It's over. On Thursday night, Melanie Amaro, known for unleashing generic power ballads, was crowned The X Factor winner, bringing the wildly hyped new singing competition's first season to an end. Since early 2010, when Simon Cowell announced he would be leaving American Idol to launch his own show (later nabbing Paula Abdul to join him), the media has wondered peevishly if The X Factor would be a formidable challenger to the Idol juggernaut. Now that Amaro has claimed the winning prize, a $5 million recording contract, has the show proven itself a success? Or has it ultimately been a "disappointment"?

It's a pale Idol imitation: "By most measures," The X Factor was a "disappointment," says Andrew Payne at Starpulse. On the ratings front, last night's finale pulled in a fraction of Idol's May finale's audience. Having the judges mentor the contestants "sucked a lot of the air out of the show." Instead offering actual criticism, as Idol's judges do, the X Factor panel wasted our time accusing each other of wrecking their respective prodigies' careers. Yawn. The exception: Paula Abdul provided "lucid, informed commentary about every aspect of each contestant's performance," a welcome change from her notoriously loopy Idol ways. "Somebody must have gotten Paula's meds right."
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It was neither here nor there: "This season neither sucked nor ruled," says Emily Yoshisa at The Onion's A.V. Club. It had some exciting moments and intriguing controversies, but it ended "on a comfortably dull and predictable note." By the end, "I just wanted to pat the show on the back and shrug." All the "squawking" critics who predicted a spectacular failure must be disappointed.
"The X Factor"

Oh, come on, I had a good time: Sure "it was corny" and "tone-deaf" and "overdone," but "it hooked me," says David Holmes at New York. From the emotionally manipulative hometown visits in the finale to the "anti-chemistry" host Steve and the judges developed over the season, I thoroughly enjoyed the show, perhaps because, not in spite, of its foibles. "God help us all."
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