American Idol 2023 Audition Preview: Is Phil Kane the Country Jackson Browne?
“I didn’t know you were a real person,” 18 year old Phil Kane exclaims to American Idol host Ryan Seacrest outside of the audition room, where he will sing in front of the judges. “I only seen you on TV all these years!”
Phil is currently a student in Belmont University in Tennessee studying songwriting. In a preview clip from Sunday’s (March 26) American Idol, the young artist shares that he writes about “dirt roads, girls…” His voice trails off. His song will be self-explanatory, he adds, when he sings it for judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan.
He performs his original, “Osage County” while accompanying himself on piano. He performs with a distracting facial tick, and his vocal pitch could use some work. But his singing is raw. The song isn’t some shallow bro country number. It’s a heartfelt and earnest ballad–an ode to small town life. The singer is conflicted. It’s time to leave Osage County behind, but knows that he will miss the simplicity of country life.
The judges give Phil’s performance a standing ovation. Luke calls him a “country Jackson Brown,” adding “You got it done there, big boy!”
“Don’t try to be something you’re not”
“The moment you started playing the piano,” Katy says, “Your choices on the piano gave me chills. And then the storytelling of your song–I believed every single word. It was just so real, and I really related to it.” She continues, “Authenticity will get you so far. It’s not about notes. It’s about telling a story.”
“I’m going to tell you something songwriter to songwriter,” says Lionel. “You check all the boxes, your parallels were perfect, your hook was perfect, your storytelling voice was perfect.” Lionel is shocked to learn that Phil wrote the song two years ago at 16. “We know who your character is,” Lionel adds. “We know exactly what your sound is. That was brilliant.”
Katy advises Phil to remain true to himself if he advances to the Hollywood round. “Don’t try and compete with everyone else. Just try to highlight who you already are. Don’t try to be something you’re not.”
Luke mentions that last year’s winner, Noah Thompson, was the most “understated person in the competition.” And with that, the judges advance Phil to the Hollywood Round, which kicks off on Sunday April 2 on ABC at 8 pm.
The last week of American Idol auditions airs on ABC Sunday March 26 at 8 pm.