American Idol Winner

More than 63 million votes were cast in the latest American Idol contest, which was won last night by Taylor Hicks of Birmingham, Alabama.

Hicks says singing after his opponent, Katharine McPhee, helped him win the contest.

He's anxious to begin recording, but first plans to take a few days off.

Hicks says he wants to record a "really good" album "with soul."

Hicks, of Birmingham, Alabama, is the latest in a string of Southern and Midwestern contestants to win the Fox talent contest.

Hicks seemed a longshot winner at his first audition after judge Simon Cowell gave him a thumbs-down and predicted that he didn't have a chance of advancing to the finals.

The polished McPhee attended the prestigious Boston Conservatory for a semester; Hicks has been a fixture on honky-tonk stages.

Hicks stomped across the set, with Cowell comparing him to a drunken dad at a wedding.