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'American Idol' Runner-Up Kree Harrison: 'The Next Step Is the Best Part'

“I don't want to put myself in a box now -- whatever it is, it will be Kree," says the season 12 finalist of her forthcoming, as-yet-unscheduled album.

Kree Harrison PR Idol P
Matthieu Young / FOX

Kree Harrison looked not the least bit bummed following her second-place finish to Candice Glover on the American Idol finale Thursday night.

“I'm so proud of her and proud of myself for getting this far,” Harrison told reporters after the show. “I couldn't believe I was standing there with her at the finale. … I felt like this is just the beginning -- this is not the end of the road for any of us.”

Indeed, Harrison, who performed with singer and judge Keith Urban during the all-star finale, said, “The next step is the best part -- the relationships that I created and the friends that I made. We get to go on tour together, which is crazy. And then I want to make a good record. That's all I ever wanted to do.”

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And she will undoubtedly get that opportunity, one that Harrison hopes might include a collaboration with Urban. “He's a fellow country artist and it would be awesome,” she said. “I had so much fun singing with him.” Still, she added, “I don't want to put myself in a box now -- whatever it is, it will be Kree.”

Harrison has certainly grown through the competition, where she began as a barely noticed contestant and rose through the rank to become its shining star. “I think before this whole journey, emotionally maybe I had a wall up,” she explained, adding that her Idol experience has taught her “how to tear that down to connect with the audience because you have to on this show -- you're singing into a camera and it’s really important to connect. I feel like it's taught me to be a better performer.”

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As for Glover, their sounds might be different but they have plenty in common. Said Harrison: “We’re both so driven and hungry for each others’ careers.” Both were also equally shocked to hear they’d be singing with Aretha Franklin (albeit via video) on finale night. “I thought it was a joke when I first heard about Aretha,” said Harrison. She is the queen of soul! I'd sing with her video any day.”

Hobnobbing with the stars can certainly be dizzying, which is why Harrison said her biggest hurdle during season 12 was “to live in the moment  -- [everything] was so fast paced that it was a challenge, but I feel like I did all right.”

Twitter: @Idol_Worship