A persistent, talented, won’t take no for an answer 23-year old R&B singer from St. Helena Island, S.C ., won “American Idol” on last Thursday, becoming the first female singer to when the singing competition since 2007.
The third time was definitely the charm for Glover. She had previously auditioned in Season 9 and 11 and even made it to the Hollywood rounds, where she was then eliminated. She came back again in Season 12 and this time, made it to the very end.
She was at a lost for words when crowned champion over her competitor Kree Harrison, a 22-year old bluesy country singer from Woodville, TX now residing in Nashville, TN.
“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 cheered. With tears streaming down her face after hearing her name, Glover seemed lost for words. “Oh, my God,” she said. “Three years.”
The road during Season 12 was a grueling testimony of hard work really pays off. Glover was a standout of many standouts doing the competition. For the first time in the history of American Idol the final five contestants were female. The first African American winner was Fantasia (Season Three) in 2003 and last female winner was Jordin Sparks, also African American (Season Six) in 2007. The previous five winners — Phillip Phillips, Scotty McCreery, Lee DeWyze, Kris Allen and David Cook — were all Caucasian guitar players, known to “Idol” fans as WGWGs, or white guys with guitars.
Just Couldn’t Stay Away
“I always knew for some reason that it would happen if I kept going,” she told reporters backstage after the finale. “At some point I said, ‘American Idol obviously doesn’t want me, so why would I go back?’ But I found myself on the website, looking at auditions again and being determined. I just couldn’t stay away.”
A Learning Experience
“I think I definitely learned how to be confident and how to be myself and be OK with who I am, because in previous seasons, I was doing what I thought that America wanted or what the judges or whoever wanted. This year I just did whatever I wanted to do, hence why I would do a rapper’s song on the show or why I would do The Cure when nobody expected me to. In previous seasons, I wouldn’t have done any of that because I wasn’t comfortable in who I was, but I think that’s the difference between now and the other seasons.
Standing Performances and Ovations
Turning in numerous stellar performances week after week she captured the hearts of the American voting audience. The judges loved her, acknowledging her undeniable talent with raving reviews and standing ovations. Judge Randy Jackson claimed that one of her performances as “one of the greatest in the 12 years of American Idol.”
The week she chose to sing Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” and Mariah Carey’s and Whitney Houston’s duet “When You Believe” (a brave move as both songs are from former and current Idol judges.) Supportive judge Mariah Carey said “I don’t want to break down and cry [but] you did her justice,” She was referring to the late Houston. “Again?” Randy sarcastically asked, referring to last week’s knockout performance. He went on to say she had “one of the best voices of that night.”
Her winning moment - Still trying to process the whole thing. Candice says “I don’t even know my name. I don’t know what’s happening. It feels amazing though. I finally got to this point after working for so long… I don’t remember [Ryan Seacrest] saying my name. I do remember confetti getting in my mouth while I was singing and stuff. I wanted to laugh, but I was crying.”
Performing with Jennifer Hudson - “I was so nervous backstage. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, you cannot suck. This is Jennifer Hudson. Don’t mess up, practice, get it together.’ I’m just so glad I got the chance to even do that with her because I look up to her.”
Plans after doing winner’s interviews – “I’m going to try to sleep as much as I can, and probably eat some chicken or something.”
Her favorite song she performed on the show - “I think it’s pretty obvious that ‘Lovesong’ is my favorite one, only because I was so connected with the lyrics. I knew what it felt like. And then for Keith Urban to start getting on his knees and bowing, Randy being here for 12 years and saying it was one of the best of his whole 12-year run on the show, it felt great. I was just in tears because I didn’t expect the reception that I got would be so big. And Mariah threw glitter at me. It had to be the best moment.”
Her dream duet partner – “Jazmine Sullivan is my favorite singer. And Whitney Houston, rest in peace. I would have loved to do a song with her because she’s amazing and I looked up to her… But also Aretha Franklin, with whom she and the final five sang background for via a live video and audio feed [in the finale], I was thinking ‘Oh my gosh, she’s so amazing.’ The whole time being on stage. A lot of dreams came true for me tonight… I couldn’t even understand that Aretha knew my name or who I was.”
Rapper Drake – “Isn’t that crazy that … he follows me on Twitter? Like, what’s happening? He knows that I’m in the Top 2 because a lot of people have been tweeting him and he re-tweeted it and said that he was proud of me.”
Randy Jackson‘s departure “I got his final critique ever last night because I went last. I spoke to him and told him that I’m so glad that I got a chance to experience this with him. He said that he loves the fact that he could be here and experience this with me because he knows how my journey has been and how long I’ve been wanting this, so I love Randy.”
Nicki Minaj – “Nicki was like, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re a superstar. Can I please hug you?’ She was like ‘Don’t be a diva.’ Well, she was joking… She always tells me to have fun and be myself. So I really love Nicki and I hope I can collaborate with her to be honest.”
Runner-up Kree Harrison - “We tell each other that we love each other probably 90,000 times a day, but it really meant a lot for her to hug me and say, ‘I love you and I’m so happy for you.’… We’re super-supportive of each other, and I know no matter what that I’m going to buy Kree’s album. I think the whole world will.
The upcoming Idol tour – She’s definitely looking forward to the tour because she won’t have to worry about getting eliminated the following day or going home or worrying about votes. “I’m definitely going to miss the show, but I think that’s the one thing I won’t miss: being stressed out every Thursday. I don’t know what I’m going to perform on the tour yet, but I know it’s going to be good, so I hope y’all come.”
Her first single – “I Am Beautiful” “When I first heard the song, I was actually in tears because I connect with the song so much. It’s not only about a girl that’s been done wrong by her ex-boyfriend, but it’s also about… being told that you’re not good enough, you’re not as pretty as you should be. Just people saying horrible things to you. And I think that song is a message to everybody that ever said that to me, as well as all of these girls that are growing up and feeling that they’re not beautiful…
According to Nielsen Co. figures, Glover’s victory over Harrison was watched by 14.3 million viewers. That’s a 33 percent drop from the year before, when 21.5 million viewers saw Phillip Phillips claim the “Idol” crown. That represented the show’s previous record low finale audience.