Credit: Ray Mickshaw / FOX Photo: Candice Glover

Remember that week when the American Idol judges and Jimmy Iovine chose their ideal Top 3, and Candice Glover only showed up on Mariah Carey’s list? Well, hell hath no fury like a three-time Idol auditioner scorned. This year’s winner told the media in an interview today that she’s glad that happened, as it really lit a fire under her. She admits that her heart was broken a bit during that show but says “It gave me a boost to do my best the next week.” And do her best she did. In fact, we think she pretty much solidified her status as the winner that week when she gave us that history-making rendition of “Lovesong.”

As for what made the third time truly a charm for Nicki Minajs “Candi Girl,” it was her absolute dedication. She said that, after being eliminated last year, she went back to South Carolina and really worked on upping her musical knowledge. She admits she’s done a bit of fantasizing, too, saying she used to picture what it would be like to perform before a “sea of people” reaching out to shake her hand. Once she hit the Idol stage this year, Candice thinks she had a newfound confidence that helped her, but also a laser focus on being herself and not conforming to what she thought people wanted. In fact, she thinks that kind of thinking may have been what did her in during the previous seasons. This season, she said she embraced the fact that she’s a different kind of performer and chose to highlight that.

While the judges this year have certainly taken their share of flack, Candice seems to have a special place in her heart for them. As she put it, “All of them bring something good to the table.” In fact, if it were up to her, she said she thinks the same panel should continue next year (we doubt that, and we know The Dawg is gone!). When asked about making Nicki cry, Candice said she thinks it’s because they shared a common background – girls who worked long hours just to pay the bills, hoping and dreaming that their careers would one day take off. Mission accomplished!

Of course, we had to ask about that astounding duet of "Inseparable" with Jennifer Hudson, and she said she was so nervous, she called Music Director Michael Orland and asked him if he could do another rehearsal for her! He wasn’t able to but, as we all saw, she certainly didn’t need it. As for a future collaboration, Candice said she’d love to do the J-Hud thing again. A few other musical inspirations she named were Jazmine Sullivan, Kim Burell, and, of course, Drake. In fact, she said she loved doing the Drake song while on Idol because she felt it was unexpected.

Credit: FOX Photo: Jennifer Hudson and Candice Glover Perform "Inseparable" on American Idol 2013 Finale Results

American Idol has certainly prepared Candice for a long and prosperous music career. In fact, she admitted that she worried her shyness might get the best of her, as people gravitate more towards the “bubbly” contestants, but that obviously didn’t end up being a factor. If anything, Candice said that caused her to see a different side to her personality, saying, "It brought out the inner crazy in me!"

The long hours certainly prepared her for her busy schedule ahead. She’s on the new Idol fast track, which means she will start the American Idol LIVE! Tour on June 29 while having to put out her album on July 16. As she said, “I know I’m going to have to work hard.” That’s an understatement!

When we asked Candice whether the addition of this pressure on the side affected her performances on the show, she admitted “It was definitely a challenge.” In fact, Candice said that the night they made the Top 3, they approached the girls with their potential singles. So she said she had going home on her mind, the performances while there, and the songs she’d have to sing when returning to the show. As she put it, there was “so much to think about,” saying you just have to pace yourself and “take it one day at a time.”

While it may be a breakneck pace to keep in the weeks ahead, we have no doubt Candice will emerge as the winning vocalist she is.

Will you go see Candice and the Idols on tour this summer?