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Country crooner Underwood wins 'Idol'

LOS ANGELES, May 25 (UPI) -- Country-flavored singer Carrie Underwood was crowned "American Idol" Wednesday on the Fox show's season finale.

Underwood, 22, of Checotah, Okla., beat out long-haired 29-year-old rocker Bo Bice for the title, CNN reported. Underwood was awarded a recording contract and a the key to a private jet. Her first single "Inside Your Heaven," is due out June 14.

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Bice, who had been considered the front-runner going into Tuesday's performances, won a strong following with his performance of the Allman Brothers' "Whipping Post." CNN said his spot as runner-up is far from a career-killing position, as previous runners up Clay Aiken and Diana DeGarmo have gone on to sell successful albums.

Despite being shrouded in controversy -- with reports ranging from vote fixing to alleged personal relationships between contestants and judge Paula Abdul -- "Idol" has thrived in ratings, ranking second and third this season behind "CSI" and ahead of "Desperate Housewives," "Survivor" and "Everybody Loves Raymond."

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