Blues singer Phillip Phillips won the finale of "American Idol" on Wednesday night after a record 132 million votes were cast.
The 21-year-old from Leesburg, Ga., beat Jessica Sanchez, 16, of Chula Vista, Calif., for the title in the show's 11th season.
Before strapping on his guitar and performing his winner's single, "Home," Phillips took a moment to thank all those involved in the production of the FOX show, plus the fans.
"It's been such an honor to be up on this stage playing with everybody. Thanks to all the fans out there," he said. "Thanks for voting for us."
Sanchez added, "Thanks to the whole crew at 'American Idol' that made the show happen."
Last year's contest between winner Scotty McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina drew more than 122 million votes.
Phillips, who worked in a pawn shop before his time on "Idol," won a recording contract as part of his prize.
The two-hour finale featured performances by the top 12 finalists and stars including Neil Diamond, Rihanna, Reba McEntire plus judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler with his band, Aerosmith.
The night also featured a live marriage proposal involving two former contestants -- Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young.
DeGarmo, 24, who was runner-up in season three, said yes after 31-year-old Young, who placed seventh in season five, got down on one knee on stage in front of host Ryan Seacrest.
"This has always been home to us and I felt this was the perfect place to ask a simple question," Young said.
"We have conquered Broadway together, we have created new music together, we have an amazing group of people around us and, with the help of David Webb jewelry, I have a way to make this fun last forever. You ready?
"I love you to death, you're my best friend," he continued. "I want to make this last forever and I would do anything in my power to have the most imaginable and amazing life together, if you will have me. Diana Nicole DeGarmo, will you marry me?"
After nodding yes and kissing her new fiance, DeGarmo responded, "I'm so speechless right now! And my makeup's runnin' right now."
"Mine too," Seacrest added.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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