Scotty McCreery is the great winner of American Idol 2011

“Never in my wildest dreams [did I think I’d win]. I’ve got to thank the Lord first, he got me here. Thank y’all so much!” McCreery said after learning that he is the winner.

A record 122 million votes were registered, totaling 730 million for the season.

The singer with a deep and gentle voice, often compared to Josh Turner, performed a piece of his own on Tuesday, “I Love You This Big,” besides “Gone” by Montgomery Gentry and “Check Yes or No” by George Strait. He also sang “Live Like You Were Dyning” with Tim McGraw, the composer of the song.

Lauren Alaina, a country artist at heart, turned to a more lyrical pop to entice viewers to the show, performing a song called “Like My Mother Does.” Being 16, she is the youngest finalist in the history of American Idol.

Artists gathered on stage before the winner was announced. Lady Gaga, Carrie Underwood, Bono, Jennifer Lopez, Tony Bennett, Marc Anthony and Beyonce were present.