Taylor Hicks was crowned "American Idol" at the conclusion of the Fox show's two-hour fifth season finale Wednesday night (May 24) at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Competing against 22-year-old Kath

Silver-haired Southerner Taylor Hicks was crowned "American Idol" at the conclusion of the Fox show's two-hour fifth season finale Wednesday night (May 24) at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Competing against 22-year-old Katherine McPhee, the 29-year-old Birmingham native brought in the most of the 63.4 million votes after Tuesday night's performance show.

As his prize, the new "American Idol" will be awarded a recording contract within the RCA Music Group. Hicks' show-closer "Do I Make You Proud" written by Tracy Ackerman, Andrew Watkins and Paul Wilson is expected to be included on the forthcoming effort.

Highlights of the night included McPhee and Hicks performing "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" prior to the winning announcement and Prince's surprise appearance at the star-studded event. He performed "Lolita" and "Satisfied" from his latest album "3121" (Universal).

The season finale also included Mary J. Blige and third to last finalist Elliott Yamin dueting on U2's "One," a group tribute to special guest Burt Bacharach with vocalist Dionne Warwick and an appearance by former Idol contestant Clay Aiken. Chris Daughtry performed along side of Live on "Mystery" and Paris Bennett tackled "We're in this Love Together" with Al Jarreau.

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