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‘Home,’ sweet ‘Home’? Not to the new American Idol

By Rodney Ho, The Atlanta Journal-Constiution –

ATLANTA — Phillip Phillips is his own man. That is what’s admirable about the singer, the first “American Idol” winner from Georgia after 11 seasons of the still-popular Fox show.

But that same quality also could give a future record label and managers some headaches.

Already Phillips has created a minor ruckus, saying the song “Home” — performed after he was crowned this year’s “Idol” on last Wednesday night’s season-ending show — is not the type of tune he plans to sing down the road, almost disavowing it. A bit ironic considering “Home” got great feedback from the show’s live audience, and it could end up being a radio hit.

At last week’s post-finale conference call with reporters, he discussed how the song came to him. “They felt it was the right fit for me. It’s a good song, but it’s not something I’d write. I’m glad people like it.

“It’s a little too pop for me. I’m a little more rock than that.”

Phillips’ “Idol” win comes after Georgia saw four previous runners-up from the state come oh-so-close: Justin Guarini (Season 1), Diana DeGarmo (Season 2), Bo Bice (Season 4) and Lauren Alaina (Season 10). The hero of tiny Leesburg, Ga., also touched on these topics:

On his post-victory emotions: “I didn’t even really want to sing or anything. I was so shocked. … I honestly didn’t think I was going to win.”

Worst “Idol” performance? “Time of the Season.” He wished he could have heard more sound in his inner ear. “That was a pretty bad performance. You can’t go back and change it. You can’t be mad about it. It’s all over with now.”

On his bout with kidney pain: Phillips wasn’t elaborative, saying he had to get it fixed up “pretty soon.” He said he almost left the show at least twice because of the pain, but a doctor helped him manage it through the show’s finale.

Will he miss any of the upcoming “Idol” tour? “I’ll be 100 percent by then. I’m excited.”

On sticking to his guns: “It’s good to just not let people try to change you. It gets tough when a lot of people are coming your way trying to tell you what you should do or not do. I know myself better than anyone. I know what’s best for me.”

On leaving Leesburg, Ga.: “I think I’m going to be moving. I got a lot of things I have to do in a lot of places.”

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