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Melanie Amaro became the 17th contestant moving on the “Live Shows” on The X Factor Tuesday night, as Simon Cowell changed the course of the competition by booting off, then bringing back, the vocally endowed high school senior.
“I feel it in my gut I’ve made a mistake with someone,” a somber-looking Cowell said just one hour after having told Amaro that he had to make a hard decision and let her go. “I’ve made a big mistake.”
Amaro, 18, earned a standing ovation during her first audition when she performed Beyonce’s “Listen.” Cowell told her back then that when bringing The X Factor to America, he hoped “to find someone” like her.
“The other judges knew who I put through and who I didn’t put through,” Cowell said. “They were all on the phone immediately going, ‘What were you thinking?’”
Confessing that he had to “right a wrong,” the music executive, known for his tough love, no non-sense judging ways, headed to Sunrise, Fla., to give Amaro the good news she has desperately hoped for the day before.
“I want to personally apologize to you and your family for the mistake I made,” Cowell told Amaro amongst her shocked family members. “You were so good. This comes from me and the other judges.”
Amaro was speechless as her family embraced one another, crying tears of joy.
“We’re going to ask you to come back and enter the competition,” Cowell added. “We want you… on the live shows.”
In the midst of screams, gasps and smiles, a man who appeared to be one of Amaro’s family members was happy to know that Cowell had some compassion.
“See, he has a heart, baby!” he said, smiling. “He’s a true man.”
Looking relieved and guilt free, Cowell promised Amaro that he will not “let her down this time.”
"I would have never forgiven myself if I hadn’t done this,” Cowell said. “She deserved a shot and I got this so wrong.”
With Amaro back, the final 17 have been chosen and will sing live next week in Los Angeles.
Moving forward, each judge will have a group consisting of four people – except Cowell, who has an additional contestant.
Cowell’s team includes: Simone Battle, Drew Ryniewicz, Tiah Tolliver, Rachel Crow and Amaro; Paula's team includes The Brewer Boys, Lakoda Rayne, Intensity and The Stereo Hogzz; Nicole Scherzinger's team consists of Josh Krajcik, Dexter Haywood, Leroy Bell, and Stacy Francis; L.A. Reid's group is Brian Bradley, Phillip Lomax, Chris Rene and Marcus Canty.