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N.C. Town Cheers 'Idol' Winner

North Carolina has raised its second "American Idol"  -- a teenager with a voice that made her TV judges reach for the thesaurus.
/ Source: The Associated Press

North Carolina has raised its second "American Idol" _ a teenager with a voice that made her TV judges reach for the thesaurus.

Fantasia Barrino, 19, earned the "Idol" title and its guaranteed record contract Wednesday, winning the majority of the 65 million votes cast, plus the admiration of "Idol" judges.

Randy Jackson complimented her with giving the best performance in three seasons, while his colleague Simon Cowell told her she was the best contestant of any "Idol" show around the world.

Fifteen miles outside of Barrino's hometown of High Point, some 8,000 fans watched on as the vocal powerhouse beat out Snellville, Ga., native Diana DeGarmo, 16, in the two-hour finale.

Raleigh native Clay Aiken, who finished second last season and went on to sell more than 2 million copies of his debut CD, hosted the event. Aiken even told screaming "Clayniacs" that the night was not for him: "Tonight is about Fantasia."

Family friend and Guilford County Commissioner Bruce Davis said he knew this moment would come when he heard Barrino sing at her grandparents' anniversary party when she was only 10 years old.

"My wife said to me 'I have never seen you stand up for anyone who sang for you,'" Davis said. "But Fantasia's voiced just moved me. I just knew what a powerful voice she had."

Barrino's immediate family, including her 2-year-old daughter, Zion, joined the Southern siren at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.

Teenage motherhood didn't stop Barrino from achieving her dream to be a singing sensation. Her cousin, Cynthia Price, said the tough times in Barrino's life were well worth the tears.

"You can't have sunshine in your life without the rain," said a teary-eyed Price, who had clasped her hands, closed her eyes and prayed as the "Idol" finale came to a close.