Meet the Mom of NH's American Idol

Q&A with Alice Philbrick, the mom of Alex Preston of "American Idol" fame

Courtesy Photo

Alex Preston blew everyone away with his performances on this year’s American Idol and held strong until getting eliminated just before the final face-off. He made NH and America proud, but no one more than his mom.

She had endured months of suspense as one victory piled atop another  and now Alex was preparing to accompany blue-eyed soul singer Jason Mraz in the finale. Then the verdict was revealed. Alex  would not be in the final sing-off. For the first time after a result was read, the Philbrick home in Mont Vernon was quiet. “We all hugged each other and toasted to Alex again and an amazing everything,” she recalls. “We knew it was all good.”

Can you remember a best and worst moment along the way? They were all best moments. Each phone call that he had made it through, each return home. Each performance. Each Idol Party here at the house every week. Worst moment maybe when I knew he had bad bronchitis and his asthma had kicked in. It was the night he did “Pompeii” and “Stay,” which was awesome.

Were you ever concerned about how all the hype might affect him? Worried, no. He’s a pretty grounded guy. As a mom, you keep your ear to the ground and keep a good distance to allow growth. He’s a kind person so I worry about people taking advantage of him, but he has grown so much.

What kind of kid was he, growing up? Alex was a funny kid! He always had a smile on his face and never had a problem keeping up. He hit the ground running. I think Alex invented the photo bomb. Every time the camera came out his little face would slowly move into the frame and we would hear, “Cheese!”

Any other potential American Idols in your family? Our son Matthew is an incredible musician. He plays guitar unbelievably well. He composes some pretty amazing music and has been doing stand-up around Manchester and Boston and would like to write sketch comedy. I met my husband when he was lead singer in a rock band, so he can sing. The music gene skipped over [daughter] Sami and me, but she is creative and writes the most hilarious blogs about travel and food and life.

When did you know Alex was destined for something big? I first realized the power of Alex’s voice at The Dover Brickhouse. When he sang “Put the Camera Down,” my family, friends and the whole place really went completely still. It was a “wow” moment.

How has the process changed him? Alex has learned to be comfortable in his own skin. What a blessing. Perhaps part of it is that you’re just too tired to worry anymore. That and the look of happiness on his face when he is singing has been such a confirmation that he is on the right path.

What’s your favorite song that he sings? Hmm. One of my favorite songs that Alex sings ... “Fairy Tales,” “Say Something,” “Volcano,” “Pompeii” — I can’t choose. Another favorite is one of his songs that not too many people have heard and I don‘t think there is a title yet but he wrote it a while ago. I love it. You just wait. Amazing!

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