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Jordin Sparks new 'American Idol'

  |   May 23, 2007 at 10:52 PM
LOS ANGELES, May 23 (UPI) -- Jordin Sparks fought through tears Wednesday to sing "This Is My Now" as her first song after being declared the "American Idol" for 2007 in Los Angeles.

"Thank you so much for everything," she said after hugging runner-up Blake Lewis of Bothell, Wash.

Sparks, 17, of Glendale, Ariz., was favored by the voting public over Lewis, 25. Judges Randy Johnson and Simon Cowell also preferred Sparks, while Paula Abdul said both were winners.

A record 74 million votes were cast after Tuesday's competition round, "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest said.

"This Is My Now" is the song the selected by viewers in an online "American Idol" contest this season.

The nearly two-hour music extravaganza that preceded Sparks being named an "American Idol" included performances by several of the show's guest artists, including Tony Bennett and Gwen Stefani, and soul greats Smokey Robinson and Gladys Knight. Previous "Idol" winners Taylor Hicks, Ruben Studdard, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood also performed.

The evening raised a world social issue. Green Day performed John Lennon's hit "Working Class Hero" from "Instant Karma: The Campaign to Save Darfur," an effort to raise awareness and seek ways to end violence in the African country.

© 2007 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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