MAMARONECK, N.Y. – Mamaroneck 13-year-old Carly Rose Sonenclar’s eight-week run on “X Factor” came to a disappointing end on Thursday night.
Sonenclar finished in second place, losing out on a $5 million recording contract.
Tate Stevens, a country singer from Belton, Mo., won the competition and the recording contract, based on 35 million phone and online votes.
Three finalists, Sonenclar, Stevens and girl group Fifth Harmony, performed on Wednesday night’s episode and entered into Thursday night’s finale. Fifth Harmony were eliminated in the first round of voting, after all three performed Christmas-themed songs, including a rousing rendition of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Sonenclar.
After her performance, Sonenclar received considerable praise from the judges for her performance throughout the competition, and also was treated to a special video message from her family, friends, piano teacher and classmates.
“I can’t really explain how that felt” said Sonenclar of the widespread support she’s received. “Seeing all my friends and my family with the judges right here, like that was so crazy for me, but it’s just awesome to get that kind of support."
Following Fifth Harmony’s elimination and before the final winner announcement, Sonenclar and Stevens performed an emotional duet of Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb” together, during which Sonenclar’s mentor and judge Britney Spears struggled to hold back tears.
Ultimately, the final announcement was made by co-hosts Mario Lopez and Khloé Kardashian Odom before a wild crowd and two very nervous contestants. Spears consoled a visibly disappointed Sonenclar afterwards, who nonetheless reacted to Stevens’ win with poise and grace, congratulating him and his mentor, record executive L.A. Reid. Stevens described the win as “the best day of my life.”
Lopez congratulated Sonenclar and Spears after Stevens’ victory, calling her “such a little star” and noting that “this is not gonna be the last we’ve heard of you."
According to judge Simon Cowell, “thirteen years old, this girl has got such a huge career ahead of her, and we’re really lucky to have found her for this show.”