American Idol favorites spanning all eleven seasons graced the stage to perform during the two-hour season finale alongside big-name celebrities such as Rihanna, Neil Diamond, Reba McEntire, Chaka Khan, and Idol's very own Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. The men of season eleven also sang a touching tribute to the late Robin Gibb with a catalogue of the singer's greatest hits.
Amidst the back-to-back showstoppers, host Ryan Seacrest found a moment to pluck season three alums Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo from the audience for a very special surprise marriage proposal. In the presence of millions, a tearful DeGarmo joyfully accepted the ring.
When it finally came down to the nitty gritty, Seacrest brought Phillips and Sanchez to the stage to hear their fate. The nervous twosome were asked to say a few words before the announcement, and both laid their gratitude to the fans for their support throughout the competition.
"It's been such an honor," said Phillips of the life-changing experience.
"We wouldn't be in this position without you," Sanchez added in appreciation.
Ultimately, 21-year-old Phillips was revealed to be the season 11 winner. Previous champion Scotty McCreery passed on the torch to Phillips as he sang his coronation song, Home. Overcome by tears, the newly-crowned Idol was unable to finish the song, retreating to the embrace of his parents in the front row.