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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Who won ‘American Idol’ season 11?

Phillip winning

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AMERICAN IDOL: Host Ryan Seacrest introduces the Finalists Phillip Phillps and Jessica Sanchez make their entrance for the season 11 AMERICAN IDOL GRAND FINALE at the Nokia Theatre on Weds. May 23, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  CR: Michael Becker/FOX

AMERICAN IDOL: Host Ryan Seacrest introduces the Finalists Phillip Phillps and Jessica Sanchez make their entrance for the season 11 AMERICAN IDOL GRAND FINALE at the Nokia Theatre on Weds. May 23, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. CR: Michael Becker/FOX

He was a favorite to win early on.

Favorites like that on this show typically lose. (Danny Gokey anyone?)

But Leesburg’s Phillip Phillips bucked strong competitors and painful kidney stones to take home the crown.

He also became the first winner with Georgia ties after 11 seasons. The state has gotten close before with Justin Guarini (season one), Diana Degarmo (season two), Bo Bice (season four) and Lauren Alaina (season 10.)

And speaking of DeGarmo, her beau Ace Young (season 5) proposed to her on air on the stage. Was she caught offguard? Maybe. Sure beats proposing at a baseball stadium, eh? Anyway, this is the first “Idol’ coupling that has become an engagement! When I interviewed them a few weeks back, they sounded incredibly happy together.

After Ryan Seacrest (from Dunwoody) informed Phillips the win, he tried to sing his coronation song “Home” but broke down partway through, took off his guitar and hugged his family. It was truly touching.

Reports are that Phillips, after he does press the next couple of days, will fly back to Georgia and have surgery for his kidney issues.

By some measures, this was a troubling year for “Idol.”

The show lost a whopping 23% of its viewers due to increased competition and age. The judges were panned frequently for zealous over-the-top praise and standing ovations galore.  But fans who stuck with season 11 were impassioned and dedicated to many of the singers this season, including runner-up Jessica Sanchez, third-place finisher Joshua Ledet and others. Overall, the season was a satisfying one.

Producers have to wonder: what will it take to change the type of winner? For five years in a row, the white guy with a guitar (nicknamed WGWG) has been the victor (though last year, the dude did sing country.)  The trend could not be stopped this season, even after a record 132 million votes.

Phillips is charming with his an interesting style, even if it reminds folks of other artists. He seems both laid back and happy go lucky. It’s a combo that was hard to beat. He was never in danger of being voted off, based on how patterns played out this season. And as I noted earlier, he was a favorite even entering the top 13, a trend that only veered off path briefly three weeks ago, when his illness was clearly affecting his performances. He looked like he wanted to go home at a certain point.

But he rallied in the top 4 and gave some strong performances near the end, including a cover of Damien Rice’s “Volcano” and the original song “Home” last night.

As for the finale tonight:

- It opened with a promising cover of Bruno Mars’ “Runaway Baby”  from the top 12 (minus Jermaine Jones)  in all (unflattering) white.

- John Fogerty, with blatantly dyed hair, graciously rocked two big CCR songs with a thrilled Phillip Phillips.

- Mantasia -as in Joshua Ledet and Fantasia – go to church with “Take Me To the Pilot.” It’s a big hot mess, a screamfest that’s taken into the audience and continues even as the producers cut to commercial. Fantasia is wearing an impressively unflattering gown that splits at the thighs, making said thights look even bigger. Joshua dresses impeccably as usual.

- A hysterical blooper real of Jimmy Iovine calling Jennifer Lopez Jessica (that’s his daughter’s name). He does it over and over and over again. It’s still funny the 10th time around.

- Chaka Khan medley. Shannon Magrane, who I barely remember, stands out like a giraffe, towering over Skylar Laine. The dresses are very… spangly and very… tight. Vocally, it’s decent and Chaka looks good for a 59-year-old woman, even in a catsuit.

- Rihanna blinds us with lights and smoke and cubes and dancers while singing “Where Have You Been.” Not sure  if I saw clowns and an elephant, too. It looks like something “The X Factor” would conjure up.

- One of my favorite moments was seeing Skylar and her doppelganger Reba McEntire cut it up with “Turn Up the Radio.” As one of the live bloggers said, Skylar could be Reba’s long-lost love child!

- Steven Tyler gives us a warped tour of his dressing room, replete with… a live monkey? No cocaine or strippers, though.

- Jessica returns with “I Will Always Love You.” Now we know why she didn’t sing it last night, though she should have.

- A Neil Diamond medley. Colton Dixon mugs a lot and does the best Neil Diamond imitation until the real thing comes along. “Sweet Caroline” ends it. Woohoo!

- Randy Jackson’s cliche o’ meter includes “You can sing the phone book.” So in a funny spoof, the contestants literally sing a phone book. Scarily, I bet many of the kids had never opened a phone book in their life! (Why not just Google it?)

- Jennifer Lopez is singing…er… lip syncing and dancing. I enjoy it for what it’s worth. Flo Rida and others join her as she thrusts her hips a lot and looks hot.

- Ace and Diana get engaged. Sniff.

- Hollie sings “You’ll Never Walk Alone” with season 6 winner Jordin Sparks. Jordin looks fab. And they sound fab together.

- In honor of Robin Gibb, the men do a Bee Gees medley. Sadly, with times a wastin’, a Donna Summer medley with the ladies is scrapped for time.

- Jennifer Holliday and Jessica Sanchez square off on “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” Yowza. This is powerhouse vs. powerhouse. Scary faces on Jennifer’s face!

- Aerosmith’s Joe Perry makes amends for TV ratings by joining Steven Tyler and the rest of the band. It’s actually a fun few minutes as they rock it out with abandon.

- And if you have a good memory, Bo and Carrie sang “Up Where We Belong” during the finale seven years ago. So Phillip and Jessica reprise it and they sound lovely.

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By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

244 comments Add your comment

Deirdre

May 23rd, 2012
10:18 pm

Two Georgia moments tonight! Phil wins!!!! And Diana DeGarmo gets engaged on Idol!!!!

Leesburg, GA!

May 23rd, 2012
10:22 pm

Go Phillip! We are proud of you back home!!! Leesburg is about to bust! Hurry home Phillip!

Glenn

May 23rd, 2012
10:22 pm

Anyone who thought Phillip didn’t care if he won or not got their answer when he couldn’t complete the song at the end and went to his family…

mrs_pld

May 23rd, 2012
10:23 pm

OMGosh… I am so stinkin thrilled with the outcome. I started crying when he got choked up in the middle of his song, and then again when he took off his guitar and went straight to his family. Love him! Can’t wait to get his CD when it comes out.

Growler

May 23rd, 2012
10:25 pm

But Rodney, the 132,000,000 votes are the ‘tween and teen girls (and their moms) texting/dialing hundreds of times each. That’s how Phillip survived as long as he did to begin with. If anything, that huge inflated total guaranteed that Phillip’s name was going to be announced. The show lost viewers because it is old and stale and needs BIG changes — in the voting procedures and a brand new panel of judges. Will it happen? Probably not. And viewership will keep eroding, and WGWG’s will keep winning.

Yummicake 2001

May 23rd, 2012
10:26 pm

I have loved Phillips unique style and modest personality since his audition. I am so happy he won and no matter what the naysayers spout off, he deserves this.

JD

May 23rd, 2012
10:34 pm

Justin wasn’t from Georgia, Eldrin was, but Justin lived in Maryland I think.

sofasu

May 23rd, 2012
10:35 pm

Congrats Phillip! I’m so happy you won and can’t wait to buy your CD.
You have been so humble throughout this entire season and I’m so proud that you always remained true to yourself.

Old timer

May 23rd, 2012
10:36 pm

Yea GA..We go

tbone

May 23rd, 2012
10:37 pm

He Should not have won it shoud have been Josh american Idol is a joke Josh was the best vocal on that show and got sent home. this show is fixed and it is a F-ing JOKE

Fun Size

May 23rd, 2012
10:37 pm

I’ve watched American Idol since it started, last night I voted for the first time ever….for Phillip Phillips ;o) He is humble and talented, totally deserves to be the winner. Now he can go get better and make an awesome CD!!.

JD

May 23rd, 2012
10:38 pm

Sorry, Justin grew up in PA, I guess since he was conceived in GA and born in Columbus, that counts.

Rodney Ho

May 23rd, 2012
10:39 pm

Justin spent summers here. He never really lived here per se but he has what I consider meaningful Georgia ties thanks to Eldrin Bell.

Rodney Ho

May 23rd, 2012
10:39 pm

Justin recently told me he spent a lot of time in Candler Park, which is right up the street from me!

Julie

May 23rd, 2012
10:40 pm

Congrats to Phillip. And also to Diana DeGarmo. It was funny watching her go from confusion to seeing the realization of what he was about to do come across her face. Such an adorable couple. Love is always a wonderful thing.

ACE

May 23rd, 2012
10:40 pm

ROHO, thanks for another great year. It has been fun being a part of the blog.

Bullochdawg

May 23rd, 2012
10:40 pm

Congrats Phil!
The target market for AI is teenage girls. Of course the guy with a guitar is going to get the teenie bopper vote. Pretty sure the producers are aware of this.

Alex

May 23rd, 2012
10:40 pm

tbone
May 23rd, 2012
10:37 pm

Thank you, judge Randy. Or is it JLo?

Mercedes S.

May 23rd, 2012
10:40 pm

Decided to read the slow blog after the live one, so I kept local news on and there was a sweet interview with Hollie talking about PP, followed by a visit to Leesburg where all 3 000 inhabs were gathered outdoors watching the town’s pride and joy win. Go Phillip! And get well!

Yummicake 2001

May 23rd, 2012
10:40 pm

hey tbone…get over it!

JD

May 23rd, 2012
10:41 pm

Ok, we still don’t have a judge’s save winning AI. Meanwhile Josh fans are still complaining. Josh can sing, and will, but you just didn’t vote enough.

SoGaGurl

May 23rd, 2012
10:41 pm

We are all very proud of Phillip in South Georgia! What an amazing and humble young man…

Mercedes S.

May 23rd, 2012
10:42 pm

Simplest way to stop WGWGs from winning: just ban the instruments.

DamntheButcher

May 23rd, 2012
10:42 pm

Fantasia is gaining weight like its going out of style. I didnt understand a word she sang tonight? Did anyone?

Rodney Ho

May 23rd, 2012
10:42 pm

We don’t know who actually votes. Sure, it’s likely to be far younger than the average viewer (age 50). And the teens and tweens are probably more dedicated to voting 500 times. So yes, that certainly has helped David Cook/Kris Allen/Lee DeWyze/Scotty McCreery/Phillip Phillips.

Yummicake 2001

May 23rd, 2012
10:43 pm

Thanks Mercedes!

Alex

May 23rd, 2012
10:44 pm

DamntheButcher
May 23rd, 2012
10:42 pm

She looks like a linebacker. Maybe she was just shouting out some signals

Dianne Watters

May 23rd, 2012
10:45 pm

Phillip,
I voted for you the whole way. I knew you would be the one. Every time I closed my eyes to listen to you all. I could hear your voice on the radio. This is how I did my own judging of you guys. You did Georgia proud. Take care of yourself and I wish you a wonderful career. God bless you and your family.

Alex

May 23rd, 2012
10:46 pm

I wonder why JstankHo didn’t run on stage, grab the mic and chastise the voting public again?

bknsty14

May 23rd, 2012
10:47 pm

I understood nothing that came out of her mouth. Just screaming for the sake of screaming. Terrible.

Mercedes S.

May 23rd, 2012
10:47 pm

Goodnight, all, and thank you Rodney for making Idol bearable to watch tonight by letting us vent. Catsuits worse offenders than screaming tonight. Man/Fantasia combo worst Idol Moment Ever.

janis

May 23rd, 2012
10:48 pm

Best highlight of tonight’s th finle was Jessica singing with Jennifer Holiday. Award winning moment. Worst moment was when the winner was announced and it was the untalented PP. What a sad end to a decent season. Second time in 11 years America got it wrong. Jessica will end up the other second place winner who still outshines Season 2’s actual wi

WGWG

May 23rd, 2012
10:48 pm

Why does society hate it so much when white guys are successful?

MyPatootie

May 23rd, 2012
10:51 pm

The only thing shocking to me about all this is the fact PP wasn’t country. The state of GA has sent a pile of male country stars to Nashville in the last few years, so the odds were that he would be country. Maybe he can be “converted”.

JD

May 23rd, 2012
10:51 pm

Not sure even Josh supporters could say anything good about The Fantasia duet. Did like the thing he did on the “singing the phonebook” skit.

rmills

May 23rd, 2012
10:52 pm

jessica should have won it. but i hate to say this, this years contestants were nowhere near as good as the ones last year. i will definitely not buy any cd’s or anything that philip philips puts out because he can’t sing whatsoever

AIFan

May 23rd, 2012
10:54 pm

Seriously, if Joshua Ledet and Jessica Sanchez can’t beat a WGWG who was sick, and even at his best is a mediocre singer, I don’t think anyone will ever again. WGWG will reign forever unless there are voting changes. AI is still the premiere showcast for young talent, but it could make people think twice about trying out for the Voice or some other show instead.

JD

May 23rd, 2012
10:54 pm

Just my opinion, but my best duet of the night goes to Reba and Skylar. I thought Jennifer Holliday was going to swallow Jessica any minute.

bknsty14

May 23rd, 2012
10:57 pm

reba/skylar was best followed by hollie/jordan. then Screamin’ J/F Word

Cat

May 23rd, 2012
10:57 pm

I am still laughing about the Fantasia performance. If she had done that at the auditions when Simon was there, she would have never made it to Hollywood. What an embarrassment to Idol!

ACE

May 23rd, 2012
10:58 pm

A judges save should never win unless you think their vote means more than yours. What they did was take a majority decision to vote Jessica off and changed the results. So Jessica got voted off twice and if they had another save they would have changed tonights outcome.

dawgmom

May 23rd, 2012
10:58 pm

I’m way older than the “normal” demographic for Idol, but my husband and I are audiophiles with an extensive music library and a sound system worthy of the “best of the best”.

For the first time ever, I voted for an Idol contestant — Phillip. His voice, musicality, ability to make a song his own but conform to normality when needed showed us he is a true talent and we are willing to back him 100%.

Congratulations to a true musical talent!

JD

May 23rd, 2012
10:58 pm

bknsty14 –
I liked Hollie and Jordan too. Who is Screamin’ J/F Word???

JD

May 23rd, 2012
11:00 pm

Enter your comments here

Alex

May 23rd, 2012
11:02 pm

JD
May 23rd, 2012
10:58 pm

Screamin’ J is Joshua.

F Word is Fantasia.

Think about it……

JD

May 23rd, 2012
11:04 pm

Thanks Alex, it was confusing me because I would not have put their duet in the same sentence right below Reba/Skylar and Hollie/Jordan.

bknsty14

May 23rd, 2012
11:05 pm

I was kidding about that. They were the worst thing ever on Idol.

JD

May 23rd, 2012
11:07 pm

When I saw that Fantasia had split her pants before going onstage, I knew it would not go well.

bknsty14

May 23rd, 2012
11:08 pm

I always like Hollie. Have since the beginning. I realized a few weeks ago she reminds me of my high school girlfriend. That adds to it. She outsang Jordin tonight.

Alex

May 23rd, 2012
11:09 pm

JD
May 23rd, 2012
10:58 pm

As I said in the previous article, it was the lowest point EVER on AI performances.