MANILA, Philippines — Guitar-strummming country crooner Philip Phillips won season 11 of “American Idol,” beating Filipino-Mexican singer Jessica Sanchez on Thursday (Manila time).
Philips got majority of the 132 million votes that came in during their final battle the previous night.
Fans and relatives of the 16-year old Sanchez in Samal, Bataan, her mother’s hometown, were dismayed when the result was announced.
View the announcement below:
Despite the rainy weather, hundreds of residents and journalists stayed at the town’s covered court to watch the live telecast of the results show.
Sanchez’s relatives wore shirts printed with “I Love You Jessica” as they cheered her on.
Filipinos in the US were also disappointed for not having a Filipino-American “Idol” this year, a radio report said.
Despite her loss to Phillips, there’s a silver-lining for Sanchez.
Casablanca Records co-owner and former Sony Records CEO Tommy Mottola will be working on Sanchez’s first record.
This was revealed by Mottola’s wife, Mexican singer/actress Thalia on her Twitter account.
Thalia, who has experienced huge fame and success in the Philippines in the 90s, had been a huge fan of Sanchez, whom she calls: “Mexicanita Filipina.”
“All the fans out there, thank y’all for voting for us,” said the boyish 21-year-old from Georgia before host Ryan Seacrest announced the result at the end of a two-hour gala season finale.
Phillips wowed the “Idol” judges during the Top 2 performance round.
His third song, and upcoming single, “Home” was well received and hailed as more radio-friendly than Sanchez’s final song, “Change Nothing.”
Phillips was given the sole standing ovation that night.
Critics say Sanchez’s chances dimmed with a less-than-impressive performance during Tuesday’s pre-vote sing-off.
Sanchez’s runner-up place is the highest finish of a singer of Filipino heritage on American Idol.
As of 10:20 a.m., a topic pertaining to Sanchez — #JessicaforTheWin — is trending on Twitter.
The finale is expected to be ratings gold for FOX Network, which has seen its viewership in a steady decline every year.
The show kicked off to performances from the Top 12 finalists, some of the biggest music stars and a marriage proposal.
“This is a big night!” host Ryan Seacrest said after the much-anticipated opening number.
The Top 12 girls and boys performed a medley of songs separately — the girls joined by R&B superstar Chaka Khan, the boys by singer-songwriter Neil Diamond.
Rihanna fired up the stage when she sang her top-selling single ”Where Have You Been?” while Idol judge Jennifer Lopez also blew the roof off the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles with two songs.
Judge Steven Tyler also rocked the house with his band Aerosmith.
But the scene-stealer was the marriage proposal of fifth season finalist Ace Young to Season 3 second place winner Diana Degarmo live on the “Idol” stage.
Sanchez’s duet with original Dreamgirl Jennifer Holliday was also a crowd-pleaser with both singers belting out the classic “And I Am Telling You, I’m Not Going.” Ironically, Sanchez earned a standing ovation for that duet.
View the performance below:
Though its ratings have fallen over the years, “American Idol” remains one of the most-watched shows of any genre on US television.
Its impact on popular music was reaffirmed this month with past contestants Adam Lambert and Carrie Underwood both taking turns at the top of the pop charts. (Joseph Holandes Ubalde, InterAksyon.com)