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American Idol’ Finale: Phillip Phillips Wins Title Over Jessica Sanchez

Chula Vista singing sensation Jessica Sanchez finished second in the 11th season of "American Idol'' but isn't expected to fade away from the spotlight any time soon.

Finalists Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez with host Ryan Seacrest speak onstage during Fox's 'American Idol 2012' results show at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on May 23, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.
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Above: Finalists Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez with host Ryan Seacrest speak onstage during Fox's 'American Idol 2012' results show at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on May 23, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.

Sanchez, 16, embraced crooner Phillip Phillips of Leesburg, Ga., after host Ryan Seacrest announced that Phillips was the winner during Wednesday night's two-hour telecast. A record 132 million votes were cast, according to Fox.

Phillips praised his competition backstage after the show, saying Sanchez has got a huge future ahead of her. Sanchez, in turn, told reporters that Phillips deserved the win, having worked through a lot more issues than any of his competitors.

The 21-year-old Phillips is expected to have kidney surgery before the top 10 Idol finishers begin a 45-date concert tour July 6 in Detroit. The tour comes to San Diego's Valley View Casino Center, formerly the Sports Arena, on July 26.

"'I'm kind of relieved the whole thing is over,'' said Sanchez, who has endured a grueling schedule of interviews, photo shoots, rehearsals and performances in the past several weeks.

Had she won, Sanchez would have become the first female winner of

"Idol'' since Jordin Sparks, the 2007 champion.

The home-schooled Sanchez is the second runner-up from San Diego County. Adam Lambert, a Mount Carmel High School alumnus, finished second in 2009.

This was the first year Sanchez was old enough to compete on Idol but not the first time she competed on a big network TV show. At age 11, Sanchez competed in the first season of NBC's "America's Got Talent'' but didn't make it beyond the semi-finals.

On Idol, Sanchez was known throughout the season for belting out powerful pop songs made famous by the late-Whitney Houston and others. But the youthful Sanchez is now looking to do more.

"I want to (do) more like a Rihanna dance thing, but I don't want to compare myself to anybody -- more like the urban (music) thing, not straight pop,'' she said.

As part of his prize for winning Idol, Phillips automatically receives a $1 million recording contract. But due to her popularity and proven vocal skills, Sanchez is expected to have no trouble finding a record label to sign her.

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