Candice was the odds on favorite to win the competition, after strong performances throughout, but stranger things have happened.
When it comes to country artists, they seem to have a special advantage because of historic voting trends on the show. That meant there was no writing off Kree until the final nail-biting moment.
Since the show’s was launched in 2002, six of the nine Idol winners, including its first five, have come from southern states.
In addition, semi-finalists Kellie Pickler, Clay Aiken and Chris Daughtry are all from North Carolina, which happens to be Idol winner Scotty McCreery’s home state.
Season 10 runner up Lauren Alaina hailed from Chattanooga, Tenn., and went to high school in Rossville, Ga.
The fact is the show is more popular in the south than any other region of the country. Southern household audiences are 10 percent to 15 percent larger than other areas.
As a result the show has produced winners like Taylor Hicks, who fell flat after being named “American Idol.”
“People in the South have a lot of pride … So, they’re adamant about supporting the contestants who do well from their state or region,” Hicks told MSNBC after winning.
Kree, 22, was born in Port Arthur, Texas, and grew up in the small town of Woodville with a population of around 2,500 people. She may have lost some of the country edge in voting because she was raised outside the deep south, although she now lives in Nashville, Tenn.
During the final performance show, Harrison alternated between pop and country. She sang Sarah McLaughlan’s “Angel,” alt-coungry singer Patty Griffin’s “Up to the Mountain.”
Candice 23, may have negated some of the Southern voting block because she is from St. Helena Island, South Carolina, which puts her in the heart of Dixie. she bills herself, however, as an R&B, gospel, pop and jazz artist.
Candice also finished strong in her performance on Wednesday. She performed Adele’s “Chasing Pavements,” Ben E. King’s “I (Who Have Nothing)” and and Christina Aguilera’s “I Am Beautiful.”
Angie Miller, 18, was the other artist in the top three. Her elimination came as a surprise, but Kree had Southern voters in her corner.
It wasn’t the best season for the show. It saw a slip in the ratings and way too much drama among judges Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson. All four have reportedly been sacked now that the season is over.