American Idol Top 30 Performances of All Time: No. 17, Phillip Phillips, “Home”

One man, two names, one title, two songs on the Top 30.

One man, two names, one title, two songs on the Top 30.


We all knew he was going to win.

We didn’t care.

That’s what made Phillip Phillips so special.

Season 11 wasn’t over when P-Squared auditioned with “Superstition,” but the second he dropped the acoustic version of “Thriller,” everyone else was playing for second place.

Week after week Phillips did his thing. He basically ignored the judges, who gave him bunk advice hoping he’d take it to make the show a little more interesting, and never wavered from who he was.

We enjoyed his performances, his bromance with Heejun Han, and the way he was more Dave Matthews than Dave Matthews.

When it came time to close the season out, Phillip Phillips left no doubt and gave us one of the best Final 2 performances in the history of the show and our No. 17 selection, “Home.”

THE SITUATION: P-Squared was so dominant with his Final 3 performance (more on that down the line) that he didn’t need to show up for the Final 2; the only disappointment was Joshua Ledet failed to reach the final and make it semi-competitive. Jessica Sanchez was cute, but she had no shot.

After two stellar performances with “Stand By Me” and “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” – the second which I’m convinced was thrown in simply to see if P-Squared would bomb to create some doubt about him winning – he had to sing the song that would be his first single if, or when, he won.

Only one other Idol had a more perfect song written for them (more on that later as well).

THE HIGHLIGHTS: It was typical Phillips – acoustic guitar, subtle dress, silly smile and perfect tone and inflection out of his voice.

You’re not going to get a big note or run from Phillips. He isn’t that type of singer. His voice is unique – provided you’re unfamiliar with DMB; the judges didn’t make that comparison until midway through the season, roughly three months after DRI made it on our former Facebook site – but it’s not the type that wins straight singing competitions.

He’s not a singer; he’s a performer and he’s such a damn good performer that tempo of songs doesn’t matter. His ability to reach the audience on the slower paced songs is unmatched in Idol history because he’s such an unassuming performer.

When the percussion kicks in, Phillips rolls. He doesn’t looked flummoxed or lost in the moment; he knows the performance and how to make it his. He admitted the song wasn’t his favorite but he still owned it.

And once the drumline comes out, you realize it: this is a magical fucking moment. It’s beautiful.

It’s Phillip Phillips at his finest and at the right moment.

WHY IT’S HERE: It’s a sledgehammer. The second he closes out with “I’m going to make this place your home” there is a 0.0 percent chance of Jessica Sanchez winning.

Now I almost didn’t pick this version because of how incredibly touching his performance is when he is announced as the winner. Watch below:

There’s something so beautiful about seeing Phillips finally get emotional about the whole process. He starts fine. He’s going through the motions. He’s performing just fine.

And it hits him. “I won American Idol.”

He can’t sing. It’s the first time he couldn’t perform. And it was perfect.

I love the moment and in all reality, either performance deserves a spot on the list. We picked one, but for all intents and purposes, they’re both sharing this spot.

PREVIOUSLY: No. 18, Haley Reinhart, “House of the Rising Sun”

NEXT UP: Maybe the most original performance in the history of the show

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