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Southwest Georgia native Phillip Phillips attended Lee County High School in Leesburg before graduating from Albany Technical College with a major in Industrial Systems Technology. Phillips auditioned in Savannah, Georgia for American Idol
with a performance of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition
." He advanced to the final despite being taken to a doctor for possible kidney stones after the Top 13-performance night. Phillips was declared the winner after a record breaking total vote count of 132 million in the finale on May 23, 2012.
Phillips' victory over Jessica Sanchez meant all 11 victorious finalists were the ones listed second alphabetically by first name. He was also the fifth male winner in a row.
The guitar-strumming southerner sang this rootsy ballad as his coronation song. It was penned by songwriter Drew Pearson, who's previously worked with American Idol alums Adam Lambert, Casey Abrams and Lee DeWyze and Scottish-born, English-raised singer Greg Holden. It was originally intended for Holden, but was pitched to Jimmy Iovine as a possible finale song by Pearson's publishing company, Pulse Recordings.
Pearson told The Hollywood Reporter
that its Mumford & Sons sound was no accident. "I do love Mumford," he admitted. "I also like Arcade Fire and there's some of that, too, along with a few Irish bands that influenced it."
When asked by MTV News how he wound up choosing this for his debut single, Phillips admitted: "It wasn't really too much of a process. I got to hear it once and they said, 'Would you like to do it?'"
The song debuted at #10 on the Hot 100 with 278,000 downloads sold according to Nielsen SoundScan. It was the second-best digital sales week ever for any "Idol" contestant, beaten only by Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You
," which sold 280,000 downloads in its first week.
It was also the biggest sales week for any "Idol" winner's coronation single, overtaking David Cook's "The Time Of My Life
," which debuted with 236,000 in 2008.
It should be noted that both season two champion Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken achieved higher debut week sales, but their numbers came through CDs. Studdard's coronation song "Flying Without Wings
" moved 286,000 units whilst Aiken's 2003 season-finale single "This Is The Night
" shifted 393,000 discs.
Phillips was the second American Idol
alumni to achieve a top 10 hit with a song titled "Home." (Chris) Daughtry's hit with the same name
was his second single release after he came fourth in the competition.
Back in 1959, a Louisiana singer-songwriter named Phil Phillips had a #2 hit with "Sea Of Love
." However in this instance, Phil Phillips was just his stage name. He was born John Phillip Baptiste.
The song received a profile boost during the London 2012 Olympics, thanks to its use as a theme during NBC's broadcast of its women's gymnastics coverage. The resulting digital sales returned "Home" back to the Top 10 of the Hot 100.
Phillips is seen traveling across the US and playing gigs in the song's music video, which features his girlfriend Hannah Blackwell, who regularly joins the singer on tour. Asked if he was wary of including his love interest in the clip, he told Access Hollywood
: "If girls like me 'cause I'm cute, and they find out I have a girlfriend or something and they don't like me then, it wasn't about the music.I'd rather be all about the music," he added. I'd rather not be successful being that way, than being cute and being successful."
Having debuted at #10 in June 2012 following Phillips' victory on American Idol
before dropping off the chart two weeks later, the song returned to the top 10 thanks to its use in the Olympics. In doing so, it became the sixth recording ever to hit the top 10 in separate chart runs.
The other five were:
" by Chubby Checker. #1 1960 and #1 1962.
"Stand By Me
" by Ben E King. #4 1961 and #9 1986.
" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett & the Cryptkickers. #1 1962 and #10 1973.
" by Queen. #9 1976 and #2 1992.
"I Will Always Love You
" by Whitney Houston. #1 1992 and #3 2012.
The song is played after a Dramatic scene in the Clint Eastwood directed film about a retiring baseball scout and his daughter, Trouble with the Curve.
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