After months of auditions, eliminations, colorful performances and judges’ feedback, American Idol has finally got its season 12 winner.
Candice Glover, a soul singer from South Carolina, was named the twelfths “American Idol”, becoming the first female singer to win the famous Â singing competition since 2007.
Glover, 23, eclipsed country singer Kree Harrison in the popular vote with her incredible voice in what judges deemed a close contest to take the title on season 12 of the Fox network show, reports Reuters.
“You are officially our American idol,” host Ryan Seacrest said as the crowd of more than 7,000 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
With tears streaming down her face after she was named as the winner, the woman simply lost for words. “Oh, my God,” she said. “Three years.”
Then the winner sang her brand new song, “I Am Beautiful,” which she debuted the night before. The performer struggled through tears and emotion to get through the song as confetti fell around her.
Glover’s vocals made the judges burst into tears over the course of Season 12. At one point, judge Mariah Carey glitter bombed the contestant.
Mariah Carey said, “It’s going to be very, very difficult for America” to decide a winner. Indeed, PEOPLE readers voted, giving R&B diva Candice only a slight edge over authentic country girl Kree.
The “American Idol” final show opened with group number featuring the Top 10 contestants singing The Wanted’s “Glad You Came” to an audience among which were noticed past “Idol” winners and contestants .
Janelle Arthur shared the “American Idol” stage with The Band Perry and the Top 5 “Idol” boys sang a medley with surprise guest Frankie Valli. Mariah Carey finally took to the stage to sing a medley of hits, including her current single “#Beautiful.”
The final performance of the “American Idol” was full of celebrity cameos. Emeli Sande joined fourth runner-up Amber Holcomb to sing her hit “Next To Me” and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson showed up to sing “Inseparable” with Candice Glover.
Angie Miller shared the stage of the singing contest to perform “Titanium” with Adam Lambert and then did a surprise duet with Jessie J. The singer then invited Miller to appear with her on tourÂ .
Thursday’s finale also was a send-off for Randy Jackson, the was the constant judge of the competition. He announced last week that he’s leaving “Idol” to focus on other business projects.
“I love all you fans. I love everybody that walked on this show,” Jackson said. “Hopefully, I touched their lives a little bit. They certainly touched mine,” he said.
Before the final concert, the winner of the 12 season recalled how she felt when she got knock backs from previous seasons:
“I went through the first two years and getting eliminated and coming back. [I’d be] telling my parents, ‘If I could just get to top 20, if I could just get to top 10, if I could just get my voice out there and get some voters and get a fanbase, then I’ll be fine. I don’t have to win.'”
“And then I came and I won. I can’t even tell you how I feel to say that. I don’t know. I’m losing it,” she added.
The singer later took to her Twitter after her win to tell her fans and followers: “This is insane #IAmBeautiful #SingleCoverArt you guys are all beautiful. Thank u :)”