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Bob Seger song was big challenge for "American Idol" champ Phillip Phillips

for Journal Register Newspapers

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A Bob Seger song threw Phillip Phillips, the latest "American Idol" champ, for a bit of a loop.

It was "Idol" coach and Interscope-Geffen-A&M chairman Jimmy Iovine who chose Seger's "We've Got Tonight" for Phillips to perform during "Idol's" penultimate week. The problem? "I'd never heard it, for some reason," says the 21-year-old Georgia native. "I actually knew every other song by Bob Seger except that one. He's one of my favorite artists. I was throwing out all these other (Seger) songs to do, and they were like, 'No, we want you to do that one.'

"So I kept listening to it, and it's a great song. I love it now. I wanted to keep it really intimate...and I think it came out really well. I don't feel like it really represented me or how I'm going to go in my direction of music, but I'm glad it came out really well, and I was honored to sing one of (Seger's) songs."

Phillips -- who's still recovering from intestinal surgery in June -- isn't doing badly with his own music, either; "Home," his coronation song, is a Top 10 hit that had the largest digital sales of any "Idol" champ's post-finale release. Meanwhile, he says his own material is getting due consideration for his debut album, which Phillips has already started recording and will be continuing to work on during this summer American Idols Live! tour, which kicks off this weekend in Detroit.

"I'm gonna be recording a lot on days off. It's going to be a very, very busy summer and a very busy year," says Phillips, who expects to have the album out in November like most of his "Idol" champion predecessors. "We recorded a bunch of songs I wrote, and we're going through them now. Some parts may need to be fixed or re-written, maybe need to switch a few things, so we'll see.

"It's my songs so far. I hope it stays that way, but it's not over yet. I'm hoping I'm going to be able to write on every song from the album, 'cause it's hard for me to connect with a song I had nothing to do with. So if there are other writers, hopefully I'll get to write with them so they can represent me and be the kind of (songs) I want to do."

American Idol Live! Tour 2012 plays at 7 p.m. Friday, July 6, at Joe Louis Arena, 600 Civic Center Drive, Detroit. Tickets are $66, $46 and $30.50. Call 313-471-6606 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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