Phillip Phillips, ‘American Idol’s’ newest champ

May 25, 2012

Phillip Phillips, a former pawn-shop employee from Leesburg, Ga. became the 11th winner of “American Idol” this week with his single, “Home.” The song stole the show in the final performance night, TV critic Lisa DeMoraes reported

The producers have found for him a little Mumford & Sons Lite number called “Home.”It’s a Moment for Phil, complete with marching band drum section storming through as Phil plays his guitar looking very safe, and scruffy, and voting-tweener-chick catnip-like. He gets the night’s only standing ovation from the judges, who begin to foam over and, if we had any red poker chips left from the Wynn, we would bet them all on Phil right now.

“I couldn’t think of any other singer or band you sounded like…That was a Phillip Phillips song and there’s nothing on the radio that sounds like that,” gushes JLo, who seems to have a Mumford & Sons hole in her music appreciation training because, as Randy points out, the number was very Mumford & Sons.

“By virtue of your vulnerability and style you have made the world your home my friend,” Tyler begins to prattle happily. “I heard a little Paul Simon, and other ungodlike creatures on this planet, and you were perfect tonight. And I think you are The Man,” he adds.

Phillips fit the mold of other recent winners of the competition, said DeMoraes, because he was yet another incarnation of “Scruffy white guy with a guitar.”

White guys with guitars have had a lock on the show ever since some rocket scientist ruled they would add instruments, which has done so much to make the “competition” a formality and the winner a foregone conclusion — we’re among many who put their money on Phil2 to win this thing as soon as he was named to the season’s Top 24.

 “Idol” exec producer Nigel Lythgoe told some “Idol” blogger/fan before the start of last season that the use of guitars would be limited, with no Idolette allowed to play a guitar every week, adding that there is a difference between playing a guitar and hiding behind it.

 That did not help. But don’t hold your breath on the  producers wise-ing up that cute white guys with guitars are text-voting catnip for the middle-aged and tweener chicks still participating in this show.

If you’re going to let Phil2 pull out his guitar two out of every three weeks, then for goodness sake let Jessica Sanchez sing all her love ballads to an adorable puppy in her arms.

This finale was also one of the least-watched in the show’s history, with 22 million viewers — 7 million fewer than last season. “This year’s tumble is presumed to be particularly worrisome for Fox suits because it marks the fifth time in the past six finales the show has lost 18-49 year old viewers, and fourth loss of the past six seasons among overall audience,” wrote DeMoraes. The show has been losing viewers to other televised performance competitions, like “Dancing With the Stars” and “The Voice.”

America continued to be passionate about reality competition series this season, although there are signs of wear and tear in the relationship. Half the country’s 10 most-watched programs this season were reality competition shows, including two nights each of “American Idol” and “Dancing With the Stars,” and NBC’s “The Voice.”

But both “Idol” and “Dancing” took major hits. ABC’s “Dancing” lost about 4 million viewers compared with last season, and Fox’s “Idol” lost about 6 million.

“Idol’s” eight-season streak as the country’s most watched program came to an end; it came in No. 2, behind NBC’s Sunday football. Fox execs have said that they dropped the ball this season and that “Idol” changes are in store for next season.

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