'Idol' producer gives advice to Jessica, Phillip

Posted at 05/20/12 4:06 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- "American Idol" producer Nigel Lythgoe on Friday called the show's two finalists "very quiet people" off stage, but said they were very focused on winning the title and a guaranteed recording contract.

Next week's "Idol" finale pits 16-year-old ballad singer Jessica Sanchez against guitar-playing indie artist Phillip Phillips, 21.

Lythgoe said Sanchez, who was saved from elimination by the judges in April after getting the fewest votes from the public, "needs a song that is going to have a magic moment, that she hits that note, that she grabs us."

Phillips, who has an army of young female fans, should leave aside the mid-tempo, lesser known numbers he favors for next week's three-song performance finale in Los Angeles.

"He has got to go out there and do something that grabs that audience and makes them stand up and pick up a telephone at home and vote for him ... I think he needs to find a song that people know," Lythgoe said.

The two-part "American Idol" finale will be broadcast on Fox on May 22 and 23.