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[05/24/06 - 12:00 AM]
Taylor Hicks Is Crowned the "American Idol" Approximately 580 Million Total Votes Cast During Historic Fifth Season of Television's No. 1 Show

[via press release from FOX]

TAYLOR HICKS IS CROWNED THE "AMERICAN IDOL" Approximately 580 Million Total Votes Cast During Historic Fifth Season of Television's No. 1 Show

Prince Rocks the House Along with Guest Performers Clay Aiken, Burt Bacharach, Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, Al Jarreau, Live, Meat Loaf, Carrie Underwood and Dionne Warwick

The record-setting fifth season of AMERICAN IDOL came to a spectacular conclusion tonight as Taylor Hicks was crowned the winner during the live two-hour season finale on FOX. Hicks, 29, from Birmingham, AL, emerged as America's choice in a competition that began with tens of thousands of hopefuls who auditioned in San Francisco, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Greensboro, Las Vegas and Denver. Over the course of the season, viewers cast approximately 580 million votes in support of their favorite contestants.

Superstar singer/songwriter Prince made a surprise appearance on tonight's grand finale, performing two songs from his new album "3121" - "Lolita" and "Satisfied." The show also featured the Top 12 AMERICAN IDOL contestants performing with guest artists Clay Aiken, Burt Bacharach, Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, Al Jarreau, Live, Meat Loaf and Dionne Warwick. Last season's winner, Carrie Underwood, took the stage for the last time as the reigning American Idol, performing "Don't Forget to Remember Me." Among their multiple performances, McPhee sang "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" with legendary singer Meat Loaf, and Hicks was joined by Toni Braxton on "In the Ghetto."

Hicks is the fifth American Idol to be crowned, joining Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia and Carrie Underwood as winners of the coveted title, a major recording contract and a management contract.

Tuesday night's final performance show had the audience on its feet, as Hicks and co-finalist Katharine McPhee each performed three songs. Hicks sang "Do I Make You Proud," written by Absolute and Tracy Ackerman, while McPhee sang "My Destiny," written by Harry Sommerdahl, Hanne Sorvag and Tim Baxter. In addition, Hicks sang "Living for the City" and "Levon" and McPhee sang "Over the Rainbow" and "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree." The night was topped off by Daniel Powter's special performance of his hit single "Bad Day."

Tuesday's square-off featuring Hicks and McPhee marked AMERICAN IDOL's highest-rated final performance show ever among Adults 18-49 and Total Viewers. As the talent competition wound down tonight, IDOL concluded a tremendous season - gaining 2% in Adults 18-49 and 12% in Total Viewers versus the same telecasts last year, and gaining +9% in Adults 18-49 and +14% in Total Viewers versus the same weeks last season.

Fourteen-time Emmy-nominated AMERICAN IDOL is created and executive-produced by Simon Fuller, founder of 19 Entertainment, Ltd.; and executive-produced by Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO, FremantleMedia North America, Inc.; Nigel Lythgoe, President, 19 Television; and Ken Warwick, Executive Producer, FremantleMedia North America, Inc.

Go to AmericanIdol.com for all of your AMERICAN IDOL news. Check out photos from this season, along with special, behind-the-scenes information on AMERICAN IDOL. For photos of the finalists, please go to www.foxflash.com.





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· AMERICAN IDOL (FOX)











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