After a record 132 million votes, Phillip Phillips was crowned American Idol's 11th season champ Wednesday, and the 21-year-old Leesburg, Ga., singer is riding high on cloud nine.
"It's so unreal: it hasn't sunk in yet!" Phillips told Us Weekly backstage after triumphing over 16-year-old runner-up Jessica Sanchez at L.A.'s NOKIA Theater. "[My win is] such a blessing and I am trying to comprehend it all."
Blowing the judges — and the voting public — away with his Tuesday night performances of "Stand By Me," "Movin' Out" and his coronation song, "Home," Phillips is the first to admit he never thought he'd even make it to Idol's finale.
"I didn't think I would make it to the judges' [round]," Phillips — who was gifted with a new Ford car along with his 19 Recordings contract on Wednesday's finale — admitted. "I am the first to admit I can't sing — I am just one who likes having fun on stage."
Set to undergo surgery to alleviate recent health issues before Idol's summer tour kicks off July 6 in Detroit, Mich., Phillips has completed the ultimate Idol transformation into a bonafide superstar, says Steven Tyler.
"He''s real. We watched him go from a guy that was pulling himself out of his soul to a guy who can sing a melody line without feeling uncomfortable," judge Tyler told Us. "He's just really evolved and he's been vulnerable."
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