By DERRIK J. LANG
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.”
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.
“I don’t want to be a flash in the pan after this experience,” Harrison said earlier this month. “I want to make great records. The whole reason I did this is because I want to be able to sing for the rest of my life.”
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.”
“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.
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