Season 5 began in the US in January 2006. The final 12 were Melissa McGhee, Kevin Covais, Lisa Tucker, Mandisa, Bucky Covington, Ace Young, Kellie Pickler, Paris Bennett, Chris Daughtry, Elliott Yamin, Runner up Katharine McPhee and winner Taylor Hicks.
Taylor Hicks joined Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood as the only winners of American Idol to never be in the bottom three or two. It was revealed that a total of 63.5 million votes were cast in the finale round. A total of 580 million votes were cast in the entire season.
The finale was seen by some as the best yet, with surprise performances from stars such as Live, Mary J. Blige, and Toni Braxton singing duets with the members of the final 12. An additional performance by Prince was generally seen as a statement of Idol's acceptance in the music world.