Finalist Carly Rose Sonenclar performs on Thursday's 'X Factor.'(Photo: Ray Mickshaw, Fox)
The red carpet was rolled out Thursday for X Factor's Season 2 grand finale.
Khloe Kardashian Odom and Mario Lopez greeted judges L.A. Reid, Demi
Lovato, Simon Cowell and Britney Spears, who cruised up in black cars as
though it were a movie premiere.
Britney, who looked like a deer
in headlights and had fiance Jason Trawick lurking behind her, told
Mario, "It's exciting, so exciting." (It should be no surprise that
Trawick was there. Despite some celeb buzz that the two might be having
relationship troubles, Spears told People today that "Jason has the ability to always make me feel protected and loved.")
tried to joke around with Simon, saying, "So sexy, the chest hair," as
she touched his V-neck area. Simon grinned, but didn't look thrilled.
Pitbull hopped out of a car. One Direction arrived. Both caused the faux red carpet crowd to squeal.
Tate Stevens, Carly Rose Sonenclar and girl group Fifth Harmony arrived
last, hitting the red carpet singing The Beatles song All You Need is Love.
then the two-hour finale unfolded, with silly banter, clips of the
judges (Simon as the Grinch, Britney's many faces), heart-tugging
messages from families and friends, clothing changes for the hosts and
star performances, along with the all-important results.
Here's how it went:
Tate took the stage to sing Please Come Home For Christmas
as dancers wiggled around him, sporting pink and white furry short dresses, caps and handwarmers.
L.A., Tate's mentor, said, "I think we all agree you've done an
amazingly consistent job. Good luck to you. I really hope that you can
take this thing home." Said Tate: "I can't put into words what winning
this would do."
Fifth Harmony, in festive red and white outfits, performed Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). "My fingers are very, very crossed for you tonight," said their mentor, Simon.
Carly Rose, with breakdancing toy soldiers behind her, sang a jaunty version of All I Want For Christmas is You. Britney said she was "proud" of Carly. Simon said that Carly, 13, has "a huge career ahead of her."
before 9 p.m. ET, Khloe changed from her short lacy green dress to a
skin-tight (rubber?) black dress and the third-place winner was
announced. ... Fifth Harmony! Bye-bye, teen girl group.
then checked in with some of the most "memorable contestants" backstage.
Vino Alan said having the finale come down to Carly and Tate is "like
my sister vs. my brother." Diamond White said she just "loves" Carly "so
And then one of the Emblem3 surfer dudes said, "I think we should get all the contestants and rent a cabin ...and snowboard!"
"Ohhhkkkay," said Khloe.
Pitbull then rocked the house with Don't Stop the Party.
One Direction, standing on stairs behind giant red lips, sang Kiss You.
And as the clock ticked toward the final moments, Carly and Tate shared the stage for a duet of Miley Cyrus' The Climb. At the end, they high-fived each other and shared a hug.
before the big announcement, Khloe changed into a sparkly pink and gold
dress. Mario announced more than 35 million votes were cast.
Tate and L.A. took the stage, as did Carly and Britney.
Down to the final two. "This is it," said Mario. "Good luck to the both of you."
And the winner of the $5 million recording contract is ... Tate Stevens!
Carly, who looked sad, graciously gave Tate a hug.
and foremost, I gotta thank the man upstairs for taking care of me,"
said Stevens, 37, looking up. "My family, all the country music fans --
God bless you. Thank you so very much for all the votes. This is the
best day of my life."