"Three years!" was all a flustered, weeping Candice could say when Ryan Seacrest asked her for her reaction.
Candice joyously sobbed, surrounded by her fellow Season 12 contestants on the stage of Los Angeles's Nokia Theater, as she belted out her coronation song, an empowerment anthem titled "I Am Beautiful." I'm still not feeling the song myself, but it was a beautiful moment nonetheless. Candice deserved this victory. She worked hard for it.
Thankfully, once "Idol" producers wisely put Candice through to this season's live shows, those fans finally had a chance to vote her through — all the way to the winner's circle.
Candice is the first female "Idol" champion since Season 6, but we all knew a woman was going to win this year, since the last male contestant standing, Lazaro Arbos, was eliminated more than a month ago, leaving the show with an all-female top five. This week's finale, in which Texan country crooner Kree Harrison placed second, was the first girl-vs.-girl "Idol" finale since Season 3. Perhaps the bigger news here is that Candice is the first R&B singer, male or female, to win the show since Fantasia Barrino triumphed that season…nine long years ago.
There were also three surprisingly funny skits: a tribute to exiting judge Randy "The Dawg" Jackson starring actual dogs; the top 10 contestants modeling Nicki Minaj-inspired wigs (and posterior prosthetics); and a conspiracy-theory-laden video about how the top 10's boys were sabotaged…by Jordin Sparks!
Lowlights included a Mariah Carey hits medley that seemed more poorly lip-synched than a rejected "RuPaul's Drag Race" audition; a performance by PSY that should have been on a finale taking place in 2012, not 2013; a remote-satellite performance between the top five girls and a video-screened Aretha Franklin that just did not work; and a cheesy, shackled, hairography-overloaded performance by ex-judge Jennifer Lopez that made Mariah's performance look credible.
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