Three final acts duked it out one last time Thursday night, vying to be named X Factor champ for Season 3 and to snag a $1 million recording contract with Sony Music Entertainment.
Who would be crowned the winner?
Would it be ...
Alex & Sierra — Alex Kinsey and Sierra Deaton, 22, students at the University of Central Florida who fell for each other and realized they could make beautiful music together in more ways than one. Mentored by Simon Cowell, they've been frontrunners all season long. "They're made for each other, these two," said Simon.
Jeff Gutt, 37, from Detroit. Jeff has been the raspy rocker of the show all season, and we've all gotten to know his young son, Talon. "You're the best daddy ever!" said Talon to dad on the finale. Awww. Gutt appeared on X Factor in Season 2 (2012) and earned raves for his heartfelt rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, but he didn't make it to the finals. He's been mentored by Kelly Rowland this season. "I really need this," he said. "My son wants to be a doctor!"
Carlito Olivero, 24, from Chicago. Carlito, who works in a coffee shop, is a Latino pop singer who has been mentored by Mexican singing star Paulina Rubio. Of Puerto Rican and Mexican descent, Carlito was a member of boy band Menudo from 2007 to 2009.
After performances from Lea Michele and Mary J. Blige, the third place act was announced by X Factor host Mario Lopez.
Carlito was sent home. "I'm blessed, bro. I'm happy," said the upbeat singer. "I'm in third place, I cannot be mad!"
After showing some early bad audition tapes to fill/kill time, Leona Lewis sang, Pitbull performed It's Going Down (without Kesha) and One Direction performed.
And then it was time.
The new winner is ...
Alex & Sierra!
"I'm speechless," said a shaking Alex. "Thanks for not making fun of my weird faces all the time," said Sierra.
Jeff promised he wouldn't "give up" and said he planned to tour and make more music. And Simon gave a long thank you to everyone involved with the show, making it sound like it just might not come back for another season.