Samantha Young, left, and Haley Young react as they watch “American Idol” at a viewing party at Lee County High School cafeteria Thursday night. Fans came to show support for LCHS graduate Phillip Phillips, whose performance earned him a spot as one of the top 10 finalists. See if you were SPOTTED at albanyherald.com.
LEESBURG, Ga. -- Within minutes of "The American Idol" opening, Ryan Seacrest announced that Leesburg's Phillip Phillips had taken one of the top 10 spots for which 25 contestents were vying.
Pandemonium. Phillips' hometown fans shouted, applauded and pounded the tables in the Lee County High School cafeteria with sheer joy just after 8 p.m. Thursday.
The cafeteria showed the talent contest on more than seven flat-screen televisions to the delight of an excited audience at a viewing party held for the community -- Phillips' community. WFXL, Albany's Fox Network affiliate, hosted the party.
"I think he is just the best thing for Lee County," said Lauren Underwood. "I'd listen to him a lot. I love his singing. I'd buy his CD for sure."
"The American Idol" episode was billed as a "results show." Ten of 25 contestants were voted into the top tier by the show's viewing audience. Then three contestants were wild card choices selected by the judges Jennifer Lopez, Stephen Tyler and Randy Jackson to stay on the show.
The party attracted students from high schools, middle schools, their parents and family.
A Leesburg High graduate, Phillips inspired a couple students to sport "Team Phillips" T-shirts of their own design.
"He has a really wonderful voice," said Kim Bradley, one of those Team Phillips members. With her was teammate Amy Sumner, who chimed in, "He has a country-rock voice with a little bit of Dave Matthews."
Phillips wasn't just an imitation Matthews. He carried his own emotional heft. audience members said. Before the announcement that Phillips was in the top 10 came, Judy Powell said she liked his music, but there was more to it for local residents.
"I'm here to support Phillip. He sings so well that I can't help but like his music," Powell said. "He is just a local guy making good and that makes us all feel good."
It was also a good night to celebrate for Phillips' family. His sister LaDonna Urick hugged family and friends in red Phillips T-shirts at two tables.
"I am just so excited for him," said Urick. "It is about somebody from our hometown. It gives everyone a good feeling."
Powell, after hearing the announcement, summed it up with a big smile and a single word: "Fantastic!"