And the season 11 winner of American Idol is...

Five months of auditions, live performances and rounds and rounds of voting led to last night's big moment. Who would be crowned the American Idol champion after so much anticipation? Who deserved to win? Phillip Phillips.

Beating Jessica Sanchez, the season's runner-up, in a record-breaking 132 million total votes, Phillips was one of the few constants on the show. He never appeared in the bottom three or two, whereas Sanchez was saved by the judges from going home during week 7 results.

After being crowned the winner of American Idol season 11, Phillips gave his most emotional performance of the season, shedding tears during "Home," a song written specifically for Idol by Drew Pearson and Greg Holden. ("Home" has already been released as Phillips's first single.)

Phillips performed "Home" during the performance round of the finale as well, while Sanchez sang "Change Nothing," another song written specifically for the Idol contestant. During the performance round of the finale episodes, Sanchez also performed "I Have Nothing," by Whitney Houston, and "The Prayer," by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli. Phillips performed "Stand by Me," by Ben E. King and "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)," by Billy Joel.

Not to stop there, last night's live finale of the show, during which Phillips was named winner, was packed with performances by past Idol contestants, including Skylar Laine, Hollie Cavanagh and Joshua Ledet, and Idol winners, including Fantasia Barino and Jordin Sparks. John Fogerty, Chaka Khan, Rihanna, Reba McEntire, Neil Diamond and Jennifer Holiday also performed with this season's contestants. Even the judges strutted their stuff, as Jennifer Lopez performed "Follow The Leader" with Wisin & Yandel and Steven Tyler joined Aerosmith for "Legendary Child" and "Walk This Way."

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Cory Lamz
Contact: Cory Lamz