The 23-year-old South Carolina native is the first woman to win the FOX competition in five years. She’s also the third woman of color to steak the crown in the show’s twelve-year history.
While Candice has been a front-runner from the start of the season, her Idol road wasn’t all smooth sailing. The diva auditioned twice before, but was ousted in early rounds. When she heard Ryan Seacrest call her name, her first response was “Three years!”
Kree Harrison put up quite a fight, as did the rest of the first-ever, all-female Top five finalists. The contestants returned to take the stage one more time and to celebrate Candice’s victory together.
Amber Holcomb made a triumphant return when she sang “ Next To Me” with Emile Sande. Other standout performances came from Angie Miller, whose rendition of “Titanium” with Idol alum, Adam Lambert, was one of the best of the night. She also did a duet with British beauty, Jessie J, who invited her to the UK for a cameo at one of her shows.
The best moment of the night, besides the big reveal, was when Jennifer Hudson made her triumphant return to the Idol stage. She joined Candice for an amazing duet of “Inseperable,”and it’s truly inspiring. The divas go head to head on the big notes and prove that they’re both among the show’s best finds, ever.
Aretha Franklin performed a medley of hits via video, with the final five females singing back up for the Queen of Soul. Judge, Mariah Carey, also took the stage to revive hits like “My All”; “Vision of Love” and “ Hero.” She also sang her latest single, “Beautiful” sans Miguel. The diva dons a killer white dress and fuels rumors a world tour is in store with her top-notch showing.
While Keith Urban and Randy Jackson also hit the stage during the finale, the real showstopper came from past judge, Jennifer Lopez. Her high-energy single, “Live It Up” is another sure-fire hit and is the first offering from her upcoming tenth studio album. She and Pitbull delivered a dance-filled party that readied the crowd for the long-awaited results.
When Candice was finally crowned the winner, she sang her single, “I Am Beautiful” through tears of joy. After the show, she was still stunned from the good news. “I don’t even know my name. I don’t know what’s happening,” she said. “It feels amazing, though. I finally got to this point. I’ve been working for so long.”
Candice’s debut album, Music Speaks, is already available for pre-order and 19 Recordings is surely fast-tracking its completion for its July 16 release