- (Photo: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)
The 11th season of "America Idol" has crowned its winner as Phillip Phillips, leaving Jessica Sanchez in second place.
At just 16 years old, Sanchez would have been the first female winner the television series in four years as well as the youngest. The Chula Vista, Calif. native gave three performances during Wednesday's episode, including her rendition of "Dreamgirl" alongside Jennifer Holliday and Celine Dion's "The Prayer," but did not wow the judges.
Perhaps her final song, Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You," did not impress America enough, but the teenage singer fell into second place as Phillips was announced the winner during Wednesday's finale.
Backstage, speaking of her competitor Phillips, Sanchez said, "I think America made the right choice," according to Entertainment Weekly.
"Not that I don't think I'm good, but he's worked hard for it," added the singer. "He's really, really put his heart and soul into it, and he's pushed through all the health issues, and he's done it. He did it."
Alternately, Phillips delivered a duet alongside John Fogerty as well as his rendition of Billy Joel's "Movin' Out" during Wednesday's final performances. The singer finished by singing "Home," earning a standing ovation.
"That's your best performance of the night," said "Idol" judge Randy Jackson. "That was amazing. You were perfect tonight, and I think you are the man."
"I wasn't thinking about anything, not even the song," explained 21-year-old singer backstage. "I wasn't really wanting to sing or anything. I just started thinking about the whole journey and how far all of us have come, and how we've made it. It's so overwhelming."
Of his tearful last performance, Phillips noted, "I hate crying, but I'll probably cry some more. It feels good at times."
Phillips' win earned him a record deal. He joins "American Idol" winners that include Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, and Scotty McCreery, among many others.