Ousted 'Idol' finalist Phil Stacey could miss tour due to Navy service
By Christopher Rocchio, 05/03/2007
One of the saving graces of being eliminated as a member of American Idol's Top 10 is that you still get to participate in that season's summer tour. However that might not be the case for newly ousted sixth season finalist Phil Stacey, as the 29-year-old from Jacksonville, FL could have more pressing matters to attend to.
"My primary responsibility is to the United States Navy. The possibility exists that they'll need me for a mission, and if that's the case, I'm committed to following through with my commitment to the Navy," Stacey said during a Thursday conference call with reporters. "So far, I can say that they've been 100% flexible with me, with American Idol... They've been gems and a huge support base for me. I give the Navy all the props in the world just even for letting me do what I've done to this point."
Stacey's Idol journey came to an end during Wednesday night's live results show that revealed the sixth season's Top 4. He said the last he spoke with his commanding officer, it looked "very promising" that he'd be able to participate in this summer's Idol 6 tour, the date and locations of which will be available via Idol's website on Saturday, May 19.
"I'm not really worried about [missing the tour] at this point," said Stacey. "But I will say, yeah, it would break my heart not being able to go on the tour. At the same time, I've got a duty and most importantly have to fulfill my responsibility to the Navy first and foremost."
If he does have the opportunity to participate in the tour with the rest of Idol 6's Top 10, Stacey said he knows what he'd like to sing.
"As a Navy guy, I'd like to go out and do something patriotic, like "God Bless [America]," he said. "Something to represent the Navy and just kind of be a unifying factor for Americans."
Even if he were to miss the tour due to his commitment to the Navy, Stacey said there's a possibility he'd still be performing for fans at some point.
"My job right now -- it's kind of weird -- I'm a singer for the Navy, and a lot of what I do is going to high schools and everything," he said. "There's been a little bit of concern expressed for the security of those concerts at this point. You know what I mean? It depends on how capable I am of completing my task. So we'll see how it works out. I'd love to be able to continue to do that."
The former finalist's family will also play an important role in his future decisions, as Stacey has a wife and two daughters, one of which was born while he was auditioning in Memphis, TN for Idol 6. Stacey's current tour with the Navy expires in October 2008, and he said it's "tough to say" if he would reenlist.
"I can't say a single bad thing about my time in the Navy. I've absolutely loved every minute of it. But I didn't enlist with the idea of a career in mind. It was to do my duty and be a part of what was happening in the 'War on Terror,'" explained Stacey. "I was going to do the first term and then move on. Especially with this kind of exposure, to be honest with you, I think I could do a lot more from my perspective if I went out and put out and released music and everything. At this point, I don't have any plans of getting out early. I want to fulfill my duties to the Navy."
One could assume that Stacey received some ribbing from his fellow Navy officers for appearing on Idol -- which he did -- but he was also quick to add they've offered encouragement as well.
"I got a lot of support from my Navy buddies. Up front, they made fun of me because I went to the auditions to begin with. They joked about how I was wasting my time and everything. Of course at the same time, they said they believed in me and everything," said Stacey. "When I got on the show, there was just nothing but every single week they would text me little messages like, 'Phil you're my Idol,' you know, that kind of stuff. It was really sweet actually. Really nice of them."
As if to illustrate how real his service to the country is, Stacey commented, "I'm getting an emergency phone call from my command," during the middle of the conference call, which former Idol 6 finalist Chris Richardson was also participating in since he was eliminated on Wednesday night as well. Stacey ducked out of the interview for about two minutes before coming back and explaining the call.
"I apologize for my absence. My commanding officer just gave me an emergency phone call. I had to skip out for a few minutes. The Navy is giving me legal clearance to participate in this week's media events," explained Stacey, which brought laughter from Richardson, who commented, "Yay Phil!"
"When you belong to the United States Government you kind of wait to really participate until you get official clearance," said Stacey.
Check back with Reality TV World on Friday for more about Stacey's exit interview, including what he considers to be the individual strengths for each of Idol 6's Top 4 finalists; how he concocted his non-coif; and what advice he would offer to future Idol hopefuls.