"American Idol" champion Phillip Phillips may not have the big, belty, booming voice usually associated with the National Anthem--that's usually the domain of his Season 11 co-stars, Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet. In fact, he actually once told Yahoo!'s Reality Rocks that he'd never want to try and tackle the tricky "Star-Spangled Banner," because, as he often humbly likes to say, he's "not that good a singer." But of course, an all-American boy like P-Squared could not turn down an opportunity to perform the Anthem at the opening game of the 2012 World Series, which took place this Wednesday.
Although Phillip had never performed the iconic song publicly before, and he was performing it for a massive television audience that literally made "Idol's" viewing audience look positively minor league, the guy knocked it out of the park (and he stayed on the melody, in case you were wondering.) And he did the song in his own style, staying true to himself, just like he always did with his cover tunes on "Idol."
Standing unassumingly on the grass of San Francisco's AT&T Park this Wednesday evening before game one, Phillip thankfully eschewed the blustery theatrics and superfluous runs that have long become "Banner" clichés (as well as "Idol" clichés, come to think of it). Instead, he simply strapped on his trusty acoustic guitar and strummed a stripped-down version that, as ex-"Idol" judge Steven Tyler might say, was beautiful, simply beautiful. To borrow another Tylerism, he basically "Phillip Phillips'd" the Anthem, and that was exactly the right approach.
"Gaaaaaaahhhhh leeeeeeeee that was nerve racking!!" Phillip tweeted after his performance, but really, he seemed like the epitome of calm out there on the field--just like he had on "Idol," despite the fact that he was battling health issues at that time.
This, of course, was not the first time that Phillip had been associated with a major sporting event: This past summer, his coronation single "Home" was played repeatedly during NBC's coverage of the London Olympics' gymnastics--huge exposure which helped the pleasantly Mumfordian ballad eventually sell a record-setting two million downloads. And with Phillip's debut album, The World From The Side Of The Moon, set to drop in about three weeks, his high-profile World Series appearance seems like the perfect setup for that release as well. Game on!