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A nineteen-year-old single mom from North Carolina is the new American Idol. Soul singer Fantasia Barrino won out over rival Diana DiGarmo with a margin of just over one percent after the show received 65 million votes . The two finalists were selected out of an initial pool of 70,000 contestants.
Although there have been bumps along the way, including questions about voting procedures and accusations of racism, American Idol has averaged over 25 million viewers over its three seasons. The first place win secures Ms. Barrino a recording contract, but the process itself made her this year's celebrity. Acerbic judge Simon Cowell called her "the best contestant we've had in any competition."
Known for her strong voice and feisty manner, when the moment of truth came during Wednesday night's finale, Fantasia burst into tears.
"You know what, I've been through some things, but I've worked hard to get where I'm at," she said. "Thank you all so much. Man, I'm a crybaby."
A soul classic CD featuring Fantasia's rendition of Chain of Fools along with runner up, Diana DeGarmo's Heard it through the Grapevine and various other artists from the third season of American Idol is already available for sale.