Did you really expect anything different American Idol viewers? Let me add to the stockpile of congratulations for Phillip Phillips who took home the American Idol Season 11 crown last night beating prodigious R&B 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez. I recognize the population of disappointed viewers who thought that Phillips was limited vocally and his carefree “hipster” style did not deserve victory over one of the better natural singers American Idol has ever had. I agree with that sentiment to a point. Yes, Jessica Sanchez is the better singer of the duo, but the best singer does not usually win American Idol. Phillips made up for what he lacked in vocal prowess with a keen creativity and perspicacious ear for acoustic music. As I wrote last night on Twitter, he will fit neatly into the modern folk revival – much like Mumford and Sons (whom I will mention in a bit).
Honestly, though, Idol Viewers, did you expect this to go differently? American Idol has just completed its 11th season and since zany bluesman Taylor Hicks took home the title in Season five, five men have won the competition, and they all (with the exception of David Cook, even though he too fits this somewhat), have been laid-back guitar-wielding songwriters. I am counting country crooner Scotty McCreery in this coterie. It is no secret who the main viewership is, and the typical 13-year-old girl loves cute, awkward, relatable, hipster artists. Phillips fit this all, and he won.
But with that all said, I am happy for the 21-year-old Leesburg, Georgia product, who actually paired his American Idol victory with a completed degree in Industrial Systems Technology from Albany Technical College. My guess is his career will go more towards the former accomplishment.
When you take a brief glance at this season as a whole, there were only a few individuals who actually could have made it to the finale. My original guess was that Colton Dixon would win the competition, but this turned out to be a misjudgment on my part mainly based on (and this will be the first time I have ever said this) my age. You see, as much as I like to consider myself up on music trends, Dixon fit the pop/punk genre that was popular among young people when I was like 16 years old, and I thought this was still superiorly popular. He had everything else. He was just playing the wrong music for the times. Don’t be surprised Idol viewers if someone like Phillips wins again next year. It is not gender bias, but rather a tendency to vote for what is currently in. If Florence Welch tried out for Idol, she would win.
As for Phillips’ single “Home,” it fits him like a broken-in pair of jeans. The song is a short ditty with a pre-chorus drop-down that is recognizable. The song is rich with a bluegrassy guitar beat mixed with Coldplay-esque ”oohs” and airy “homes.” “Home” was written by songwriter Drew Pearson, and originally meant for British artist Greg Holden (who co-wrote the song), but was submitted to Idol as a possible finale number, and was snatched up smartly by Phillips, who will now make Pearson and Holden some nice pocket-money.
The song is pretty much a Mumford and Sons track. It’s not surprising that it was originally written for (and co-written by) a British folk artist. I think I can actually target out a specific track from Sigh No More where Mumford and Sons uses a similar technique.
Head over to 2:53 and just listen. Even the “awake my soul” repetition rhymes with “home.”
It is a similar song, not the same song. The reason I mention it is because this is exactly where Phillips will be succesful. If he taps into this indie/folk genre and hits it head on he will not flame out and will continue to be heard of come season 12, 13, 14, and heck maybe even 15 if the show lasts that long!