Indian Idol 12 has finally found its winner in Pawandeep Rajan after a wait of almost nine months. The ‘greatest grand finale’, which started at 12 noon on Independence Day, climaxed with judges Himesh Reshammiya, Anu Malik and Sonu Kakkar handing over the shining trophy, a car and cheque of Rs 25 lakh to champion Pawandeep. Talking about his journey on the show, Pawandeep told indianexpress.com, “Indian Idol is a platform that gives a lot of respect to artists and the kind of exposure it gets you is unmatched. Through the course of the show, we got to sing so many songs, and had the best judges and guests to guide us. The reason I got back in the arena was not my will to win but my quest to learn. And I am thankful that after spending so many months on this show, we are now ready to playback.” From the Top 6 Finalists, Arunita Kanjilal and Sayli Kamble were declared as the first and second runners-up respectively and were awarded with a cheque of Rs. 5 lakhs respectively. The third and the fourth runners-up, Mohd. Danish and Nihal Tauro were awarded with a cheque of Rs. 3 lakhs respectively. All the top 6 finalists received a cheque of Rs. 75,000 from Raj Superwhite Soap and gift hampers from Colgate and Denver respectively. Marking the 75th episode of one of the longest-running singing reality shows, the finale saw some breathtaking performances by the top six contestants – Pawandeep Rajan, Arunita Kanjilal, Mohd Danish, Nihal Tauro, Sayli KambleandShanmukhapriya. Joining them were acclaimed singers Sukhwinder Singh, Mika Singh, Amit Mishra, Kumar Sanu, Javed Ali, Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan, who surprised the audience with their melodious acts. The 12-hour finale also saw guests like Shershaah cast Sidharth Malhotra, Kiara Advani, WWE champion Khali, Bade Achhe Lagte Hain lead pair Nakuul Mehta and Disha Parmar, among others. Television’s popular couple Bharti Singh and Haarsh Limbachiyaa joined the team for a special segment and left everyone in splits. South star Vijay Deverkonda also sent out a video message for his favourite Shanmukhapriya, leaving the young singer blushing. The grand finale was co-hosted by Aditya Narayan and Jay Bhanushali.