After months of auditioning and rehearsing and performing live, it all came down to tonight on American Idol.
Kree Harrison and Candice Glover sang their little hearts out Wednesday, each one tasked with three songs to help folks decide which finalist most deserved to become the 12th American Idol—and first female Idol in six seasons!
So, was it country girl Kree, with the clear-as-a-bell tone? Or Candice, who has a range that can't be believed?
After nearly two hours of special guests, performances by judges past (Jennifer Lopez) and present (all four) and the return of the top 10 guys (hats off to the Jersey Boys medley, with an assist from Frankie Valli himself) and all 10 girls, Ryan Seacrest revealed the winner.
Also, for the last time, he revealed it in front of a judges' table that included Randy Jackson, who is leaving the show after 12 seasons.
And that winner, based on millions of votes, turned out to be Candice Glover!
The 23-year-old from South Carolina immediately teared up as Kree gave her a big hug and then the rest of her fellow finalists swarmed her for a group hug. (By the way, her album is already available to preorder on iTunes, featuring her brand-new single, "I Am Beautiful.")
The night's entertainment also included this year's top five singing duets, always a highlight: Janelle Arthur jammed with The Band Perry, Amber Holcomb was joined by Emeli Sandé on "Next to Me," Angie Miller got to sing "Titanium" with Adam Lambert and "Who You Are" with Jessie J, Jennifer Hudson belted out "Inseparable" with Candice and Kree got to sing with the house band—Keith and Randy, featuring Travis Barker on drums.
And...wait for it...none other than Aretha Franklin showed up to sing "Natural Woman" and "Respect" with all five. (It's good to have an all-woman top five, eh?)
Then, moments before the winner was announced, Kree and Candice teamed up for "One Less Bell to Answer"—sort of a perfect capper for this old-timey, ballad-heavy, big-voiced season.
So that does it for this year of American Idol! Congrats to Candice!
Do you think the best woman won? Sound off in the comments!