The X Factor has a new champion.
On Thursday night, 37-year-old Tate Stevens was declared the winner of The X Factor‘s second season, beating 13-year-old Carly Rose Sonenclar (who plenty pinned as their favorite) and girl group Fifth Harmony.
The X Factor pulled off a holiday-themed two-hour finale that brought in a combined 35 million votes for the various performers. In the end, America opted for country crooner Tate Stevens, who has now bagged an eye-watering $5 million recording contract.
After Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez had announced Stevens as the latest X Factor champ, the winner told the hosts:
“First and foremost I have to thank the man upstairs for taking care of me. To my family all the county music fans, God bless you. Thank you so much for the votes. This is the best day of my life!”
Stevens’ coach LA Reid was on hand to congratulate his contestant, enthusing to the singer:
“Congratulations to you. You deserve this. I’m proud to work with you. I think you represent The X Factor really well, on behalf of myself and The X Factor judges, congratulations!”
The X Factor‘s humungous finale was a mix of group and solo performances interspersed with special guest appearances from One Direction and rapper Pitbull.
Songs performed by the three finalists included the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” (which opened the show); a number of seasonal ditties such as “Please Come Home For Christmas,” “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” and “All I Want For Christmas Is You”; and a duet between Sonenclar and Stevens who sang Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb.”
One Direction turned up to perform their new hit “Kiss You,” which they sang while perched atop a huge pair of red lips. Pitbull, meanwhile, performed his single “Don’t Stop The Party.”
You can watch the announcement of the winner in the video below along with Tate Stevens’ season-closing song. Did you vote for any of the three finalists in The X Factor‘s season finale? Let us know who in the comments!