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Taylor Hicks Basks In 'Idol' Win

Taylor Hicks reacts after being announced the winner of season five of American Idol on Wednesday, May 24, 2006, in Los Angeles. At left is runner-up Katharine McPhee. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)
AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian
"Stars do fall on Alabama."

That's how an ecstatic Taylor Hicks summed up his night after being voted the new "American Idol" Wednesday.

The Birmingham, Ala., 29-year-old, who wooed viewers with his raw singing style, wild dance moves and an unlikely mop of gray hair, said he wanted to travel back home to his legions of "Soul Patrol" fans, whom he thanked onstage the moment he won.

Then, he added, he wants to record a "really good" album, "with soul."

"I'm heading to the studio as quickly as I can," he said. "But I'll take a few days off to clear my head."

Hicks told The Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman he hasn't been able to sleep yet.

"This is a dream, the American dream," he told Kauffman. And he says he would love to tour with younger R&B and rock artists such as John Legend and John Mayer. Hicks' victory earned him a recording contract and a new car.

The announcement came after a grand finale Wednesday night that included two hours of performances by this year's finalists, past contestants and several surprise celebrity guests.

The results show took place at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles. Fans of local favorite Katharine McPhee were gathered in nearby Universal City and Taylor's fans were rooting for him in his hometown of Birmingham, Ala. Both groups were shown on the Kodak's big screen live via satellite.

McPhee tells CBS News she wasn't sad about taking second place.

"It wasn't sadness, it was more like bittersweet feeling of graduating from high school," she said. McPhee also told Kauffman that she had the time of her life at the contest. She said "doors are starting to open."

The show's fifth and best-rated edition took a leap in stature Wednesday when Prince, Mary J. Blige and other big names performed during the finale. The series has given big boosts to the album sales of pop stars who have appeared on it.

More than 63 million votes were cast, "more than any president in the history of our country has received," Seacrest said. Specific tallies for Hicks and McPhee were not immediately announced.

The finale opened with last year's winner, Carrie Underwood, and this year's 12 finalists all dressed in white singing Barry Manilow's "I Made It Through The Rain."

The evening included duets with the show's 12 finalists paired with surprise celebrity guests. Pairings of contestants and stars on the "Idol" finale included Paris Bennett and Al Jarreau; McPhee and Meat Loaf; Chris Daughtry and Live; Elliott Yamin and Blige; Hicks and Toni Braxton, and the dozen finalists with Burt Bacharach and Dionne Warwick.

But, Prince's performance was the biggest surprise of all. He sang a medley of songs toward the end of the show.

Earlier, teen finalist Paris Bennett was brilliantly paired with jazz great Al Jarreau, to sing his "We're In This Love Together." Rocker Chris Daughtry joined Live to sing "Mystery" and Katharine teamed up with Meat Loaf to sing "It's All Coming Back To Me Now."

In between the songs, there were various attempts at comedy, some more successful than others.

Country girl Kellie Pickler, who was teased during the contest for her malapropisms and not knowing what calamari was, did a few segments with celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck.

Kellie got her first reluctant taste of escargot and Puck managed to send her screaming from the table when he introduced her to a few live lobsters.

2Other silliness included the Golden Idol Awards which "honored" the very worst performances the judges had to endure during the show's auditions.

One of the awards was for "best" celebrity impersonation. The winner: nerdy contestant Michael Sandeki, for his impersonation of Season 2 runner-up Clay Aiken.

Michael was asked to sing his audition song, Elton John's "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me," and looked genuinely surprised when the real Clay joined him on stage.

Divided up by gender, the six female finalists and six male finalists each had a chance to sing a medley of songs.

The six male finalists, Chris, Taylor, Ace Young, Bucky Covington, Elliott Yamin and Kevin Covais sang Bachman Turner Overdrive's "Taking Care of Business," Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop," and John D. Loudermilk's blues/rock classic "Tobacco Road."