It doesn't matter what fate awaits St. Helena Island's Candice Glover Thursday, when "American Idol" trims its field from four contestants to three.
Whatever happens, Candice has made us all very proud.
And not just because of her voice, which is very moving, but for the poise and humility she has shown throughout this season of the popular Fox Network reality show. She has represented Beaufort County well.
Now, the community will try to repay the favor.
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If Candice advances tonight, there will be a parade in her honor and a concert Saturday. Arrangements for both are developing at break-neck speed and are being dictated at least in part by television producers. They also would coincide with the already popular Taste of Beaufort festival this weekend, making the logistics rather taxing for a small town like Beaufort.
And the "taxing" could prove quite literal.
The cost to put on the concert and parade will be about $50,000, plus the cost of police and public works manpower. "American Idol" won't be footing the bill (which doesn't seem right). City Council on Tuesday voted to supply manpower as needed, which will require budget revisions. Beaufort County should consider helping since the county as a whole stands to benefit from such positive publicity, and Candice, in fact, hails from the unincorporated area of St. Helena.
The Lowcountry will get something out of this production, of course -- clips of the proceedings will be included in "Idol's" next broadcast, a big deal for a telegenic city in which tourism is an important economic driver.
"We're basically buying a commercial, so we want the best commercial we can get," Main Street Beaufort, USA, executive director LaNelle Fabian said.
An account to raise money for the concert has been set up at First Citizens Bank, and the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce is also setting up a PayPal account to accept donations. We encourage those who appreciate Candice's talent to give what they can; the less drain this events puts on public coffers, the better.
Even if Candice doesn't advance to the final three, there will still be cause for celebration.
Bear in mind Chris Daughtry, Clay Aiken, Kellie Pickler and Jennifer Hudson are among the top-grossing and most popular "American Idol" alumni, and none of them won the competition. In fact, Pickler and Hudson weren't even in the Top 5.
So by no means will Candice's career trajectory be dictated by voting totals revealed tonight. She quite likely will be making this community proud for years to come.
We thank the city of Beaufort, the chamber, Main Street, downtown merchants and all of those who have voted for, donated to or otherwise promoted Candice's "Idol" run.
For its enthusiastic support for one of its own, the community -- like Candice -- deserves to take a bow, no matter tonight's outcome.