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      Candice Glover wins `American Idol'

      Candice Glover wins 'American Idol' (TWITTER)

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Lowcountry native 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 in Beaufort County{}looked stunned when "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest announced she beat soulful 22-year-old country singer Harrison from Woodville, Texas .

      A weepy Glover performed the new single "I Am Beautiful" after winning the 12th edition of the singing competition. Glover auditioned for the show three times before making it as a finalist this season.

      "I think{}I definitely learned how to be confident, how to be myself, and who{}I am," Candice Glover said in a post-finale interview.{}"In previous seasons,{}I was doing what{}I thought America wanted or the judges wanted but this year{}I did whatever{}I wanted to do."

      South Carolina's top politicians took to Facebook overnight{}to congratulate Glover.

      Governor Nikki Haley wrote on her Facebook page: "Congratulations Candice Glover on being the 2013 American Idol Winner! Candice, you have made your state proud! South Carolina, our girlfriend won tonight be proud! Candice, may the stars forever shine on you and your family..."{}

      Senator Lindsey Graham chimed in writing on his Facebook{}page: "Way to go Candice Glover, our new American Idol! You made us so proud!"

      Newly-elected Congressman Mark{}Sanford{}had a message on his Facebook page for the winner, saying:{}"Congratulations to Beaufort's County own Candice Glover! All of South Carolina is proud of you."

      Thursday's American Idol{}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.

      The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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