The winner of American Idol 2013 is…Candice Glover!
Beating out 22-year-old Kree Harrison for season 12's title, the 23-year-old from St. Helena's Island, S.C. took home a contract with 19 Recordings and a brand new Ford Escape car.
For Glover, who tried out for American Idol in seasons 9 and 11, the third time proved to be the ultimate charm.
Singing in her church since she was 4-years-old, the self-described "perfectionist" made it to Hollywood during her first two Idol tryouts but failed to advance in later rounds. That all changed during season 12, where she won over the judges week after week, eventually advancing to the top two.
During last night's final performances, Glover got a standing ovation for her rendition of Ben E. King's "I Who Have Nothing," with Nicki Minaj calling her a "superstar."
Her new single will be "I Am Beautiful," which she helped co-write and debuted at the May 15 show.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Glover talked about her journey to get to the final two, noting that she doesn't reflect negatively on her past failed Idol tryouts.
"I think everything happens for a reason," she said. "And I don't think I would've made it as far [in past seasons] as I did this season because I didn't know who I was at all and I was just auditioning because I was a 19-year-old girl who happened to know how to sing."
She added, "This year, I am more of an artist and I do know myself a little bit better so I don't think I would have done as well."
Despite the judges' positive comments after her final performances on Wednesday, Glover still wasn't sure if she had sealed the deal.
"I honestly don't know!" she told reporters. "I have literally no idea."
Wiping away tears as Ryan Seacrest announced that she was the winner on the Thursday night results show, Harrison struggled to comprehend the news.
"I can't even," she said. "Oh my God."
Her album is available for pre-order on iTunes tonight.
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