaro managed to impress even the ever-cranky Cowell. "When I was asked why we were bringing this show to America," Cowell proclaimed, "it was because I hoped that we would find someone like you." She will also be remembered for having been eliminated, and then asked back (when Cowell realized he'd made a mistake).
Why She Won: It looks like bringing back Melanie was the smartest move Simon ever made! After weeks of flawless performances, the spirited girl with the big voice finally took home the grand prize during the finale on Dec. 22."Thank you so much!" she said. "I don't know what to say. Thank you. God is good."