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Phillip Phillips tops Jessica Sanchez to win 'American Idol' season 11

Finalists Phillip Phillips, Jessica Sanchez and host Ryan

Finalists Phillip Phillips, Jessica Sanchez and host Ryan Seacrest at the "American Idol" finale in Los Angeles. (May 23, 2012) Credit: AP

Jessica Sanchez or Phillip Phillips is about to win "American Idol" season eleven -- I think it should be the vocally astonishing Sanchez, but Phillips has had a huge fan base all year that I don't think she'll be able to overcome.

They do a last duet, Joe Cocker's "Up Where We Belong." Bit cheesy, but it lets their voices soar, and both look like champs.

And then Ryan Seacrest reveals the winner, after 132 million votes, is... Phillip Phillips!

No surprise there. He's been the top vote-getter all season long. Sings the song he'll release as his first single, "Home." Confetti comes flying down, big hugs all around.

Wasn't a particularly memorable finale; guest stars weren't as big as they've been in years past -- this year's batch included Rihanna, Aerosmith, Jennifer Holliday, Jordin Sparks, Jennifer Lopez, Neil Diamond, Reba McEntire, Chaka Khan and John Fogerty.

Oh, and former contestant Ace Young proposed to Diana DeGarmo, who also competed on the show, live on stage. It was a moment that was partially hokey but also oddly compelling, with a shaking Young thrilled when DeGarmo said "yes!"

Holliday's duet with Sanchez on "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" was by far the musical highlight of the night. It was a searing display of divahood, two singers with huge voices letting their emotions go.

But in the end, it was steady Phillips who took the crown, becoming the fifth guy in a row to win (you've got to go back to season six and Jordin Sparks to break the trend.)

It was a pedestrian end to a season with probably the most vocally talented group of finalists. The show was undermined by uninspired judging and little real suspense as Phillips' huge fan base kept him out of the bottom three week after week, no matter how similar his performances.

Ultimately I think Sanchez -- like season eight runner-up Adam Lambert, who topped the Billboard charts this week -- will be the one we remember from this season.

But Wednesday night was Phillips' night, as he became the 11th winner of what's still television's most dependable venue for finding future musical stars.

Agree? Disagree? Tell us in the comments below, or on Twitter using #ndidol.


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