Kree or Candice? 'American Idol' finale kicks off
Kree Harrison arrives at the "American Idol" finale at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live on Thursday, May 16, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — One is a little bit country. The other is a little bit R&B.
Either country crooner Kree Harrison or vocal powerhouse Candice Glover will be revealed Thursday night as the 12th season champion of "American Idol."
"Either way, we're gonna celebrate tonight," Harrison said at the beginning of Thursday's finale.
Glover admitted the pair were "out of it" following the finale whirlwind.
The winning finalist of the Fox singing competition will be awarded a record deal and could follow in the footsteps of such chart-topping winners as Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood — or less successful champs like Lee DeWyze and Kris Allen.
During Wednesday's final performance round, Harrison, the soulful 22-year-old country singer originally from Woodville, Texas, sang Sarah McLaughlan's "Angel," Patty Griffin's "Up to the Mountain" and potential future single "All Cried Out."
Candice Glover arrives at the "American Idol" finale at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live on Thursday, May 16, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
"I think all three of your performances showcased your beautiful voice and your beautiful soul," judge Nicki Minaj beamed to Harrison.
Glover, the booming 23-year-old R&B vocalist from St. Helena Island, S.C., performed Adele's "Chasing Pavements," Ben E. King's "I (Who Have Nothing)" and potential future single "I Am Beautiful."
"It fits her like a Glover," joked Keith Urban of Glover's empowerment ballad.
Randy Jackson declared the finale a dead heat after Harrison and Glover performed their tunes.
"Dude, this is so close," said Jackson, who announced last week that he's leaving the show after this season.
Thursday's finale could also serve as a send-off for Minaj, Urban and Mariah Carey after reports surfaced last week that the entire judging panel would be replaced following a season overshadowed by rancor and ratings issues.