Georgia’s Own Phillip Phillips Moving Up on “American Idol”

March 23, 2012 12:00 AM
Georgia’s Own Phillip Phillips Moving Up on “American Idol”
" LOS ANGELES (AP) – Phillip Phillips didn’t follow any of the advice from his “American Idol” mentors – and the judges loved him for it.

The 21-year-old pawn shop worker from Leesburg, Ga., defiantly wore gray after style adviser Tommy Hilfiger deemed it too drab. He shrugged off musical mentor Diddy’s mandate to dance.

And he turned out a growling “Movin’ Out” during an evening of Billy Joel tunes on the Fox talent contest Wednesday that Randy Jackson called “one of the best renditions of that song ever.”

“You took that song and you Phillip Phillips-ed that,” beamed Steven Tyler.

Other singers who impressed the panel included 16-year-old San Diego student Jessica Sanchez with a touching rendition of “Everybody Has a Dream”; 28-year-old teacher Elise Testone, of Charleston, S.C., with a soaring take on “Vienna”; and 20-year-old alt-rocker Colton Dixon of Murfreesboro, Tenn., with a classic version of “Piano Man.”

“You sing with pure feeling,” Jennifer Lopez told him. “I had goosies from head to toe the moment you started.”

Deandre Brackensick of San Jose, Calif., opened the show with “Only the Good Die Young,” but it was 26-year-old disc jockey Erika Van Pelt of South Kingstown, R.I., who nabbed everyone’s attention by debuting a shorter and darker hairstyle during her performance of “New York State of Mind.” Lopez said Van Pelt’s new ‘do gave had “a Pat Benatar vibe.” "

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