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Finalist Clark Beckham, left, and Patrick Stump, of Fall Out Boy, perform at the American Idol XIV finale at the Dolby Theatre on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in Los Angeles.

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Connecticut pop singer Nick Fradiani edged out Tennessee soul singer Clark Beckham for the title of "American Idol" on Fox's Wednesday night finale,
Beckham was a hometown favorite due to his strong local ties. He graduated from Lee University last year with a degree in history.

After enrolling at Lee, the singer began attending Redemption Pointe church in Chattanooga, where he sang in the choir and with the Praise Team.

Beckham recognized his alma mater on air during the "Idol" finale. Fradiani and Beckham both honored their most influential teachers with tickets to the live finale. Beckham brought Jim Phillips, director of Lee's Campus Choir, to Los Angeles where the Lee professor was presented keys to a new Ford Focus.

Beckham told the Times Free Press prior to the finale that a loss wouldn't stop him from pursuing a music career.
"I trust that I'm going to go where God wants me to go. I'm going to work really hard to make this music thing happen,"  he said.

Contact Susan Pierce at spierce@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6284.

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