LOS ANGELES (AP) - Everyone expected Phillip Phillips to win “American Idol” _ except Phillips himself.
Shortly after cleaning the confetti out of his hair, the folksy guitar-strumming crooner who bested vocal powerhouse Jessica Sanchez on Wednesday still seemed surprised that he’d actually won the whole shebang.
“I can’t really feel anything,” Phillips said sitting on a couch in his backstage dressing room with his legs casually crossed.
The 21-year-old from Leesburg, Ga., received the winning share of the record-high 132 million viewer votes cast after Tuesday’s final showdown with the 16-year-old Sanchez.
Phillips made it look easy all season, despite suffering serious kidney problems throughout the competition.
The oh-so-humble champion talked with The Associated Press after his win:
AP: You were never at the bottom of the pack. The odds were in your favor. Did you expect to win?
Phillips: I never thought I would win or anything. I don’t know. I was just doing my thing each week. If I would’ve gotten cut, it wouldn’t have bothered me. I wouldn’t have been depressed because it’s just a TV show. I just went out there and did my thing.
AP: You have no experience in the music or entertainment industry, so how did you stand up for your individuality so much throughout the competition?
Phillips: You’ve got to respect everyone, but you don’t have to be scared. I just spoke my mind. If they didn’t like it, oh well. If they did, that’s good. I’d rather go down for something I did than what somebody else told me to do.
AP: How is your health? Don’t you need surgery, like, tomorrow?
Phillips: It’s happening tonight. Nah, I’m just kidding. I’m gonna have to get surgery done soon. It’s gonna make me feel all better.
AP: What was it like going through this process in that kind of pain?
Phillips: It was really tough, man. I had a lot of great doctors watching after me. … Sometimes it would be tough to sing and just stand up. It’s good to have people around you.
AP: How do you feel about being the fifth “white guy with guitar” to win the show?
Phillips: It’s all good to me. A lot of the other past Idols that played guitars are great guys. I met a few of them. They’re great artists. I can’t play guitar with just with normal cords and stuff. I play a lot different than they do.
AP: What kind of music do you want to make on your album?
Phillips: I want to write my own stuff. Me and my brother-in-law who was on the show tonight write a lot together. I’m excited to do my album. I know it’s going to be challenging because a lot of opinions will be coming my way, but it’s like the show, I know my music. I know how I want it.
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Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang.
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