accessAtlanta

City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Interviews with two Georgians in ‘Idol’ semifinals: Phil Phillips, Aaron Marcellus Sanders

phil-phillips-picture

The top 25 on “Idol” season 11 features two Georgians: Phil Phillips of Leesburg and Aaron Marcellus Sanders of Atlanta.

We will hear the 13 guys on Tuesday and 12 women on Wednesday. On Thursday, the top 12 (or like last year, 13) will be named. Fox has not released how it will work but I presume the top 9 or 10 will be from the public votes and the final three will be “wild card” picks from each judge. We then go straight into the live final rounds next week and the way things are scheduled, it appears a top 13 is likely.

Last week, I talked to Phillips and Marcellus.

Here are bits from the Phillips interview:

Where the 21-year-old performs: mostly Albany and Valdosta. He has never performed in Atlanta, though he has visited.

Began performing at age 17: “I just want to get out there and play bigger places. I’m not the bar scene type. I’d rather play restaurants and festivals.”

“Idol” as an outlet: “”This isn’t really my type of show. It’s more pop. I feel like they saw something in me that’s different. I’m trying to do something different. I just feel so blessed to get this far.”

Has he ever met Luke Bryan, who is from Leesburg, too? “He did a concert back when he was just getting famous. I said hey to him. He seems like a really nice guy. I didn’t know him personally.”

His style: “It’s jazz and rock mixed together. I’m trying to do my own thing. I’m not going to try to be something I’m not. I want to tell the world stories I have. I hope they can connect.”

What’s the quirkiest thing about her? “I’m kind of strange. When it comes to being in front of the camera, I get nervous. I hate talking, doing interviews. I don’t want to say something stupid.”

The Dave Matthews comparison? “I love Dave Matthews. I am into John Butler and Damien Rice. Also Johnny Long. Those kinds of musicians. They don’t give a crap what the world thinks, just do their own thing. Dave is awesome. I feel like I’m a little different from Dave in the songs I do, the way I write my original songs. Still, he’s an inspiration for me.”

His family: mom’s a secretary in the school system and dad owns a sporting goods store. He has two sisters. Everybody sings. “I had a great childhood.”

Life with the same first and last name: “It’s my dad’s name. I’m a junior. They wanted to keep the name in the family. I don’t have a problem with it. People called me P Squared. Philly Cheesesteak.”

aaron_marcellus

You might vaguely remember Aaron Sanders from season 10. That is his actual last name. But he has been using Aaron Marcellus professionally as a musician so he made sure “Idol” has him identified as such this time around.

Marcellus, who was born and raised in Decatur, has been given the “montage” treatment by “Idol” thus far. We’ve heard bits of his singing but no back story. We didn’t even get to hear any of his “sing for your life” performance.

This places him at a major disadvantage to garner votes and will place greater weight on his one live performance Tuesday than it would for, say, Reed “the Idol producers love me” Grimm.

After interviewing him, I can see why “Idol” did not focus on him. He has a solid R&B voice but not a terribly interesting back story or quirky nature. He seems like a perfectly pleasant 27-year-old musician, who moved to Teaneck, N.J. two years ago with his brother Will Pierre, who is 31, to pursue a singing career. “We’ve been trying to be performers our  entire lives,” he said.

His first trip to “Idol” was season 7. He made it top 50. He tried seasons 8 and 9 but didn’t get as far. He made it to the top 40 last year, season 10. This year, he landed in the top 25. Since this was his third trip to L.A. for “Idol,” the others called him the “Hollywood vet.”

At age 27, he said if he didn’t make it this far again, he isn’t sure if he would have tried again at age 28, his last chance. “Thank God I didn’t have to,” he said.

He said season 7, he didn’t quite know who he was. He had learned versatility but hadn’t put enough of himself into his singing. He recalls Simon Cowell telling him he “didn’t stand out.” He feels he has gotten better. “I’ve learned to let Aaron in and be more aggressive with who I am as an artist. I’m a soul singer, a pop soul singer. Every year, I’ve gotten better at that. I’m the package now.”

Marcellus didn’t want to dwell on his lack of airtime. “I’m just grateful to be here,” he said. I’m not one to complain. On Tuesday, I will be introduced to America.”  His song choice, he said, “is a little different from what everybody else is doing. It’s my chance, my two minutes to just say hi, ‘I’m Aaron Marcellus. Can we take this journey together all the way to the end?’ ”

He is a single guy, “married to my music,” he said. “I’m very focused right now.”

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

54 comments Add your comment

Rickster

February 27th, 2012
2:42 pm

Rickster

February 27th, 2012
2:44 pm

Ummm… Phillip? If – as you say, Idol “isn’t really my type of show” – then why the heck try out??

Rickster

February 27th, 2012
2:51 pm

If Aaron didn’t make it the first three years he tried out… but made it this year… maybe the talent this year isn’t as good as the last three seasons.

JTesla

February 27th, 2012
3:00 pm

Thanks Rodney.

Rickster we could have a discussion of those that tried out and didn’t make it, but went on to gain fame without Idol.

[...] more Interviews with two Georgians in semifinals: Phil Phillips, Aaron Marcellus Sanders at Radio & TV Talk… /* * * CONFIGURATION VARIABLES: EDIT BEFORE PASTING INTO YOUR [...]

Harriett

February 27th, 2012
3:19 pm

Hey, everyone!

Rickster

February 27th, 2012
3:46 pm

Hey Harriett!

Jack McFarland

February 27th, 2012
3:54 pm

Phil is cute.

Rickster

February 27th, 2012
4:08 pm

Interesting vignette about Ryan and Sasha Baron Cohen (Il Doofi)

http://bcove.me/ijsiy2dn

Jenny

February 27th, 2012
4:31 pm

Hi everyone! Catching up – From the previous thread on Friday – I agree with D that Idol has not been actively *pushing* for a male winner the past few years… but until they fix the broken voting system, they will continue to get a male winner, no matter how good the girls are. It will probably not be possible for a girl to win. :-(

Sam-A, Rickster and JT – no kidding! 6 hours this week = TOO much. Thank goodness for fast-forward!!

Rodney, I think they do go straight into the finals next week. My DVR for next Wednesday says “Top 12 Finalists Perform” and then for Thursday “One singer goes home in a results edition”. So it looks like the regular season schedule after this week…

Jenny

February 27th, 2012
4:34 pm

Oops, Rodney, I was answering your question from the last thread and didn’t read the article yet. So never mind, you already know that! :-)

Harriett

February 27th, 2012
4:58 pm

No time for visiting today. Bye!

Rickster

February 27th, 2012
4:59 pm

So glad to be able to say “24 hours till Idol!” and be able to write it on a Monday!! :-)

Rickster

February 27th, 2012
5:02 pm

I might DVR the race tonight… and then FF through it.

Man those cars are going to go REALLY fast! :-)

Have a great evening, everyone.

Highlander

February 27th, 2012
5:15 pm

Rickster (2:51pm post), I don’t think you really want to go on record saying (okay, inferring) the Idol producers and judges are the be all and end all at choosing talent. Afterall, they gave us Lee DeWyze! :lol:

Highlander

February 27th, 2012
5:35 pm

Most notable singers (so far) who were rejected at Idol auditions:

Hilary Scott of Lady Antebellum
–She auditioned twice and never got past the first round.

Colbie Cailat
-Also auditioned twice, and didn’t get through either time. The second time she sang her original song “Bubbly” which went on to win a Grammy.

Amber Riley (Mercedes Jones of Glee)
-She auditioned for “Idol” at age 17, but she too didn’t even make it past the producers.

Annie

February 27th, 2012
6:04 pm

Phil Phillips was awful during the audition rounds. He’s not the first person to make the top 24 just based on his audition, but since his audition included proving that he can’t sing, I hope he doesn’t make the top 12.

Nutmeg

February 27th, 2012
6:08 pm

Maybe the quirkiest thing about him is that he’ll answer the question, “What’s the quirkiest thing about her?”

Jenny

February 27th, 2012
6:12 pm

Hahaha, Nutmeg, I noticed that too!!

IdolAddict

February 27th, 2012
6:54 pm

I for one am rooting for Phil Phillips. So far I haven’t seen anybody that really just makes me see any superstars, but Phil is quirky and different. He seems like a great kid and I will always pull for someone from southwest GA. I like Reed Grimm and Jen Hirsch as well. Hopefully somebody will jump out soon.

Seth T

February 27th, 2012
9:16 pm

I am impressed with Elise Testone — but she is at the very bottom of the popularity rung, so she will be the longest of longshots to make the top 12. She’s one of the older contestants and not as current in terms of the hot young pretty girls, but could wipe the floor with anyone, boys or girls, on a hot R&B number, which is my kinda party.

Deirdre

February 27th, 2012
10:01 pm

Home, terrible cold, missing the little guy and mom has a doc appt tomorrow. Other than that, everything is good! ;-)

Mercedes S.

February 27th, 2012
10:47 pm

Airborne, D., Airborne. Grapefruit flavor. I’m a firm believer. Take it when I fly or when I’m around fluish people.

Deirdre

February 28th, 2012
8:01 am

Morning!

Don’t forget…Idol is on tonight.

Mercedes, I had a scratchy throat before I got on the plane. It took 3 days of getting steadily worse before the cold appeared.

Rickster

February 28th, 2012
8:43 am

Interesting night on “The Voice.” The last girl to make it to the battle rounds is a girl from Georgia (Atlanta, I think.) Can’t remember her first name, but last name is Evans.

Christina even grabbed a mic and climbed up on the stage to sing the chorus of the song with her.

Now THAT’S an audition!

Sam-A

February 28th, 2012
9:14 am

That girl is from ATL, and was shown on the WXIA news this am. Don’t watch Voice – but thought it a bit rude for Christina to just jump into this audition! Did the girl choose her?

MARSHAL MATHERS

February 28th, 2012
9:20 am

THESE FREAKS AND GEAKS ARE LOSERS! AND DON’T KNOW REAL TALENT!

JTesla

February 28th, 2012
9:24 am

What are we Glee now?

If I were auditioning and a big name star jumped on stage with me, that is who I’d choose to be my mentor.

Harriett

February 28th, 2012
9:30 am

Good morning all! Today is Nana’s birthday, and I am going to see if I can persuade her to pay us a visit.

The Voice wrap-up made me see that not all the artists are as good as first thought them to be. But, now the most interesting part of the show is over. I really enjoy the blind auditions. I wonder what is going to happen with the guy who was super and multi-talented that nobody turned around for? They all about had a fit when they realized what they had passed on.

Rickster

February 28th, 2012
9:34 am

Sam-A…. Christina was the only one who had any room left on her team, so when Christina hit her button, the choice was already made.

Actually… the girl was quite honored to have Christina come up on stage.

There must be something about the acoustics in the auditorium that makes people sound better there than on TV. Thought the guy with the hat & beard that Christina picked was horrible. Same with Lex Land. Wasn’t impressed in the least with the guy that nobody wanted until they all turned around.

Sam-A

February 28th, 2012
9:41 am

Rickster: same can be said for Idol – how many that sound terrible to us viewers are raved and carried on over – this happens repeatedly, yet we all often agree the voices are crap.

Simon has at least admitted several times that he made mistakes on the repeat viewing, both putting thru and kicking off.

The judges on these shows should have big earphones so they hear only the music and singer, not the audience noise, which sometimes is deafening.

Woodpappy

February 28th, 2012
9:47 am

Happy Birthday Nana if you read this !

Sam-A

February 28th, 2012
9:48 am

Yes, Nana – have a great “me” day, and many more to follow!

Harriett

February 28th, 2012
10:02 am

I left her a message. Hope she visits us for a bit!

Really looking forward to Idol this week.

Mercedes S.

February 28th, 2012
10:07 am

Another Pisces! Happy Birthday, Nana, and please post. Would like to hear what you have been up to.

Thanks, D., for reminder. Would not have remembered to set recorder for Idol tonight. Hope your cold is better – and that it wasn;t the flu. Some I know have been seriously ill this winter.

Anyone else noticed there are better TV-shows than movies this season?

Rickster

February 28th, 2012
10:07 am

Speaking of “The Voice” – Rodney’s posted a thread about how 4 Atlanta-area residents are in the Top 48.

Rickster

February 28th, 2012
10:11 am

Happy Birthday Nana! Hopefully you don’t have to bake your own birthday cake! (But if you do… it’ll be delicious!) :-)

Rickster

February 28th, 2012
10:50 am

Sam-A… Rodney’s “Voice” thread has the girl from Atlanta’s (Sera Hill) audition – including the Christina duet.

You can tell the girl’s thrilled.

Nana

February 28th, 2012
11:03 am

Suprise, suprise, I’m still alive!!!! And to all, a big HELLO.

I’ve been laying low until the top 24 starts, so now that it begins, I will be back regularly. In fact, some of you may wish I would stay away.

And thanks for all the birthday wishes. I appreciate them.

Sam-A

February 28th, 2012
11:03 am

I am sure she’s thrilled – but it still seems rude when the gal is auditioning, to jump in uninvited and take over – which from the film on the news, looked like it was 2/3rds the Christina Show.

Sam-A

February 28th, 2012
11:04 am

Nana: Quick ??: How is Memory doing. Last report was walking and doing pretty good. l hope that’s still true!

Rodney Ho

February 28th, 2012
11:05 am

@Sam-A. Actually, Christina said she wished she could sing with her and Sera invited her on stage after she had completed her audition. So it was all in respect and love. Sure, Christina is a diva and wants to take over a stage. But she can’t help herself there. Sera was thrilled to duet with her.

Harriett

February 28th, 2012
11:09 am

Welcome, Nana!! So good to see you here and I hope your birthday is filled with lots of great things and much love.

Nana

February 28th, 2012
11:14 am

Sam-A; memory is doing better, but still not well. She is still walking, standing and tring to run, but still has trouble. When she’s tired, her hind quarters will droop and she will drag. Thanks for asking about here.

JTesla

February 28th, 2012
11:18 am

Nice to hear from you Nana, and happy birthday.

Sam-A

February 28th, 2012
12:08 pm

RoHo: thanks for clarification. They didn’t say (or, getting dressed, I missed) that the audition was over first – just couldn’t imagine anyone, even a diva like her, interrupting an audition. Glad to hear she had better manners than that!

Nana: we all get along the best we can, with all the nasty things aging brings (ie arthritis, poor memory and eyesight, etc). Hope precious Memory has many happy years ahead. And you too! I sure miss your Soliloquies about all the wonderful food you’re cooking, especially the fried okra/green tomato/potato combo!!!!! I would dream about that (if I slept more than 3 hours per night).

Nana

February 28th, 2012
1:44 pm

Sam-A: I cooked the fried okra combo last Sunday for dinner. It sure was good.

Rickster

February 28th, 2012
1:51 pm

Harriett

February 28th, 2012
3:27 pm

Time for me to go for the day. Much to wrap up around here. Really loved seeing Nana back today.

Idol night! Yaaaaaay!

JTesla

February 28th, 2012
3:45 pm

Pickler in St. Lucia? Pictures or it didn’t happen.