Watching Phillip Phillips' "Home" as the music of Olympic gymnastics last night, I began to wonder... is Phillip Phillips exploding the Idol bubble, and on his way to becoming Idol's first non-country music star since Chris Daughtry back in Season 5?
Well, it's still early (he hasn't even released his debut album yet), but based on the record breaking popularity of "Home", and the strong sales of his Idol compilation albums and singles, the indicators are he has a great shot.
Now, I was a Phillip fan on the show. Thought he deserved to win, loved many of his song interpretations (Beggin', You Got It Bad), and his natural authenticity, but also felt some of his interpretations fell flat (Movin' Out, The Letter), and therefore had some mixed feelings. He just didn't blow me away like my twitter girlfriend Haley Reinhart did the previous season in her run to 3rd place.
Then again, Haley's unbelievable powers of seduction could never be duplicated by some dude, so perhaps that comparison isn't entirely fair (though I'm sure some of you ladies reading this may disagree with me on that).
Anyhoo, the moment I knew Phillip was going to not only win the competition, but also become something much bigger than the typical Idol Bubble-Boy, was when he delivered his finessed, touching, sincere cover of "We've Got Tonight" on Top 3 night. After that, I knew he was the real deal and would become much more than just another "White Guy With Guitar" brick in the wall.
Of course, his best moments were still to come.
On finale performance night, after after two so-so numbers (Movin' Out and Stand By Me), Phillip delivered "Home" for the first time. With that twinkle in his eye and folksy beat he just slayed everyone who watched. When he delivered the final lyric of "Home" with such a sweet, awe-shucks charm I think EVERYONE immediately knew this was the greatest finale song since Kelly Clarkson back in Season 1 with "Moment Like This".
The next night was even bigger. When after being declared the winner he performed "Home" as the coronation, and before it ended put his guitar down and slowly walked off the stage into his mother's arms, it touched America right in the heart where all great songs lie. That's the moment it became clear P2 was about to blow the roof off the charts.
And blow the roof off the charts is exactly what he did. "Home" sold an incredible 278k downloads the 1st week it was released, more than any other coronation song in Idol history. It subsequently went Gold, and is now the Olympic gymnastics theme song. This is no small feat, and the song has been so well received on the telecast it's already shot back up to the Top 6 on iTunes (and still rising as of this typing).
Meanwhile, Phillip is currently on the Idol tour, but is writing and recording music along the way and is expecting an album to drop in November. He says it'll have a "rock, jazz, funk vibe with some acoustic stuff, too." (Damn, if that doesn't sound a lot like Haley).
He's also said that "Home" is not going to count as the 1st single from his album. Although he thinks it's a great song, he wants his own material to be the 1st album single since "Home" is a bit different in style than the music he's making.
I personally respect that self assuredness; it's one of the things about Phillip that makes him different than the typical starry-eyed Idol winner. Unlike the others who were a bit lost in how to approach their careers post-Idol, he's a very precocious 21 year old who truly understands who he is as an artist and what music he wants to make. His insistence on staying true to himself and his music reminds me a lot of my twitter girlfriend Haley and my twitter mama Crystal, both of whom fought the good fight to make sure their record labels let them make the music they wanted to make.
The good news for Phillip is that unlike Haley or Crystal he already has a tremendous head start. While Haley basically launched from a stand-still after waiting a year from her Idol run to release Listen Up!, and Crystal was hung out to dry by a lame-duck label when she released Farmer's Daughter, Phillip will be unleashing his album while the iron is hot, and with the full force of his label behind him.
Thus, I predict Phillip will indeed explode that Idol bubble and become the first non-country, platinum-selling superstar Idol has produced in 6 long years.
What say you?