WASHINGTON (AP) — America will get to hear from its newest "American Idol" Phillip Phillips as he makes a comeback performance following kidney surgery at this year's July Fourth celebration on the National Mall.
In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press ahead of Monday's announcement, the 21-year-old from Leesburg, Ga., said he's ready to perform after focusing on recovering from a serious kidney surgery since the "Idol" finale in May.
"I'm getting better each day, so that's a good thing. I'm just walking around, getting my strength back together," he said by phone from Los Angeles. "It was tough, you know, those first few days, but I'm getting to where I can pick the guitar back up and write a little bit."
Phillips has revealed he was in crippling pain from a kidney blockage that made it hard to stand at times during parts of the "Idol" season and was undergoing a series of surgeries during breaks in the competition. His right kidney wasn't functioning properly, he said, but it didn't require a transplant.
His travels to California and soon to Washington are the farthest Phillips has ever traveled from his Georgia home, he said.
The singer's best memories from "Idol" are the friendships he made, which he hadn't expected, he said. And being on stage for the first time is something he'll never forget.