Friday, June 17, 2016 | 2 a.m.
Phillip Phillips Home
Singer-songwriter Phillip Phillips, the Season 11 champion of Fox’s now-canceled “American Idol,” headlines Mandalay Bay Beach on Saturday night with fellow singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson.
The relationship between Phillips, 25, and “Idol” has not been harmonious since his win, as each has sued the other since the victory, but an interview with the native of Leesburg, Ga. — also home to some country singer-songwriter named Luke Bryan — didn’t touch on anything negative.
In fact, the Q+A with Phillips on May 26 included talk of his mega-hit “Home” — one of this journalist’s all-time favorite songs, as it reminds of wonderful memories growing up in Montana — the “Idol” series finale and what he enjoys doing alone without his wife.
What can fans expect in your show at Mandalay Bay Beach in Las Vegas on Saturday, June 18?
We’re going to have a good time, man — rock out and lay it out onstage and get really musical. Sometimes my singing is OK, other times it’s not (laughs), so we lean toward the music to get the crowd going. We’re going to sing new music and have some surprises.
How did touring with Matt Nathanson come about?
I’m not really sure. From my agent, it was an opportunity that came about. I had heard great things about him. We did a few of the same radio shows a few years back, maybe not on the same days, but I heard great things. I love being on the road, but the last few years, I’ve focused on writing but still did one-off shows.
So you love touring?
Aw, man, yeah, there is nothing like waking up in a new city and experiencing new places. Also going back to favorite restaurants. I’m a foodie and love going back to my favorite restaurants, hanging out with the boys and learning something musical every day. I work with a band of incredible musicians.
What are you looking forward to most on this tour?
Man, I’m just excited to get back on tour and the stage and the road. The guys are excited, too. With the tours, you go on the road, and it becomes your second home, then you need to get back on the road to different cities to see the fans and hope they enjoy the shows.
Do you prefer indoor or outdoor concerts? It’s going to be very hot in Las Vegas when you’re here.
Oh, I know (laughs). I prefer outdoor. There is more energy. If people want to smoke, they can smoke, drink and walk around. It’s more relaxed, and you also can get up and dance. It’s more spaced out.
You’re working on a new album — anything you can share about it?
I’m so excited for it. It’s really amazing stuff. As far as writing, it’s some of the best as far as storytelling. The music hits a lot of different genres — blues, a little bit of funk, but you can tell it’s me. It’s honest. There are some cool surprises. There is no release date yet; we’re still in the process of recording.
How is your health? (Phillips has had issues with kidney stones and had eight surgeries during his “Idol” run.)
My health is good. Everything is good. I can’t complain — thanks for asking, man.
How did you feel when “American Idol” ended its run on Fox a few months ago?
I was there for the finale, and it was great to see the producers, the people I got to know, the friendships. The ending was bittersweet. It did so many great things for television. It had an amazing run.
Aside from winning, is there another memory that will always stand out?
My experience was based on friendships with the producers, the camera guys, security. I saw all of those people. They were my family for six to seven months, so it was good to see them.
I have to tell you, Phillip, “Home” is one of my favorite songs of all time — I really connect with it. Do you ever get tired of performing it?
We change it up and keep it different. I’m really grateful for that song. Thank you so much for loving it. If I get tired of it, I mix it up (laughs).
Tell me one thing your fans would be surprised to learn about you.
I go to the movies alone a lot — I like doing that. My wife doesn’t like the movies much (laughs).
What was the last movie you watched?
“Captain America: Civil War.” Oh, dude, it was incredible! I could talk about movies all day.
Anything on your must-do list while you’re here in Las Vegas when you’re not working?
There are so many great places to eat there. I’ve had great sushi in Las Vegas — I’ve eaten pretty dang good there (laughs).
Phillip Phillips and Matt Nathanson headline Mandalay Bay Beach on Saturday.
Don Chareunsy is the Las Vegas Sun’s entertainment and luxury senior editor and has been a journalist for nearly two decades.
Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” fame has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Sun Entertainment + Luxury Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.