Fans who’ve been in “American Idol” withdrawal since Phillip Phillips was crowned in a shower of confetti at the end of May now have something to live for again: the annual American Idols Live tour gets under way tonight in Detroit, Mich.
The grueling trek will keep the finalists — Phillip, plus Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, Hollie Cavanagh, Skylar Laine, Elise Testone, Colton Dixon, Erika Van Pelt, Heejun Han and DeAndre Brackensick — on the road until Sept. 11, when they’ll wrap things up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. But Phillip says criss-crossing the country is what he’s most looking forward to.
“I’ve never been to different states or anything like that,” Phillip told ABC News Radio. “Before, all I’d been to is Georgia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, all the really Southern states. So I’m really, really excited to see the whole country and just take a bunch of pictures!”
As for his health, the “Idol” champ, who underwent major surgery to correct the kidney problem that nearly ended his run on the show, said he’s on the mend. “The doctors are taking care of me and I’m doing a lot better than I was on the show,” he said. “I’m still gonna have to take it easy for a little bit but I’m doing really well. So, I’m excited about that. The doctors were surprised of how well I’m doing.”
While Phillip won’t be traveling with a medical team, he said, “I have to keep in touch with them.” Phillip also hopes he’ll have time on the road to write material for his forthcoming debut album.
Meanwhile, runner-up Jessica Sanchez is thrilled to get the opportunity to show that she can do something other than sing ballads. Asked what she’s most looking forward to about the tour, she told ABC News Radio, “Just the fact that I’m gonna be singing the songs that I want to sing, and [that] it’ll show more of me. It won’t be all ballads, at all. So, I’m excited to just have fun and dance with all my fans.”
The rest of the “Idol” finalists are looking forward to two things: being able to thank their fans personally for all their support, and being able to sing without Steven Tyler, Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez weighing in on their performances.
“Just being able to perform freely and not be judged,” said Joshua Ledet when asked what he’s looking forward to about the tour. “And just having a good time and traveling the world.” His BFF Hollie Cavanagh agreed, saying, “I think we all just get to sing now for our fans and just enjoy it and enjoy the time that we have. I mean, not everybody gets to have this opportunity. This is where we just, kind of live it up and have fun.”
Meeting the fans is a huge deal for the finalists as well. “I think that’s probably one of the big things for all of us,” Cavanagh said. “Because it’s our chance to give back to them. You know, they’ve been voting for us every week. So, it’s gonna be nice to meet the people that have given us this chance, pretty much.”
Skylar Laine agreed, saying, “I have the best fans out there — my Skoutlaws, I call ‘em on Twitter — and I can’t wait to meet all of them, and for someone to come up to me like, ‘You tweeted me twice and this is me!’…I’m ready for that.”
Colton Dixon, meanwhile, said he just wants rock. “That’s my element,” he told ABC News Radio. “I love it and I never got a chance to really rock out behind a piano either. So, I’m definitely pulling one of those out for tour.” He added, “I’m so stoked to actually play for a huge audience.”
In an unusual move, according to Reality Rocks, Colton is going to get to perform an original song during the tour called “Never Gone.” He told Reality Rocks, “I honestly don’t know why I was allowed to do an original song on tour; I’m just so appreciative to have people believe in my music enough to give me this opportunity, and I’m stoked to be able to give my fans a glimpse of what I have been working so hard on in the studio.”