Phillip Phillips, the 21-year-old pawn shop worker from Georgia, has been named the Season 11 “American Idol” winner, defeating 16-year-old balladeer Jessica Sanchez.
The guitar-strumming singer received a record-high 132 million votes after Tuesday's performance, in which he earned a standing ovation for his final song, “Home.” Watch!
Runner-up Sanchez gave Phillips a warm hug, as did his fellow finalists. The overwhelmed young man admitted, "I didn't think any of this would ever happen. It's overwhelming and unbelievable… I'm just another guy who loves to play music."
Phillips triumphed despite being plagued by kidney problems during the competition. He said after the show that he plans to have surgery, but expects to be on the 'Idol' summer tour.
His victory extended the "Idol" winning streak for men to five consecutive seasons. The last female to win was Jordin Sparks in 2007.