Phillip Phillips continues the winning streak of WGWGs (white guy with guitar) on American Idol.
The 21-year-old pawnshop employee from Leesburg, Georgia, was declared winner of American Idol Season 11 during the finale held earlier today, May 24 (May 23 in the U.S.), at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
Phillip beat 16-year-old Filipino-Mexican-American Jessica Sanchez after getting the most number of votes.
According to host Ryan Seacrest, 132 million votes were cast for this season's finale—a new world record.
Phillip is now the fifth WGWG to win the popular American reality singing competition—after David Cook (Season 7), Kris Allen (Season 8), Lee DeWyze (Season 9), and Scotty McCreery (Season 10).
THE GRAND SHOWDOWN. Yesterday, May 23 (May 22 in the U.S.), Phillip and Jessica faced off in the finale where they sang three songs each: Idol creator Simon Fuller’s choice, their personal favorite performance, and an original composition that will be their first single if they win.
In the first round, Simon chose Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” for Jessica and Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” for Phillip.
The judges gave the first round to Jessica.
In the second round, Jessica chose Celine Dion’s “The Prayer” as her favorite performance in the past; Phillip, on the other hand, picked Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out.”
The judges gave it a “dead heat” between the two finalists.
In the third round, Jessica picked “Change Nothing” as her first single in case she wins while Phillip chose “Home.”
The judges didn’t like Jessica’s song while they gave a standing ovation to Phillip.
That moment seemed to have sealed the deal for Phillip as America voted for him to become the 11th American Idol.
THE GRAND FINALE. Today’s grand finale, showcased the best musical extravaganza American Idol can offer.
The show opened with the ten semifinalists performing Bruno Mars’s “Runaway.”
Phillip jammed with legendary musician John Fogerty for the songs “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” and “Bad Moon Rising.”