X Factor winner Melanie Amaro back in town for gala

Melanie Amaro is the guest performer for the 18th Annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball Saturday night, but in her life, all wishes have already come true. The local singer, raised in Sunrise and born in the British Virgin Islands, won the first season of The X Factor — and an incredible prize, a $5 million recording contract.

In a twist, Amaro, 20, was actually cast off the televised Fox competition, only to have head judge Simon Cowell change his mind and travel to her South Florida home and invite her back. One song likely on the playlist for the evening is her debut single, Don’t Fail Me Now, off her soon-to-be released album on Epic Records.

“People tell me it’s a good song to run to,” she said of the upbeat tune. Amaro, looking slim and sleek in the song’s video, knows about exercise more and more these days. “I’m trying to be healthier, going to the gym, and just eating right — having an apple instead of a bag of chips.” When asked how she got up the nerve to enter such a large stage, Amaro credits her family. “I’ve never had a single singing lesson; it’s literally my God-given talent,’’ said the current L.A. resident, who adds that her boyfriend — fellow singer and X Factor finalist Trace Kennedy — is also in her cheering section. “They’ve supported me every step of the way, telling me, ‘Just sing the way you do in your bedroom.’ ”

Tickets/info: www.makeawishball.com, 954-967-9474, ext. 318


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