Phillip Phillips, the 21-year-old from Leesburg, Ga., was anointed the winner of the 11th season of American Idol on Wednesday night. A fan and judges’ favorite, the easy-going singer sailed through the competition, never landing among the weekly bottom three.
By way of contrast, Jessica Sanchez, the 16-year-old from Chula Vista, Calif., whom Phillips prevailed over in the finals, was actually eliminated by viewer votes more than a month ago but was brought back by the judges.
Phillips, the fifth consecutive male Idol, had his detractors who saw him as mannered and egregiously derivative. But his supporters responded overwhelmingly to his distinctive style, his easy charm, and relaxed sexiness.