American Idol Live

America’s most popular TV show has lately become more about the celebrity judges than the actual contestants. Blame it on J-Lo’s magnificent ass or Steven Tyler’s creepily entertaining comments (“Hot, humid and happening… just like your daughter!”) But the show’s most recent season actually pulled in an impressive selection of talent. Viewers sensed something special when the 21-year-old Georgia guitarist Phillip Phillips auditioned with a bluesy version of “Thriller,” performing it so intently he broke a guitar string, and they were right—he won the competition handily, with his sweet and folksy first single “Home” shooting to number one on iTunes. Phillips has the makings of a star—a bashful and handsome aura that the ladies love, a weird name, a natural ease on stage, a unique musical outlook. It’d be nice to see him play those cards right and stick around longer than that other guitar guy who won a couple years ago. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Wed., July 18, 7 p.m., 2012