Stroker, a graduate and Broadway performer, was among the strongest competitors on the show, placing in the top three and wowing castmates and show creators alike with soulful singing and a story of inspiration.
The daughter of a Ridgewood teacher and Ridgewood Parks & Recreation employee, Ali has been paralyzed since sustaining a spinal cord injury in a car accident at the age of two.
During the finale, Glee writers and cast members noted the potential story angles with character Artie Abrams, confined to a wheelchair after a car accident at age 8.
Unlike actor Kevin McHale, Stroker is not able to walk. Many on Tuesday night lauded Stroker for possessing a rare combination of talent and perseverence.
"You were so wonderful, you're so optimistic, you're so special and unique," Glee creator Ryan Murphy said in praising Stroker. She performed "Popular" from Wicked, which was well received.
Ultimately though, Murphy was won over with the "leading man material" displayed by Jenner, a 19-year-old actor/singer/impromptu poet from Miami.
Jenner will appear on at least seven episodes of Glee's fourth season and now has a record deal.
Aylin Baramuglu, a 20-year-old Muslim from a conservative family in Ohio, also placed in the top three.
Though she didn't take home the Glee medal, Stroker won't be deterred from living out her dreams.
"I am now walking away empty handed but [am] so lucky to have experienced this competition," Stroker said as the credits rolled. "It just makes me hungrier."