Guilford native Nick Fradiani has won the second-to-last season of "American Idol" and scored a record deal with Scott Borchetta's Big Machine Label Group.
The 29-year-old Connecticut resident was the oldest in the competition and no stranger to the national stage. He competed last winter on NBC's "America's Got Talent" along with his band, Milford-based Beach Avenue.
Fradiani's prior experience seems to have served him well. He edged out Clark Beckham, 22, of Tennessee, in the second part of the season finale Wednesday night.
"I am only here because of you all, and I can't thank you enough for it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart," Fradiani posted on his Facebook page hours before the show.
Before the results were announced, Fradiani took the stage alongside Andy Grammer to sing a medley including "Back Home" and "Honey I'm Good." His family was front and center as the crowd clapped and cheered.
"I’m just really excited the whole world got the chance to see the talent he has," Nick Fradiani Sr. said during the finale.
Both Beckham and Fradiani Jr. said they felt good going into the show.
"I think we did the best performances we've ever done," Beckham said.
When host Ryan Seacrest asked Fradiani how badly he wanted to win, Fradiani smiled.
"I think at this point, we both really want it, but you know, I'm proud of him and he's proud of me, and I think we both deserve it," he said.
Connecticut residents cheered him on Wednesday at watch parties around the state, including one that drew hundreds of fans to Spotlight Theatres in Hartford. The Front Street establishment even added a "Fradiani Burger" to the menu in his honor.
"It's insane. The T-shirts, the posters, the screaming – he's got lots of fans. If he doesn't have a girlfriend, he will after this," joked Trina Gallo of the Front Street Bistro at Spotlight Theatres.
Earlier this month, Fradiani returned home to Guilford for a parade and rally in his honor. He performed on the town green and surprised students with an unannounced concert at the high school.
You can watch Fradiani's coronation song, "Beautiful Life," on YouTube or download it on iTunes.