Phil Stacey's first appearance on the sixth season of American Idol was a memorable one; it was revealed that the Navy officer was missing the birth of his second daughter in order to audition for the show in Memphis. It was a memorable introduction to the American public, presenting the Jacksonville, FL, native in a very appealing light. Of course, it helped that Stacey -- age 29 at the start of the show in 2007 -- had one of the strongest backstories of any of the Top 24 contestants in the 2007 American Idol. The son of a pastor, he had been singing in church since he was a child and continued to pursue music as an adult, taking lessons while he was in college. He married his wife, Kendra, who gave birth to their daughters Chloe and Machaela (the latter being born the week of his AmIdol audition), and he supported his family as a Naval officer, remaining on active duty as he appeared on the TV show.
While he was in the Navy, he regularly sang and wrote songs, appearing in Navy-sponsored music events, including an American Idol-styled competition that he won. Encouraged by his victory, he auditioned for the show, making it from the Memphis rounds to Hollywood, where he eventually got into the Top 24 (the Navy reassigned him to California so he could compete). The first week on the show he sang Edwin McCain's "I Could Not Ask for More," which judge Randy Jackson proclaimed as "hot!," elaborating that Stacey gave the best performance of the guys that week. The second week, he performed John Waite's "Missing You," which was praised by Jackson and Paula Abdul, but not by Simon Cowell. America agreed with Randy and Paula, and kept Phil on the show another week.