LOS ANGELES — Candice Glover was crowned the new “American Idol” on Thursday after defeating country singer Kree Harrison.
The R&B vocalist from St. Helena Island, S.C., looked stunned when Idol host Ryan Seacrest announced she bested soulful 22-year-old country singer Harrison from Woodville, Texas.
The vote count was not announced.
A weepy Glover performed the new single “I Am Beautiful” after winning the 12th edition of the Fox singing competition. Glover auditioned for the show three times before making it as a finalist this season.
Thursday’s finale also served as a farewell for Randy Jackson. The show’s lone remaining original judge announced last week that he’s leaving Idol to focus on other business opportunities.
“I love everybody that walked on this show,” said Jackson.
“Hopefully, I touched their lives a little bit. They certainly touched mine.”
The other judges are hip-hop diva Nicki Minaj, pop royalty Mariah Carey, and country star Keith Urban.
Former Idol finalist Jennifer Hudson returned to the show for Thursday’s finale to duet with Glover on Natalie Cole’s “Inseparable.”
Other guest stars included Psy, Frankie Valli, Emeli Sande, Jessie J, and Aretha Franklin.