At the tail-end of this past Summer’s American Idol Tour, the Top 10 finalists took off for a last stop, and this time it was out of the country.

“I told my dad we were going to the Philippines,” said seventh-place finisher Colton Dixon during a recent phone interview, “and he asked me where. I told him in Manila and he said, ‘That’s where the ‘Thrilla in Manila’ was fought.’ He got so excited.”

Yes, same town, same place (Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City) where Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier staged one of the classic boxing matches of all-time on Oct. 1, 1975. Now 37 years later Michael Dixon’s son was going to perform in the same arena.

Well, Michael can get excited all over again because Colton has been invited to join Chula Vista’s Jessica Sanchez (second-place finisher this AI season), on a mini-tour of the Philippines starting Feb. 14 in that same arena.

“I really don’t know how it happened that I was asked to go with her,” Colton said, “but my manager called and asked me if I would like to join her and of course I said yes, absolutely.” Dixon, who just released his first album, A Messenger, is delighted to get the chance for some more international exposure.

“When we (the AI Summer Tour) played there the crowds were wildly enthusiastic,” he said. “I don’t know what it is but maybe it’s because fans in the U.S. just have too much music and too many different opportunities to hear top artists that it is taken for granted. And they (Philippine residents) don’t have that many chances.

“I do know that they, just like the people in San Diego, love Jessica and so do I so it should be a great opportunity for me.”