May 16, 2013

No holding back for American Idol winner's SC family

As soon as the word "Candice" left host Ryan Seacrest's mouth, they jumped from their seats — chairs were overturned, screams filled the air and tears flowed as they family attended a public watch party at The Preserve in Port Royal.

When Candice Glover was named the 12th American Idol on Thursday night, her six younger siblings didn’t hold back.

As soon as the word "Candice" left host Ryan Seacrest's mouth, they jumped from their seats — chairs were overturned, screams filled the air and tears flowed as they family attended a public watch party at The Preserve in Port Royal.

Brother Jonathan's body shook uncontrollably in celebration.

"I almost knocked an old lady down by mistake," he said.

Brother Carlos was lifted in the air by his friends.

"I went bonkers," Carlos said. "I acted out a lot. I just cried."

Sister Bethany cried as friends hugged her.

Back in Hollywood, Glover was even more emotional.

“I can’t even oh my God, it’s been three years,” said Glover, who had auditioned for the show twice before.

“It’s been three years of persistence, determination and a lot of talent,” Seacrest said as Glover was joined onstage by her grandmother, Albertha Middleton.

After the announcement, Glover performed a tearful version of her first single, “I Am Beautiful.”

Back in Beaufort, Lauren Furman-Boggs said she couldn’t take the pressure of the last five minutes of the show. “I’m going to have to go the hospital,” she exclaimed at the Highway 21 Drive In watch party.

She erupted in cheers with hundreds of other viewers when Glover won.

“I don’t even know what to say. I am ecstatic. I am elated. I am overjoyed,” said the former member of Youthful Praize choir, of which Glover was a member.

“Yes, girl, you are beautiful,” she shouted at the screen.

Although Glover’s siblings didn’t get to go to Hollywood to see the show live — their mother, Carole, didn’t want them to miss school — they showed their support by wearing matching purple shirts with their sister’s picture on the front.

They applauded loudly when Glover presented her grandmother with a Ford Fiesta early in the show.

Glover’s siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins had arrived in a limousine to join about 200 people gathered for the watch party. Seated in lawn chairs and on blankets in front of an outdoor multi-story screen, the crowd cheered at every Glover appearance.

"All these people coming out is amazing," Glover’s sister Bethany said.

In Beaufort, more than 250 cars crowded in front of the main screen at the Highway 21 Drive In watch party, although an 8:15 p.m. sunset made it difficult to see in the beginning.

That didn’t dull their enthusiasm as viewers honked horns, yelled, and blew air horns as often and loudly as they could.

Dari Harris, 16, of Beaufort, came to the drive-in with her mother, Jackie, and said she has been inspired by Glover’s story of perseverance.

“I’m excited to see a young black girl from this area do something like this,” she said.

When Glover auditioned for the show in June in Charlotte, judge Nicki Minaj said, “If you don’t go to the last round of this competition, there’s something wrong.”

Judge Mariah Carey told Glover, “I wish you already had something out that I could listen to you,” and asked for a mixed tape.

Now, Glover does, as her coronation song, “I Am Beautiful,” will be released as a single.

All season long, negative comments from the judges were few and far between.

Judge Randy Jackson called her performance of The Cure’s “Lovesong” one of the best in the show’s 12-year history, and again said she had another one of the best “Idol” performance of all time when she sang Barbra Streisand’s “Somewhere” in the Top 3.

After numerous performances, Jackson said Glover was, “In it to win it.”

“It was perfect,” he said of her Top 10 performance.

“We’re going to hear more of that from you in this competition in the end, because I know you’re going to be here that long,” Carey said to Glover in the Top 8.

It was Glover’s third time on the show, having had been cut by the judges in earlier rounds of season 9 and 11. This season, the judges’ comments after her performances made it evident they expected to see her go far in the competition.

And their words turned out to be not only reassuring to Glover, but prophetic.

The judges weren’t the only ones who sensed the win.

From the beginning of the season, Glover herself felt something was different.

“It’s my third time, but this time for some reason, it feels a lot better,” Glover said in an interview in late February.

“It's easier when you know who you are.”

Reporter Erin Moody contributed to this story.

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