Phillip LaDon Phillips, Jr. (born September 20, 1990) is an American singer-songwriter, who won the eleventh season of American Idol on May 23, 2012. His coronation song "Home", released after his win, became the best selling of all coronation songs. His debut album The World from the Side of the Moon was released on November 19, 2012. His second album, Behind the Light, will be released on May 19, 2014.
Phillips was born in Albany, Georgia, to Sheryl and Phillip LaDon "Donnie" Phillips, Sr., and moved to Leesburg, Georgia when he was twelve. He grew up in Sasser and Leesburg, and attended Lee County High School. He graduated from Albany Technical College with a major in Industrial Systems Technology, but missed the graduation ceremony due to his obligations to American Idol. Prior to appearing on American Idol, he worked at his family's pawn shop.
Phillips started playing music, particularly the guitar, when he was 14. He was mentored by his long-time friend and brother-in-law, Benjamin Neil, whom he credited for piquing his interest in music. In 2009, he formed the Phillip Phillips Band with Neil and another brother-in-law, Todd Urick, and performed in various local venues and events. He won a local singing competition, "Albany Star", in 2010. Phillips said his favorite singer is Jonny Lang, and other favorites include John Butler, Dave Matthews and Damien Rice, and he also enjoyed Mumford & Sons and Tool. He said that he grew up mainly listening to 60's and 70's music like Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. He then said as he grew up, "Then as I got older I found Damien Rice and Dave Matthews and John Butler, which is what really set it off for me in terms of finding my voice as a musician." He described his music as "jazz and rock alternative sound".
Prior to trying out for American Idol, he also auditioned on the second season of America's Got Talent but did not make it to its finals.
Phillips auditioned in Savannah, Georgia. He sang "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder. The judges then asked him to perform a second song with his guitar, and he performed Michael Jackson's "Thriller." He advanced to the Hollywood rounds, and later to the Las Vegas round.
On February 23, 2012, Phillips was chosen as one of the Top 25 semi-finalists, and then voted into the Top 13. His performance style on the show has been compared to Dave Matthews, and he covered one of his songs, "The Stone", in the competition. When asked about Phillips' imitation of his style, Dave Matthews said: "More power to him, I don't mind", and added "He should kick my ass, [then] maybe I can retire and he can take over my band."
After the Top 13 performance night, Phillips was taken to a doctor for possible kidney stones. He had eight procedures while he was on Idol, and had considered quitting the show due to the pain.
For his Top 3 performance, Phillips sang Bob Seger's "We've Got Tonight." As the sole contestant who was never in jeopardy of elimination in any week of the competition, Phillips became the winner on the finale against Jessica Sanchez after a record-breaking total of 132 million votes were cast. His coronation song, "Home", was released after his performance, and had the biggest digital sales week for any Idol winner's coronation song.
|American Idol season 11 performances and results|
|Episode||Theme||Song choice||Original artist||Order #||Result|
|Audition||Auditioner's Choice||"Superstition"||Stevie Wonder||N/A||Advanced|
|Hollywood 1||First Solo||"Papa's Got a Brand New Bag"||James Brown|
|Hollywood 2||Group Performance||"Broken Strings"
with Heejun Han, Richie Law and Jairon Jackson
|James Morrison feat. Nelly Furtado|
|Hollywood 3||Second Solo||"Wicked Game"||Chris Isaak|
|Las Vegas||Songs of the 1950s
|"I Only Have Eyes for You"
with Neco Starr, Jairon Jackson and Heejun Han
|Dick Powell & Ruby Keeler|
|Final Judgment||Final Solo||"Nice & Slow"||Usher|
|Top 25 (13 Men)||Personal Choice||"In the Air Tonight"||Phil Collins||9|
|Top 13||Stevie Wonder||"Superstition"||Stevie Wonder||13||Safe|
|Top 11||Year They Were Born||"Hard to Handle"||Otis Redding||1|
|Top 10||Billy Joel||"Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)"||Billy Joel||6|
|Top 9||Their Personal Idols||
Trio "Landslide" / "Edge of Seventeen" / "Don't Stop"
with Colton Dixon & Elise Testone
|Fleetwood Mac / Stevie Nicks||3|
|Solo "Still Rainin'"||Jonny Lang||9|
|Top 8||Songs from the 1980s||Solo "That's All"||Genesis||4|
Duet "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around"
with Elise Testone
|Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty||8|
|Top 7||Songs from the 2010s||
Duet "Somebody That I Used to Know"
with Elise Testone
|Gotye feat. Kimbra||3|
|Solo "Give a Little More"||Maroon 5||8|
|Top 7||Songs from Now & Then||"U Got It Bad"||Usher||4|
|"In the Midnight Hour"||Wilson Pickett||11|
|Top 6||Queen||"Fat Bottomed Girls"||Queen||5|
|Contestant's Choice||"The Stone"||Dave Matthews Band||11|
|Top 5||Songs from the 1960s||Solo "The Letter"||The Box Tops||2|
Duet "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'"
with Joshua Ledet
|The Righteous Brothers||4|
|British Pop||"Time of the Season"||The Zombies||8|
|Top 4||California Dreamin'||Solo "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?"||Creedence Clearwater Revival||1|
Duet "This Love"
with Joshua Ledet
Quartet "Waiting for a Girl Like You"
with Hollie Cavanagh, Joshua Ledet & Jessica Sanchez
|Songs They Wish They'd Written||"Volcano"||Damien Rice||8|
|Top 3||Judges' Choice||"Beggin'"||The Four Seasons||3|
|Contestant's Choice||"Disease"||Matchbox Twenty||6|
|Jimmy Iovine's Choice||"We've Got Tonight"||Bob Seger||9|
|Finale||Simon Fuller's Choice||"Stand by Me"||Ben E. King||2||Winner|
|Favorite Performance||"Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)"||Billy Joel||4|
|Winner's Single||"Home"||Phillip Phillips||6|
- ^Note 1 Due to the judges using their one save on Jessica Sanchez, the Top 7 remained intact for another week.
After winning American Idol, Phillips went on the American Idol LIVE Tour from July to September with the rest of the Top 10 finishers of season 11. He performed the National Anthem at the opening game of the 2012 World Series on October 24, 2012. On November 15, he joined forces with the PS22 chorus of Staten Island for a concert to raise money for those affected by Hurricane Sandy. He also performed at the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on December 6, 2012.
Phillips' coronation song, "Home", was a great success with sales of over 4 million copies in the US. It has been used in NBC's coverage of the Olympics, various commercials, film trailers, and TV shows. He performed "Home" on the PBS Independence Day celebration TV special, A Capitol 4th. He also appeared at the 83rd MLB All-Star Game held at Kansas City on July 10 and sang his coronation song. On October 9, 2012, he joined other musicians in the One World concert held in Syracuse University to honor the Dalai Lama. He also performed "Home" on the CNN Heroes special aired on December 2, 2012, and the CBS's A Home for the Holidays on December 19, 2012.
2012–2013: The World from the Side of the Moon
On October 15, Interscope announced that Phillips would release his debut album, titled The World from the Side of the Moon, on November 19, 2012. The album was produced by Gregg Wattenberg, with Phillips writing or co-writing the majority of the disc. On November 6, 2012, "Where We Came From" was released in advance of the album release as a free download on pre-order and for sale. The album debuted at No. 4 in the Billboard 200 with sales of 169,000 copies. The album was certified Platinum by RIAA in August 2013.
Starting January 29, 2013, Phillips began a tour in North America with Matchbox Twenty as their opening act. He also headlined ten college dates in January with a four-piece acoustic band, and a further college tour with an electric band from March through May after his tour with Matchbox Twenty. Nine of his college tour dates however were postponed due to his continuing health issue. From July 6 to October 5, 2013 he toured as the opening act for John Mayer's Born and Raised World Tour, followed by his own college tour and then further dates with John Mayer until December 17. He also performed at the international music festival Rock in Rio, in Rio de Janeiro on September 21, the same day as John Mayer and Bruce Springsteen. In 2014, a solo tour of Canada is also scheduled, as well as other dates in the US. The third single released from the album was "Where We Came From".
"Gone, Gone, Gone" from the album was released as a single on February 11, 2013. Phillips performed the song live on the March 14, 2013 edition of American Idol. "Gone, Gone, Gone" was also used as the twelfth season "send-off" song, played as the backing track for the montages that highlight each week's eliminated finalist.
2014: Behind the Light
in March 2013, Phillips stated that he was "always writing" and that his second studio album would be released sometime in 2014. The album, titled Behind the Light, is scheduled to be released on May 19, 2014.
On February 26, 2014, he announced the debut single from his second album, "Raging Fire". The single was released digitally on March 3, 2014. A promotional single, "Fly" was released alongside the album's pre-order on April 22, 2014.
He suffered from a congenital kidney condition that produces stones so large he cannot pass them. Soon after American Idol had finished, he had the kidney stones removed as well as reconstructive surgery done on his kidney.
- The World from the Side of the Moon (2012)
- Behind the Light (2014)
Awards and nominations
|2012||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Love Song||"Home"||Nominated|
|Choice Music: Breakout Artist||Himself||Nominated|
|2013||World Music Awards||World's Best Song||"Home"||Nominated|
|World's Best Male Artist||Himself||Nominated|
|Billboard Music Awards||Top Rock Song||"Home"||Nominated|
|Top Rock Album||The World from the Side of the Moon||Nominated|
|MuchMusic Video Awards||International Video of the Year - Artist||"Home"||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Male Artist||Himself||Nominated|
|Choice Rock Song||"Gone, Gone, Gone"||Nominated|
|American Music Awards||New Artist of the Year||Himself||Nominated|
- on American Idol
- at the Internet Movie Database
American Idol winner