Melanie Amaro took the inaugural 'X Factor US' crown last night (December 22, 2011), beating out rocker Josh Krajcik into second place with crooning Chris Rene in third place. Amaro subsequently walks away with the $5 million recording contract - but where does that leave the 19 year-old singer who during the competition was compared to the likes of Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey?

Although this is the first season of 'The X Factor USA,' its predecessor American Idol has seen a varying degree of success for its winners and other alumni. The show's very first winner Kelly Clarkson, back in 2002, has of course gone on to huge pop fame, clocking three platinum selling albums, two of which were US Album number ones. Her fifth album 'Stronger' reached number two in the US this year. 2005 winner Carrie Underwood, meanwhile, has gone on to storm the world of country music, having taken five Country Music Association Awards and 11 from the Academy Of Country Music Awards, among many others, in her career.

It's not been all good for past winners though, Taylor Hicks enjoyed initial success in 2006 with his self-titled release going platinum, only for follow up, 2009's 'The Distance', to limp to 58 on the US Charts with sales of little more than 50,000. KRIS ALLEN, winner in 2009, has also received muted success, his debut missing the US top 10 and selling only 80,000 copies. However, at the moment the judges - and the public - certainly seem to think Amaro has what it takes for a successful career.