Phillip Phillips was crowned the winner of American Idol‘s 11th season on Wednesday night, edging out runner-up Jessica Sanchez and becoming the fifth male in a row to emerge victorious on the reality singing competition.
The 21-year old Georgia native earned the majority of a record 132 million votes cast after Tuesday night’s final performance episode, according to Idol host Ryan Seacrest.
“It’s been such an honor to be up on this stage playing with everybody . . . all the fans out there, thank y’all for voting for us,” Phillips said before the results were announced. “It’s just been crazy.”
After accepting his trophy from last year’s winner, Scotty McCreery, a tearful Phillips performed his coronation song, “Home,” as confetti rained down on the stage, then walked to the front row to embrace his family.
The American Idol finale also featured performances by judge Steven Tyler and his band, Aerosmith, who debuted their new single, “Legendary Child,” and fellow panelist Jennifer Lopez, who sang with Latin duo Wisin and Yandel.
Plenty of other stars graced the stage as well, including John Fogerty, Rihanna, Chaka Khan, Neil Diamond, Reba McEntire, Jennifer Holliday and season six winner Jordin Sparks. There was even a surprise marriage proposal by season five’s resident heartthrob contestant, Ace Young, who offered a ring to his long-term girlfriend (and season three runner-up) Diana DeGarmo.