Candice Glover PHOTOS from 'American Idol' Season 12 Finale, Crowned New Winner
Candice Glover, a rural South Carolina native, was named the winner of American Idol's season 12 on Thursday, becoming the first female singer to win the television singing competition since 2007.
The 23-year-old defeated country singer Kree Harrison in popular votes and was crowned the winner of the FOX network show after host Ryan Seacrest proclaimed, "You are officially our American idol." The crowd of more than 7,000 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles cheered at the announcement.
Glover had tears streaming down her face after hearing her name and at a loss for words she merely said, "Oh, my God. Three years." She earned a ticket to Hollywood on season 9 and season 11 of the show but it was not until this year that she made it to the top 10.
"Three years, persistence, determination and a lot of talent. You deserve it," said Seacrest after telling Glover she had just won.
Thursday's finale also included a slew of performances by Psy, Jennifer Lopez with Pitbull, Jennifer Hudson, and AI judges Keith Urban and Mariah Carey.
Glover, the first women to be crowded on AI since Jordin Sparks six years ago, won a record deal that has helped launch the careers of many past AI inners, such as season 1 victor Kelly Clarkson. On Friday, Glover took to Twitter to talk about her win.
"I can't thank you guys enough for this! I feel amazing!" she tweeted. "THANK YOU SO MUCH! This experience has changed my life."
In one of her last performances before the finale, Glover sang a rendition of Emeli Sande's Next to Me. Glover's performance moved all the judges and prompted Nicki Minaj to tell the contestant that she is the "most confident woman on that stage every single night."