IT WAS a night of joy and tears for soul singer Candice Glover as she finally scooped the American Idol crown.
The 23-year-old won the Fox TV singing competition after auditioning three times and making it to the finals this year. She looked stunned when Idol host Ryan Seacrest announced she had beaten country singer Kree Harrison (22).
"Three times," exclaimed a weepy Glover.
After her crowning, an emotional Glover sobbed her way through her new single I Am Beautiful.
Her win marks the first time a female and a non-white singer has won the competition.
Last night also served as a farewell for Randy Jackson, the show's last remaining original judge who announced last week that he is leaving Idol to focus on his record label.
Oscar-winning former Idol finalist Jennifer Hudson returned to duet with Glover on Natalie Cole's Inseparable.
Psy, Frankie Valli, Emeli Sande, Jessie J, Aretha Franklin and former Idol judge Jennifer Lopez as well as Idol judges Keith Urban and Mariah Carey – along with Jackson on bass – also performed.