LOS ANGELES: “American Idol” declared guitar-strumming Phillip Phillips the winner of its 11th season on US television Wednesday after viewers cast a record 132 million votes.
“All the fans out there, thank y'all for voting for us,” said the boyish 21-year-old from the southeastern US state of Georgia before host Ryan Seacrest announced the result at the end of a two-hour gala season finale.
Runner-up was Jessica Sanchez, 16, a southern Californian of Filipino and Latino heritage whose prospects, critics say, dimmed with a less-than-impressive performance during Tuesday's pre-vote sing-off.
Though its ratings have fallen over the years, “American Idol” remains one of the most-watched shows of any genre on US television.
Its impact on popular music was reaffirmed this month with past contestants Adam Lambert and Carrie Underwood both taking turns at the top of the pop charts.