Weather Updates

Will another white guitar guy win ‘Idol’?

AMERICAN IDOL: Phillip Phillips performs front judges AMERICAN IDOL airing Wednesday May 16 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) FOX. CR: Michael Becker

AMERICAN IDOL: Phillip Phillips performs in front of the judges on AMERICAN IDOL airing Wednesday, May 16 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Michael Becker / FOX.

storyidforme: 30614917
tmspicid: 11127086
fileheaderid: 5082375

Updated: June 29, 2012 9:34AM

LOS ANGELES — Viewers could be in for a serious case of deja vu if Phillip Phillips wins “American Idol” Wednesday.

While the soulful strummer from Leesburg, Ga., has proved he can be a risk-taking showman, a victory for the 21-year-old would prove something that everyone has suspected for a while: “Idol” voters prefer humble Caucasian heartthrobs over, well, anyone else.

While the musical styles of Phillips and the four previous “Idol” winners — David Cook, Kris Allen. Lee DeWyze and Scotty McCreery — are varied, all are what many “Idol” devotees call WGWGs: white guys with guitars. There hasn’t been a female or non-white winner since Jordin Sparks bested Blake Lewis in 2007.

“If Phillip Phillips wins season 11, then as ‘Idol’ fans, we kind of have to collectively shrug our shoulders and say, ‘It’s clear as day. You don’t have to be the best singer. You just have to be a cute white straight guy that appeals to a lot of the voting demographic,’ ” said Michael Slezak, a senior editor at

Lyndsey Parker, who writes Yahoo’s “Reality Rocks” blog, in part blames block text voting by eager young women.

“People are wondering if girls or, frankly, people of color should just go audition for ‘The Voice’ and ‘The X Factor’ instead because ‘Idol’ has become a closed door if you’re not a Caucasian guy who plays folky rock or country music,” said Parker.


© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.