'American Idol' Crowns a Season 12 Winner!


And your new American Idol is…

Candice Glover! After five months of fierce competition, the 23- year-old singer took home the top prize, beating out Kree Harrison, 22, for the crown, as season 12 came to a close Thursday night. Glover is the first woman to win Idol since Jordin Sparks nabbed the title in 2007.

Pics: The Complete List of American Idol Winners

Fighting tears, the singer tried and failed to deliver a thank you speech, but gained her composure in time to belt out her forthcoming single, I am Beautiful, as the show closed.

Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Jennifer Hudson, Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Psy, Frankie Valli, Adam Lambert (and many more) took to the stage to perform during the star-studded finale. Aretha Franklin made a surprise appearance via satellite to perform her legendary hits, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman and Freedom, with the top five.

Thursday also marked the end of an era for the FOX staple as judge Randy Jackson bid farewell to the show he's been a part of since day one.

Related: Candice and Kree Face Off For 'Idol' Crown

"I am so blessed and so honored and so lucky," said Jackson in a shout out to all the hopefuls that have graced the show in its 12 seasons. "Hopefully, I touched their lives a little bit. They certainly touched mine."

Looking ahead to season 13, American Idol revealed auditions for next year will begin July 11 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Visit AmericanIdol.com for the full schedule.