pp11 In a decision that probably surprised no one except Filipino voters and Jessica Sanchez’s family (and ardent fans), Phillip Phillips took home the American Idol crown during the show’s 11th season finale.  Phillips is the seventh guy to win Idol, with Jordin Sparks the last female singer to receive the honor in season six (in case you’re counting, after Sparks, the champs were David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, and Scotty McCreery).

Sanchez, who’s all of 16, has the polished, powerhouse voice many artists would love to have.   Phillips, however, is a completely deserving winner, as his easy like Sunday morning charm and innate sensitivity (watching him cry during his victory song was easily this season’s most evocative moment) was definitely endearing.  Plus, he pretty much sounds like Dave Matthews, which isn’t a bad thing either.

I’ve been a devoted Idol watcher since its second season (post Brian Dunkleman), and during the early years the finales actually had me truly guessing which hopeful would win it all (especially during the Taylor Hicks vs. Katharine McPhee and Ruben Studdard vs. Clay Aiken seasons).  The last five winners have all been cute (and talented) guys, which begs the question: did Crystal Bowersox, Lauren Alaina, and Jessica Sanchez know they actually stand a ghost of a chance during finals night?

American Idol’s train will continue to roll on, and even with the existence of The X Factor and The Voice, my interest in Idol still hasn’t waned.  I just wish the show still possessed that element of surprise, but as long as telegenic guys with guitars exist, a majority of Idol voters won’t change their tune, which actually is fine by me.  How it sits with the female contestants, however, is probably another story.

Phillip Phillips talks about what he’s learned from his American Idol experience:

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posted by Greg Srisavasdi (Twitter: @gsrisavasdi )