Third time's the charm for American Idol's Season 12 champ.
Candice Glover's victory on the reality singing competition show Thursday night comes after two major setbacks. 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.
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"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."
Check out Candice's other thoughts on:
Her winning moment "I'm still trying to process the whole thing. Like, 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."
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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, the whole time [in the finale], Kree and me were making stinkfaces, like, '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 retweeted 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."
What she's learned "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.
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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 "I'm definitely looking forward to the tour because I don'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... And like Ryan said, it was a little bit more pop than I was used to, but I definitely did what I could to put myself into there at the same time."
Did Candice deserve to win? Will you buy her single?