Country singer Tate Stevens lassos 'X Factor' crown

Country singer Tate Stevens lassos 'X Factor' crown
Country singer Tate Stevens / Photo courtesy of FOX
by: Vince Mirenzi

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After an astonishing 45 million votes, country singer Tate Stevens took home the $5 million prize on “The X Factor” finale Thursday night.

The 37-year-old asphalt layer from Belton, Mo., who was mentored by L.A. Reid, beat out Britney Spears’ remaining contestant, 13-year-old Carly Rose Sonenclar, to take home the Season 2 crown. 

"First and foremost, I've got to thank the man upstairs for taking care of me, and also my family, all the music fans, and thank you so very much for all the votes. This is the best day of my life!" said Stevens, after host Mario Lopez delivered the good news.

L.A. Reid, who announced earlier this month he won’t be returning to the singing competition, had some words of encouragement for the newly-crowned winner.

"Never give up on your dreams. Anything can happen,” he said.

Earlier in the evening, Simon Cowell’s girl group, Fifth Harmony, was eliminated in third place.

Since the beginning of this season’s live shows, it had always been about Stevens and Sonenclar, with the country star finishing first in voting on three occasions, and the teenage sensation nabbing it the other two times.

Stevens’ “X Factor” journey was an unexpected one as not only was he one of this season’s older contestants, but he was also a country singer, a genre that can struggle to strike a chord with a pop audience.

But the confident country singer established himself as a frontrunner early on, after finishing first place in voting following the opening week of live shows.

Missed the “X Factor” finale? You can watch it now on