The 23-year-old from St. Helena Island, South Carolina edged out fellow finalist Kree Harrison to become the Season 12 winner of "American Idol."
Candice became the show's first female champion since Jordin Sparks in Season 6, and the first R&B/soul singer to win since Fantasia Barrino in Season 3.
The finalists and audience had to wait two hours to find out the results. Ryan Seacrest called them to the center of the stage, where he revealed the results. Watch the emotional moment below:
"Three years," an emotional Candice exclaimed after she found out she won, in reference to her two previous attempts that fell short (Season 9 and 11). She was too overcome to sing her coronation song "I Am Beautiful." Note to "Idol" producers: wait until they're done singing to fire the confetti cannons, as this was the second year in a row the winner got confetti in their mouths!
As I wrote yesterday, Candice is a deserving winner -- delivering standout performances week after week.
There were a number of other entertaining moments, something the struggling show desperately needed all season. Here were five highlights.
1. The guys sabotaged
This wasn't a song, but a hilarious skit that poked fun at the White Guy With Guitar phenomenon, Lazaro Arbos' horrible performances, and "The Voice."
2. Mariah's greatest hits (or is it misses?)
Okay, this was so bad it was good. Mariah Carey -- in full diva mode with mermaid gown and hi-speed fan -- performed two lines from all of her top songs. It was a crazy smorgasbord that had viewers tweeting #lip sync. The clip is titled "Mariah Carey Performs Live," but what do you think?
3. Candice and Jennifer Hudson sing "Inseparable"
Jennifer has a big, big voice, and Candice matched it perfectly, showing both restraint and power.
4. Angie Miller duets with Adam Lambert and Jessie J
Angie was a frontrunner all season, and she got some extra pimping in the finale, performing with two huge stars. There are reports Jimmy Iovine wants to sign her immediately.
5. Jennifer Lopez closes the show
If you thought Mariah's performance was overproduced, J.Lo closed the show with a Vegas-esque number complete with scantily clad dancers, lasers and confetti cannons. It came across as genuine as her pre-recorded laugh.
There was also a cute tribute to outgoing judge Randy Jackson -- remember when he punched the female contestant in her face?
Overall it was a fun show with a very deserving winner. Did America make the right choice? Will you still watch "American Idol?"