1. Grand Finale

    Wednesday, May 23rd 2012

    Posted by @IDOL_Insider

    Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez: Their journeys may have started in the same way, but their stories ended very differently.

    The finale kicked off with the Top 13 American Idol finalists performing Bruno Mars' "Runaway Baby," complete with break dancers. Then, Phillip took the stage to sing "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" and "Bad Moon Rising" with CCR's John Fogerty.

    After a look back at some fun Idol moments from the season (including several involving Steven Tyler's rear end), Fantasia joined Joshua ("Mantasia") for a rollicking performance of Elton John's classic, "Take Me to the Pilot."

    Idol's resident mentor, Jimmy Iovine, confessed in a video "love letter" to Jennifer Lopez that he often confused her name with Jessica's (he also had trouble with "Joshica").

    Then performances kept on coming. The top female finalists joined Chaka Khan for a medley of her hits before Rihanna took the stage for a super sexy performance of her latest hit, "Where Have You Been?" Then country queens Skylar Laine and Reba paired up to perform "Turn on the Radio."

    Next, Steven Tyler gave us a peek inside his "colorful" world, which involves a sloth, Playboy bunnies, and, yes, his organ – the one he used to write "Dream On." Then, Jessica Sanchez took the stage to reprise her show-stopping version of Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You."

    There were more performances yet to come. The top male finalists joined Neil Diamond to sing a medley of his hits, and in a hilarious video moment, the male and female finalists proved to Randy that they could indeed sing the phone book!

    Up next: Idol's own Jennifer Lopez took the stage for a sexy performance of "Goin' In" and "Follow the Leader." (The costumes — and the dance moves — provided plenty of eye candy!).

    Then came the shocker: Season 5 finalist Ace Young proposed to Season 3 runner-up Diana DeGarmo, live on the Idol stage. She said yes!

    Back to the performances. Hollie Cavanagh sang "You'll Never Walk Alone" with Idol winner Jordin Sparks, and the male finalists paid tribute to the Bee Gees.

    Another huge moment: Original "Dreamgirl" Jennifer Holiday joined Jessica Sanchez for a bring-the-house-down performance of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going."

    And it kept getting better: Aerosmith (including Idol's own Steven Tyler, of course) gave Idol fans a mini-rock concert, performing their new single "Legendary Child" and their classic hit, "Walk This Way."

    Finally, Jessica and Phillip performed a duet of the 1982 hit, "Up Where We Belong," and then it was time for the official results.

    Ryan dimmed the lights . . . after a staggering 132 million votes were counted, setting a new world record, our new American Idol is Phillip Phillips!

    Last year's Idol, Scotty McCreery, presented Phillip with his official trophy, and Ryan handed Phillip his guitar to sing his winning song, "Home." However, Phillip became too emotional to finish the song — after the confetti fell, he walked off the stage to hug his family. That wraps up Season 11 of American Idol. Congratulations, Phillip!