SPECIAL REPORT: Phillip Phillips rocks on - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

SPECIAL REPORT: Phillip Phillips rocks on

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Thursday night, a new American Idol will be crowned.  The past 12 months have been a whirlwind for reigning American Idol and Leesburg native Phillip Phillips.  


In just one year, Leesburg native Phillip Phillips went from playing small gigs around South Georgia, to traveling the country, promoting his hit debut album, "The World from the Side of the Moon."

"I never dreamed I would be here, playing shows and supporting my music.  Things have changed pretty intensely since Idol and since graduating high school. But it's been good. I'm very thankful for all that's happened and I feel very blessed," said Phillips.

Phillips says he never thought he would be crowned the American Idol season 11 winner, calling himself more of a music guy rather than a singer.

"Whenever Ryan called my name out I was kind of in shock.  I didn't want to play a guitar I didn't want to sing or anything. I just kind of wanted to sit down because I didn't know what happened. They gave me the guitar and if you look at the video, I look back am like what are we playing?"

That victory has thrown him into the limelight, allowing the 22 year-old music maker to do what he loves.

Shortly after Phillips won Idol, he had kidney surgery. But that didn't slow him down.

"This past year has been just really busy.  I've been touring and just playing a lot of shows non-stop. I don't get to go home too much. But it's been good. I've gotten to meet a lot of great people and make a lot of great friendships with a lot of people and do a lot of amazing things that not many people get to do. So it's been crazy."

Some of the highlights include scoring a platinum album, singing the national anthem at the world series, as well as singing his hit song Home at the Major League Baseball all star game. But this year long journey has also brought some surprises.

"The most surprising thing for me, it's not exactly what you think it is. It's a lot more, it's a lot of business side to it. And just a lot of different things that happen that you're not ready for."

The Lee County high alum says one of the biggest adjustments he's had to make is not coming back home to Leesburg.  "Coming back home, it's different for sure. If I'm walking around people definitely will notice me. But you know I like to come home and just kind of chill out, go see some friends or eat at some familiar places."

And his shot to stardom has brought more than fame.  "The downside, a lot of things change.  When something like this that happens it also brings out a lot of true colors as well. You get to figure out a lot of things."

Phillips has also had to prepare himself for criticism, something he tries to avoid.  "I remember going through Idol, it was like top 60 or top 40 or something and people were already talking about some of us, the contestants. And I remember somebody said something really bad about me and I said, well I'm not reading anything anymore. So I don't really read into it anymore. I just stay away from it and I do my thing and I have fun."

But even with all the craziness and criticism, Phillips says he wouldn't change a thing.

"I think I would do it again. I'm doing something I love and I'm very thankful for that because not many people get to do this. Yeah I would do it again."

And he's already preparing for another busy year.  He's joining John Mayer on tour this summer.

Although Phillip Phillips had to recently cancel some of his tour dates this month due to doctor's orders, he's still scheduled to perform on the Today Show on June 28th.


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