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American Idol crowns Phillip Phillips in talented, funny, bizarre finale (+video)

American Idol: After months of competition, American Idol aired its finale on Wednesday night and anointed Phillip Phillips as the winner of Season 11.

By / May 24, 2012

Winner Phillip Phillips performs onstage at the American Idol Finale on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 in Los Angeles, Calif.. After months of competition, the Georgian native beat out 16-year-old, Jessica Sanchez for the title of Season 11's American Idol.

John Shearer/Invision/AP

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On Wednesday night, after a record 132 million votes, Phillip Phillips was crowned as the Season 11 American Idol. (I started practicing that sentence immediately after he performed "Thriller" in his auditions.)  After the performances on Tuesday night, it certainly seemed that Phillip might have the momentum needed heading into the finale. Phillip was able to close the Tuesday night show on a high note with his performance of, "Home;"  this, after Jessica Sanchez struggled with her potential first single, "Change Nothing."

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American Idol crowns Season 11 Champ: Phil Phillips

And let's face it, Phillip is a man after all. Over the last six seasons, it has become clear that despite Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson being the two most successful Idol winners ever, American Idol voters seem to save the victor's prize for the men.  

It was an action packed, star-studded finale show that included performances by Season 11's top twelve, Neil Diamond, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Aerosmith, and Reba McEntire, among others. The highlights of the two-hour finale often involved the contestants who viewers have grown to love throughout the season. When they all converged on stage to open the show with a group performance of Bruno Mars's, "Runaway Baby," it served as a reminder just how talented the pool of contestants was this season.

Their talent was further demonstrated when they were paired with some of the industry's biggest names.  Skylar Laine was joined by Reba McEntire for a performance of, "Turn on the Radio."  The number proved that Skylar's stage presence was not only remarkable compared to that of her peers, but the Mississippi native was just as comfortable and riveting on stage as Ms. McEntire herself.  Phil Phillips and John Fogerty, from Creedence Clearwater Revival, joined forces for rousing performances of, "Have You Ever Seen the Rain," and "Bad Moon Rising."

Joshua Ledet, despite finishing in third place, had his dreams come true during the finale when he had the opportunity to perform with his inspiration, Fantasia. And while the chance to perform with her may have been the stuff dreams are made of, her black, one-piece, skin-tight leotard – with cut-outs that extended from her hips to her knees – was nightmarish, at best. When Chaka Khan stumbled (literally) into the performance of, "I'm Every Woman," with the top 6 girls, wearing what looked like full-body bedazzled Spanx, it seemed that unflattering jumpsuits were the new fad. Where was Tommy Hilfiger when we needed him?

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