LOS ANGELES (AP) — Despite winning a Grammy and an Oscar, Jennifer Hudson is inseparable from "American Idol."
The former finalist returned to the "Idol" stage for Thursday's finale to duet with current contender Candice Glover on Natalie Cole's "Inseparable."
The vocal powerhouse or country crooner Kree Harrison 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.
Whatever happens, Harrison and Glover both advanced further on "Idol" than Hudson. She was the sixth eliminated contestant during the third season.
Hudson was among the guest stars helping to fill out the two-hour finale show, including Psy, Frankie Valli, Emeli Sande and Jessie J. Current "Idol" judges Keith Urban, Mariah Carey — along with Randy Jackson on bass — also performed.
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.
Fox is a unit of News Corp.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang .
- Arts & Entertainment
- Jennifer Hudson
- Candice Glover
- Kree Harrison
- Randy Jackson
- Keith Urban