"American Idol" finalists Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez competed in three close rounds for part one of the show's season finale.
16-year-old Jessica kicked off the night singing Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing" in front of the 7,000 'Idol' fans that packed into the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.
21-year-old Phillip followed with a rendition of "Stand By Me" that di NOT win over the judges. Both Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez guessed that Round 1 went to Jessica, although J.Lo admitted that the two performers are polar opposites in style, making it difficult to compare them to one another.
Round 2 ended in a tie, as far as the judges were concerned. Phillip sang Billy Joel's "Movin' Out", while Jessica performed Celine Dion's "The Prayer".
The judges were baffled by Jessica's song choice for the third and final round, which ultimately went to Phillip. Jessica chose the pop ballad "Change Nothing", which seemed inappropriate for her. Steven Tyler said: "I just didn't feel like that song was the proper song for you to sing with the voice and the places you've taken the world before this."
Phillip, on the other hand, earned a standing ovation from the judges for his version of "Home", which Randy called "the best performance of the night." The song could be his first single.
Special guest performers included Jason Derulo, who performed his new song "Undefeated", which was partially fan-written, as lyrical submissions were accepted as a part of a promotion with Idol and Coke.
Scotty McCreery, last season's winner, returned to the show to perform his version of Tim McGraw's 1999 hit single, "Please Remember Me". Scotty re-recorded the tune for 'Idol' season 11's "goodbye song".