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'American Idol' Candice Glover: 'I’m Still Trying to Process the Whole Thing'

The third audition proved to be the charm for the South Carolina native, who said she came close to giving up. “I remember at one point thinking, 'American Idol' obviously doesn't want me, so why would I go back?'”

Candice Glover PR Idol P
Matthieu Young / FOX

A good hour after Candice Glover was crowned American Idol season 12 winner, beating out country competitor Kree Harrison, the 23-year-old from South Carolina was still pinching herself.

“I’m still trying to process the whole thing,” Glover told reporters following Thursday’s show. “Like, I don't even know my name. I don’t know what's happening. It feels amazing, though. I finally got to this point. I've been working for so long.”

Indeed, the third time trying out proved to be the charm for Glover, who said she came close to giving up. “I remember at one point saying, ‘American Idol obviously doesn't want me, so why would I go back?'” she explained of her years-long frustration. Still, Glover added, “I found myself on the website looking at auditions again and just being determined. I just couldn't stay away because I knew that if I kept trying, it would happen.”

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And did it ever. Glover sang with Jennifer Hudson on the finale, to which she had to tell herself, “You cannot suck. This is Jennifer Hudson. Don't mess up. Practice and get it together.”

That moment, along with several more mind-boggling experiences, triggered a sort of instant amnesia, she added. Said Glover: “I don't remember Ryan [Seacrest] saying my name, but I do remember confetti getting in my mouth while I was trying to sing. I wanted to laugh, but I was crying. There was so much happening at that one moment but it felt great. … A lot of dreams came true for me tonight.”

Among them: getting to duet with the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin, and getting a full endorsement from Nicki Minaj along with some advice. Said Glover: “Nicki said, ‘You're a superstar, can I hug you?’ Then she reminded me to not be a diva. She always tells me to have fun and be myself. I love Nicki and hope I can collab with her.”

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Candice Glover, the American Idol winner, is a much more polished version of the girl we met just four months ago -- growth she credits to her time on season 12. “I definitely learned how to be confident, be myself and be OK with who I am,” she explained. “Because 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. Hence why I would do a rapper's song or I would do the Cure when nobody expected me to. In previous seasons, I wouldn't have done any of that because I wasn't comfortable in who I was.”

But with that, the perfectionist in Glover lives on. Asked how she felt during the previous night’s performances, she told reporters, “I was really nervous because I've never performed in front of 7,000 people before. But it also gave me that adrenaline that I needed.”

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And then some. Now it’s time to harness all that energy for the road -- an adventure that couldn’t come soon enough. “I’m definitely looking forward to the tour because I don't have to worry about getting eliminated the following day or worrying about votes,” said Glover with laugh. “It's the one thing I won't miss about Idol: being stressed out every Thursday.”

Twitter: @Idol_Worship