"American Idol" found its Candy Girl, as Candice Glover was crowned the season 12 "American Idol" winner on Thursday's (May 16) "Idol" season finale.
"I can't even, oh my God," an emotional Glover said when the results were read. "Three years!" she said, referring to her initial "Idol" tryout in season nine.
The 23-year-old from St. Helena Island, South Carolina, became "Idol's" first female winner since Jordin Sparks in 2007. After being joined onstage by the rest of the season 10 finalists, a teary-eyed Glover delivered her new single "I Am Beautiful," singing the words "he says I am beautiful" with her head pointed to the sky as confetti rained down on the stage and on the audience. Glover's family, seated in the front row, celebrated her victory.
Kree Harrison, the 22-year-old country-soul singer from Woodville, Texas, was the evening's runner up. A final vote tally was not given, nor was a percentage breakdown of the votes.
The results came at the end of a performance-packed two hour show. Just prior to the announcement of the winner, Glover and Harrison teamed up for a duet of The 5th Dimension's "One Less Bell to Answer," which ended with the two embracing each other at center stage.
The show featured a number of collaborations, with the finalists joined by superstars and ex-"Idol" contestants. Glover and Jennifer Hudson teamed up on Natalie Cole's "Inseparable," and the pair scaled vocal skyscrapers together during the showstopping performance. Angie Miller sang with both Jessie J (the two did "Domino") and Adam Lambert (on "Titanium"), while The Band Perry and Janelle Arthur teamed up for a head whipping, boot stomping performance of "Done." Amber Holcomb duetted with Emeli Sandé on Sande's "Next to Me," while Frankie Valli joined the male finalists for a medley of his hits. In the night's oddest performance, Aretha Franklin joined the female finalists via satellite for a medley of the Queen of Soul's hits, including "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," "I Never Loved a Man," "Respect" and "Think."
The judges also took their turn onstage, in a pair of performances that were reportedly pre-taped. Mariah Carey did a run through of her hits, including heavily abbreviated versions of "Vision of Love," "Make it Happen," "My All," "Hero," "We Belong Together," and her latest hit, "#Beautiful." (Miguel, her "#Beautiful" partner, was nowhere to be seen.) Keith Urban, meanwhile, brought out "Little Bit of Everything." Later, Urban hit the stage live and performed "Where the Blacktop Ends" with Kree Harrison, Randy Jackson and Travis Barker.
Ex-judges even got their turn, as Jennifer Lopez returned to the stage to perform "Live It Up" alongside Pitbull.
A cheeky package aired coloring in the conspiracy theory about the guys all being eliminated from the show in succession. The punchline: The girls sabotaged the guys, and Jordin Sparks was behind the plot the entire time. At the end of the pre-taped video, Sparks lobbed a shot at one of "Idol's" competitors: "The good news," she told the guys, "is that 'Idol' leftovers have been doing really well on 'The Voice.'" Burn!
Later, a farewell package for Randy Jackson said goodbye to the Dawg.
The Top 10 opened the show performing The Wanted's "Glad You Came." Meanwhile, in the night's only non-"Idol" related performance, Psy performed his "Gangnam Style" follow-up "Gentlemen."
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