America voted: It's Candice! Glover takes 'American Idol' crown; Kree Harrison places second

St. Helena woman won 'Idol' on her third try

loberle@islandpacket.comMay 16, 2013 

  • WATCH PARTIES THURSDAY
    • Highway 21 Drive-In: Doors open at 6 p.m. Located at 55 Parker Drive, Beaufort. Free.
    • The Preserve at Port Royal: Starts at 6 p.m. Located at 1 Preserve Ave W, Port Royal. Free, but concessions available for purchase. Shuttle available from parking lots at Port Royal Baptist Church, Royal Oaks Shopping Center, and the Port Royal Skate Park. Details: 843-525-9999
    • St. Helena Island Elementary School: Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Located at 861 Sea Island Pkwy, St Helena Island. Free.

When Candice Glover was announced as the next American Idol on Thursday night, her six younger siblings didn't hold back.

As soon as the word "Candice" left host Ryan Seacrest's mouth, they jumped from their seats -- chairs were overturned, screams filled the air and tears poured out from her family, who were at The Preserve in Port Royal for a watch party.

Her brother Jonathan's entire body shook uncontrollably in celebration.

"I almost knocked an old lady down by mistake," he said.

Her brother Carlos was lifted in the air by his friends.

"I went bonkers," he said. "I acted out a lot. I just cried."

Her sister Bethany cried as friends hugged her.

Back in Hollywood, Glover was even more emotional after finding out she had received more votes than fellow finalist Kree Harrison of Woodville, Texas.

"I can't even … oh my God, it's been three years," said Glover, who had auditioned for the show, now in its 12th season, twice before.

"It's been three years of persistence, determination and a lot of talent," Seacrest said to Glover.

After the announcement, the St. Helena Island native performed a tearful version of her first single, "I Am Beautiful."

In Beaufort, Lauren Furman-Boggs said she couldn't take the pressure of the last five minutes of the show. "I'm going to have to go the hospital," she exclaimed at a watch party held at the Highway 21 Drive In.

She erupted into cheers with hundreds of other viewers when Glover won.

"I don't even know what to say. I am ecstatic. I am elated. I am overjoyed," said the former member of Youthful Praiz choir, of which Glover, 23, was also a member.

"Yes, girl, you are beautiful," she shouted at the screen.

Although Glover's siblings didn't get to go to Hollywood to see the show live -- their mother, Carole, didn't want them to miss school -- they showed their support by wearing matching purple shirts with their sister's picture on the front. And they applauded loudly when Glover presented her grandmother, Albertha Middleton, with a Ford Fiesta early in the show.

Glover's siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins had arrived in a limousine to join about 200 people gathered at The Preserve in Port Royal for the finale watch party. Seated in lawn chairs and on blankets in front of an outdoor multi-story screen, the crowd cheered at every Glover appearance.

"All these people coming out is amazing," Glover's sister Bethany said.

In Beaufort, more than 250 cars crowded in front of the main screen at the Highway 21 Drive In watch party, although an 8:15 p.m. sunset made it difficult to see at the beginning.

That didn't dull viewers' enthusiasm, as they honked horns, yelled and tooted air horns as often and loudly as they could.

Dari Harris, 16, of Beaufort, came to the drive-in with her mother, Jackie, and said she has been inspired by Glover's story of perseverance.

"I'm excited to see a young black girl from this area do something like this," Dari Harris said.

When Glover auditioned for the show last June in Charlotte, judge Nicki Minaj said, "If you don't go to the last round of this competition, there's something wrong."

Judge Mariah Carey, who asked for a mix tape, told Glover, "I wish you already had something out that I could listen to you."

Now, Glover does, as her coronation song, "I Am Beautiful," will be released as a single.

All season long, negative comments from the judges were few and far between.

Judge Randy Jackson called her performance of The Cure's "Lovesong" one of the best in the show's 12-year history, and again said she had another one of the best "Idol" performance of all time when she sang Barbra Streisand's "Somewhere" in the Top 3.

After numerous performances, judge Randy Jackson said Glover was "in it to win it."

"It was perfect," he said of her Top 10 performance.

"We're going to hear more of that from you in this competition in the end, because I know you're going to be here that long," Carey said to Glover in the Top 8.

It was Glover's third time on the show, having had been cut by the judges in earlier rounds of season 9 and 11. This season, the judges' comments after her performances made it evident they expected to see her go far in the competition.

And their words turned out to be not only reassuring to Glover, but prophetic.

The judges aren't the only ones who sensed a win in Glover's future. From the beginning of this season, Glover herself felt something was different.

"It's my third time, but this time for some reason, it feels a lot better," Glover said in an interview in late February.

"It's easier when you know who you are."

Reporter Erin Moody contributed to this story.

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