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      South Carolina's Candice Glover crowned American Idol

      COLUMBIA (WACH/AP) -- South Carolina's own Candice Glover was crowned the new "American Idol" on Thursday after defeating country singer Kree Harrison.

      The booming 23-year-old R&B vocalist from St. Helena Island looked stunned when "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest announced she bested soulful 22-year-old country singer Harrison from Woodville, Texas . The vote count was not announced.

      "I actually have some friends that decided not to come back, but I always knew for some reason that it would happen if I kept going," said Glover backstage Thursday after her coronation.

      Glover auditioned for the show three times before making it as a finalist this season.

      A weepy Glover performed the new single "I Am Beautiful" after winning the 12th edition of the Fox singing competition. Glover said that song is the only one she's recorded so far, but an album is in the works.

      "That's the only one I have right now, but I know that I'm going to get to work really fast on it," Glover said.

      Friends, family and fans of Glover gathered in Columbia for WACH Fox's American Idol Finale viewing party.

      The room erupted with joy as she was announced as the winner.

      "We are just overjoyed...I'm just lost for words right now," said Glover's cousin Virginia Camp. "Candice has always wanted this. She has done this three times and she has overcome. I have a 13-year-old daughter right now that knows the sky is the limit for her. She can do anything."

      Thursday's finale also served as a farewell for Randy Jackson. The show's lone remaining original judge announced last week that he's leaving "Idol" to focus on his record label and other business opportunities.

      IdolWACH 2013 Slideshow

      More photos from the WACH Fox American Idol Viewing Party