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Reality TV Interview

'American Idol' winner Phillip Phillips talks surgery, album, Jessica

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It was a long season on American Idol, especially for Phillip Phillips. While the 21-year-old pawn shop worker from Leesburg, Georgia began his journey through the Top 12 as one of the least noticeable contestants, things began to change for Phillip somewhere along the line, and he became known as one of the most original artists due to his unique take on the given songs. It didn't hurt that he was a hit with the ladies, either. Finally, after making it to the finals alongside Jessica Sanchez, Phillip was crowned the winner during Wednesday night's live finale.

'American Idol' final: Phillip Phillips performs his first single 'Home'.

© Fox / Michael Becker



We caught up with Phillip on Thursday to hear about his Idol experience and his plans for the future...

What were you thinking when they called your name as the winner last night?
"Um, honestly, I don't think I had any thoughts - I was just in shock and just overwhelmed and didn't know how to process it all. I didn't know what I was thinking the whole rest of the night, honestly."

You were quite emotional after winning... what were you feeling?
"Yeah, man, I didn't really want to sing or anything. I was just so shocked and I started thinking about the whole Top 12 and started thinking about how far I'd come. It was just so crazy and just amazing. It got me a little emotional."

What did Jessica have to say after your win?
"She just was so proud of me. She says she knew it but I honestly didn't know it. I honestly thought she was going to win it. She has such an amazing voice and we're so proud of each other no matter the outcome."



Do you feel pressure to achieve mainstream success?
"You know, it's great, but I'm not someone that is going to go do something that's too mainstream. That's just not me. If it goes mainstream, that's cool, but it'll just be cool for people to enjoy the music I put out. I'm excited to put out my record."

How did 'Home', your first single, come about?
"They put the song out there that people wrote for me. I wanted to do my own songs that I'd written, but with the short amount of time and recording live and everything, I went with it. It was a good song - not something I would really write, but it's a good song by a good writer."

What will your own album be like? What can fans expect from it?
"Kind of like jazz and rock, that sort of stuff. I'm really excited to get it out there - it's going to be cool."

'American Idol' final: Jessica and Phillip duet on 'Up Where We Belong' by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes

© Fox / Michael Becker



Your girlfriend has been around to support you throughout the competition - will she get to come on tour with you?
"Yeah, she's so excited for me and has helped me out a lot through this. Maybe she'll be able to come on tour with me. That'd be cool to have her there. She's just always there and I love her to death."

You've talked a bit about your kidney problems and will undergo surgery soon. Can you tell us more?
"Yeah, my right kidney just isn't kind of functioning and I need a little help with that so kind of have to get that fixed up pretty soon. I'll get surgery soon - not just quite yet, but soon. I believe I should be 100% by the time the tour starts, so I won't miss anything."

What was it like to sing with John Fogerty during the finale?
"It was so awesome! He's such a nice guy and it was a pleasure being on the stage with him. He wished me the best and hopefully my career in music will see us work together again."



What was the best moment of the season for you?
"Honestly, just meeting everyone because I love these kind of people - everyone is so nice and really willing to help you out, from PAs to camera guys and producers. Everyone just seemed so awesome and getting to know everyone throughout the process [was amazing]."

Are you looking forward to the Idol tour this summer?
"Oh, it's really just going to be fun. I'll be singing a lot of songs - there will be a lot of jam band music!"

What did you learn about yourself as a musician?
"It's really good to just not let people try to change you. It gets tough with a lot of people coming your way, telling you what you should do and shouldn't do. But you know yourself better than anyone else, so you know what's best for you. I'm quite proud of how I stuck to my guns."

How have you adjusted with being in the spotlight?
"I'm still adjusting... It's pretty crazy right now so I'm still trying to take all of it in and find peace with it. It's definitely different."

American Idol airs on Fox.

Photo gallery - American Idol's finale in pictures:

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