Phillips universal appeal attracts fans from toddlers to 96

LEE CO., GA (WALB) - Can Phillip Phillips' appeal, lead him all the way to the finale of American Idol?

This weekend proved he has fans from toddlers to 96 year old women.

The Leesburg star has been able to take songs from Usher to John Fogerty and make them his own.

The crowd at Saturday's Phillip Phillips hometown concert had one thing in common, they all liked the Leesburg native, who's made a big impression on the nation. The crowd was quite diverse. It wasn't all screaming teenagers, although they were there in force. It was a mixture, of men and women, both young and old, from friends in high school, to those who traveled hours to see a young man they don't know.

"His support base ranges from your little one to I've spoke to a lady who was saying I'm 68 years old and I've been you know it kind of warms your heart," said Lisa Davis, Lee County Chamber of Commerce.

The man so nice, they named him twice seems to have universal appeal from young fans at the parade, cheering him on for different reasons.

"Because he's from here," said Lynsey Nikoleot. "And he's a really good singer," said Naudia Bullock.

To 96 year old Martha Waddell of Sasser, who not only has been watching the show, but sat for hours over the weekend and locked eyes with the star at the parade.

"He looked straight at me and the lady who made the picture said he was looking at me whenever he passed," said Martha Waddell, a Phillips fan.

She believes he got a good look at her sign, made by her daughter in law, Beverly, which made him smile.

"He seems down to earth, he seems a person who loves his family and loves God," said Waddell.

Maybe that's the appeal, he seemed so humbled by the crowds that came out to see him at every turn. Faye Sweat's grandchild was in from Athens, Monday she was looking for T-shirts for her granddaughters.

"The one that actually saw him was 14 and the other one as I say I 24 she's in medical school she likes him too," said Faye Sweat of Leesburg.

It could be because Phillips seems like a guy we all know. He admits he's never had any formal singing training, he just knows what he likes and sticks to his guns, it's earned him millions of fans and it could take him straight to the top.

When asked what makes a great performer. Phillips said just a person who is being himself. That's what he attempt to do each time he's on stage, be himself.

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