The season 12 American Idol is...

2013-05-17 07:47
 
American Idol
Los Angeles - The third time's the charm for Candice Glover on American Idol.

The booming 23-year-old RnB vocalist won the Fox singing competition after auditioning a trio of times and making it to the finals this year. Glover looked stunned when Idol host Ryan Seacrest announced she bested soulful 22-year-old country singer Kree Harrison.

"Three times," exclaimed a weepy Glover under a wave of confetti.

After her crowning, an emotional Glover sobbed her way through her new single I Am Beautiful.

White guys with guitars

Glover's win marks the first time a female and a non-white singer has won the competition since Jordin Sparks dominated the sixth season in 2007. The previous five winners — Phillip Phillips, Scotty McCreery, Lee DeWyze, Kris Allen and David Cook — were all young Caucasian guitar players, known to Idol fans as white guys with guitars.

The lack of a female champion for the past five years was mocked in a finale bit featuring the female finalists, in cahoots with Sparks, jokingly sabotaging this season's five male contestants.

"The good news is Idol leftovers have been doing really well on The Voice," Sparks teased.

Besides the coronation of Glover, Thursday's finale also served as a farewell for Randy Jackson, the show's last remaining original judge who announced last week that he's leaving Idol to focus on his record label and other business opportunities. 

Dead heat

Jackson served as a judge on all 12 seasons of Idol. He first appeared on the panel alongside Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul when the competition debuted in 2002, becoming famous for his easygoing "yo, dawg" rapport with contestants.

"I love everybody that walked on this show," Jackson said. He added, "Hopefully, I touched their lives a little bit. They certainly touched mine."

Grammy- and Oscar-winning former Idol finalist Jennifer Hudson returned for Thursday's finale to duet with Glover on Natalie Cole's Inseparable.

Hudson was among the guest stars who helped fill out the two-hour finale show, including Psy, Frankie Valli, Emeli Sande, Jessie J, Aretha Franklin and former Idol judge Jennifer Lopez. Current Idol judges Keith Urban and Mariah Carey — along with Jackson on bass — also performed.

Jackson previously declared on Wednesday's three-song showdown a dead heat between Harrison and Glover, who have both once been among the show's low vote-getters during the finals.

Last year's finale between Phillips and budding pop diva Jessica Sanchez brought in 132 million votes. The vote totals for Thursday's finale weren't shared with viewers.

* The two-part American Idol finale was aired live in South Africa on M-Net on Thursday and Friday at 02:00. The episodes will be re-aired on Saturday and Sunday at 17:00.

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