The first-season "X Factor USA" finale aired Thursday night, and I'm just going to assume by now that you all know that Melanie Amaro won. And after the big reveal, before the confetti could even be swept away, Melanie and several of her other castmates were swept off to the red carpet, where I was delighted to get a little facetime with them. Highlights included Drew gushing over her Bieber encounter, Marcus singing a bit of "Trapped In The Closet," Astro talking about his Fiddy duet (and dodging questions about a rumored Roc Nation deal), Chris showing off his tattoos, Josh talking about the burrito named after him, Paula's comparing the size of Simon's head to the Republic of China, and Simon announcing his immediate plans to get "sloshed" at the afterparty.
So, if you're going through "X Factor" withdrawals now that the season is over, get ready for a whopping 45-plus minutes of finale red-carpet footage, starring not just Melanie but also, in order: Simon Cowell (seated on a throne, of course), Josh Krajcik, Chris Rene, Paula Abdul, Drew Ryniewicz, Astro, Marcus Canty, Steve Jones, and Nicole Scherzinger. That ought to tide you over till "The X Factor" Season 2. (Or, hey, at least until "American Idol" starts January 18.)
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- Simon Cowell