Kelly Clarkson, who wowed U.S. viewers with her singing on television this summer, was crowned Fox's first "American Idol" on Wednesday, beating out rival Justin Guarini for the title. Clarkson then went on to sing an emotional version of "A Moment Like This," one of two songs written for the show, which will be released soon as a record.
The night before, the show featured a final face-off between Clarkson, a 20-year-old former cocktail waitress, and Guarini, a 23-year-old former door-to-door salesman. Each sang three songs, including the two written for the series. Many had predicted a close race between the final pair, but the actual margin of victory was far from a cliffhanger. Clarkson -- who was picked to win by all three judges -- took about 58 percent of the vote to Guarini's 42 percent.
An estimated 15.5 million phone votes for the finalists were cast after the show, bringing the total to more than 100 million during the series run that began in early June.