Watch All The Guest Performances of the ‘American Idol’ Finale [VIDEOS]
After 132 million votes from Tuesday night alone and weeks of impressive performances, “American Idol” has a new music superstar.
21-year-old Phillip Phillips beat 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez for the title of “American Idol” season 11 Wednesday night at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. As soon as Ryan Seacrest announced the winner, Phillip performed his new single, “Home,” which received rave reviews from the judges the night before. Phillip later joined his emotional family and judges in the audience.
It was the end of a finale which featured impressive performances from the biggest names in music as well as from the Top 12 contestants of the season.
The night began with the Top 12 singers performing “Runaway Baby” by Bruno Mars.
Phillip was given the opportunity to perform with one of his idols. Alongside John Fogerty, the two sang “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” and “Bad Moon Rising.”
After being eliminated the week before the finale, Joshua Ledet returned to the stage to perform Elton John’s “Take Me To The Pilot.” Joshua was joined by none other than Fantasia Barrino, the winner of season three.
The Top 12 females graced the stage to perform a medley of songs with Chaka Khan including “Ain’t Nobody” and “I’m Every Woman.”
Rihanna, who recently celebrated her 11th number one Billboard single, later arrived on stage to deliver her latest smash hit, “Where Have You Been?” She treated her performance like a full-fledge production with back-up dancers, costumes, lasers, smoke, and more.
Skylar Laine was lucky to perform on stage with one of her country musical inspirations. Joining country superstar Reba McEntire, the two performed “Turn On The Radio.”
Jessica then had the opportunity to perform one of her most memorable performances of the season with Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” Interesting to later find out Phillip didn’t have the opportunity to sing solo until he was crowned the winner.
The Top 12 guys returned once again to perform a medley of classic songs including Smash Mouth’s “I’m A Believer” and Neil Diamond’s “America.” In fact, Neil himself joined the guys halfway through the performance to sing “Sweet Caroline.”
Before she heads on tour this summer with Enrique Iglesias, judge Jennifer Lopez also wanted to showcase her musical abilities as she graced the stage performing two singles including “Follow The Leader,” featuring Wisin & Yandel and “Goin’ In” featuring Flo Rida.
An unexpected moment for the entire audience came soon after when season three runner-up Diana DeGarmo received one of the biggest surprises of her life as she arrived on stage. Season five’s Ace Young got on his knees and proposed to the “American Idol” alumna. With tears in her eyes, she said yes! Even Ryan admitted to getting chocked up at the moment.
Hollie Cavanagh, referred to as Tinkerbell from one-time guest mentor Will-I-am, was joined by season six winner Jordin Sparks for a performance. The two joined forces for a memorable rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
The Top 12 guys returned again to honor the late Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees. Robin appeared on the “Idol” stage just two years ago. The contestants performed a medley of the group’s most popular tunes.
What could be the most talked about performance of the night was Jennifer Holliday and Jessica Sanchez coming together to perform “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” It was a battle of the voices as both women wowed the audience and reached high notes at perfect pitch. Perhaps this is what Ryan was referring to before the show when he Tweeted, “Just saw one of the greatest tests of breath control at rehearsal… you’ll know what I’m talking about. Wow.”
Soon after Jennifer Lopez delivered a high-energy performance, Ryan had another major announcement for the audience. “I’ve been waiting two years to say this. Ladies and gentlemen, Aerosmith.” Yep, judge Steven Tyler and his band performed and even unveiled their first new song in six years titled, “Legendary Child.”
Before the votes were revealed, Jessica and Phillip took part in one final performance together. The two finalists sang “Up Where We Belong” by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes.
As the winner was finally announced and the streamers blew into the air, Ryan summed up the evening best on his Twitter. “What a night, what a year, can’t wait to do it again. #Thankyou.”
“American Idol” season 12 auditions are only weeks away. The first stop is Los Angeles on June 7.