'American Idol' Phillip Phillips: Humble, happy and hurting
Three thousand, six hundred miles from home, but with no place he’d rather be, Phillip Phillips became Georgia’s first “American Idol” on Wednesday night, besting friend and fellow-contestant Jessica Sanchez for the title. On Thursday, the newly crowned “Idol” spoke to CTV.ca in a revealing post-finale conference call about his present, his future and his health.
He may be flying everywhere now that he’s been named the next “American Idol,” but Phillip Phillips appears to be as grounded as ever. Only months removed from working with his dad in a family-owned pawn shop, the 21-year-old woke up on Thursday morning as the new “American Idol,” with his debut single “Home” already claiming the top spot on iTunes.
“It’s pretty insane man. It’s such a blessing,” said the pride of Leesburg, Georgia, who was only beginning to absorb what had happened.
What makes his run, and ultimately his championing on the show all-the-more incredible, is learning that Phillips suffered from a severe kidney problem that required him to have a stint placed in his back for a majority of the competition.
“I had some pretty bad days, and I had some pretty good days. It was rough at times. I had a lot of great doctors and a lot of great people who helped me out through it… I’m blessed to have that,” proclaimed a thankful Phillip, who divulged that he was close to leaving the show due to his health scare. He plans to have surgery in the very-near future to fix the problem.
With a tour and album planned, Phillips admitted his debut single is not indicative of the direction he sees his career going in.
“It’s a little too pop for me… It’s a very good song and I’m glad people like it, I guess I’m a little more rock than that, and hopefully people will enjoy what I have to put out,” stated the triumphant Phillips.
Humble and exhausted from the experience, Phillips admitted there were obvious pressures to conform. “It gets tough when a lot of opinions are coming your way telling you what you should do and what you shouldn’t do,” he said. “You know yourself better than anyone else knows you and you know what’s best for you. I’m proud for how I stuck to my guns.”
With so much going on around him throughout the season on “Idol,” Phillips said that his favourite aspect of the show was interacting with those who made it all possible, both behind the scenes and in front of the camera. “Everyone is so nice and they all want to help you out… It was just so awesome to meet everyone throughout the process,” said a grateful Phillips. He also touched on Jennifer Lopez’s rumoured departure from “Idol,” saying it would be “horrible” if she left. “She cares about each one of us and she’s a great woman, hopefully she stays.”
With each performance on “Idol,” Phillips’ flamboyant female fan base grew in numbers and subsequently became louder. While Phillips is appreciative of all his fans, he made it known that he is in love with two things: his girlfriend (sorry ladies!) and his music. “I’m all about the music man; I’m not trying to be some cute guy that’s successful off that,” Phillips exclaimed adamantly, hoping he’ll be able to combine the two by bringing his girlfriend on the “Idol” tour this summer.
Admitting he isn’t the strongest singer, but acknowledging that he has something unique to offer which previous “Idols” have lacked, Phillips said that he had no idea that more than half of the 132 million votes cast on Tuesday night would be in his name.
“I honestly didn’t think I was going to win at all. I was caught so off guard,” he said. Phillips’ love and respect for co-finalist Jessica Sanchez was also evident, as he did not shy away from declaring her performance with Jennifer Holliday on Wednesday night as the best of the night.
It may be some time before Phillips entirely comprehends where he is today, but as he prepares to embark on a journey where he will hope to translate “Idol” success into artist glory, he made it clear that he is forever thankful for all that has happened.
“I just feel so blessed to have this all happen, it’s still unreal to me. I’m still trying to take it all in.”