‘Idol’ Winner Phillip Phillips Details ‘Rough’ Health Battle to the End

by | May 24, 2012 at 6:06 PM | American Idol, Interviews

American Idol winner Phillip Phillips (FOX)

Just one day into his reign as the new winner of “American Idol,” Phillip Phillips told reporters he almost didn’t make it to the end, due to chronic kidney problems. “It was rough at times,” said Phillip, who reportedly underwent eight surgeries and was under the care of physicians throughout the season. “There were a couple times I thought of getting out and getting the surgery done.”

The surgery he is referring to is a major procedure to reconstruct his right kidney, which has ceased functioning. Phillip doesn’t know when the surgery will happen, but said it’ll be “pretty soon,” and that he should be completely recovered in time for the Idols Live tour, which kicks off July 6 in Detroit. “I’ll be 100 percent by the end.”

And maybe that means on tour, he won’t look like he’s wincing in agony while he sings—unless that really is just a facial tick, a byproduct of getting too into his jam band performances.

Anyway, it appears his fans really like his face. The heartthrob is fully aware of his mass teen girl appeal, but he doesn’t let it get to his head. “I’m not trying to be some cute guy who’s trying to be successful,” said Phillip. “I want the music to come first.”

That, and his girlfriend, who, he says, is fine with all the attention he gets for his winning smile and piercing blue eyes. He says he hopes she’ll come on tour with him. “She’s so excited for me. She’s helped me out a lot through this…I love her to death.”

Watch Phillip Win “American Idol”:

If he WAS single, Phillip says he’d look for a girl who had “my sense of humor, a strange sense of humor.”

Phillip is as humble about his success as he is about his looks, repeatedly saying that he doesn’t sing very well. “I don’t feel like I’m that great,” said Phillip. “I can’t hit all these high notes.”

He does admit, however, that he is pretty good at guitar. “I don’t just strum chords,” he said. And due to his skills, he says fans can expect his first album of original compositions to be heavy on jazz and rock. And he’s sticking to his guns about not singing the melody, for which he was criticized all season long by the judges and Jimmy Iovine. “I wanted to get the world ready for what kind of album I wanted to put out,” said Phillip. “And you can’t do something that’s not me.”

Though his victory single “Home” is currently number one on iTunes, Phillip said it’s just not his style. “It’s just a little too pop for me,” he said. “I don’t put in ‘ooohs.’ But it’s a really good song.” He says he wanted to sing something he had written himself, but didn’t have enough time.

Singing “Home” was the last thing he wanted to do when Ryan Seacrest called his name as the winner. “I didn’t really want to sing or anything, I was just so shocked.” He says as the tears streamed down his face and choked him up, he was thinking about all his fellow contestants. “It was a tough road for all of us,” said Phillip. “It was amazing to get to know them.”