Bishop was rooting for Phillips ahead of the finale on Wednesday night, and met him personally at a welcome-home celebration hosted by the show in Georgia.

“I had said at the recent homecoming celebration held in Leesburg in honor of Phillip that in our area of southwest Georgia, we have some of the best, the brightest, the most creative, and the most talented young people anywhere in the world. And Phillip Phillips proves that beyond the shadow of a doubt!” Bishop said in a statement. “He epitomizes the highest standards of perseverance, humility, and values that reflect the strongest foundations of character.”

Phillips beat runner-up contestant Jessica Sanchez to win the "Idol" crown. He was reportedly battling chronic kidney problems during the show's run and underwent eight surgeries during the competition.