'American Idol' runner-up Blake Lewis: "I'm kind of glad I didn't win"
By Christopher Rocchio, 05/25/2007
To runner-up Blake Lewis, American Idol's sixth season was apparently never about winning or losing, but instead how he played the game.
"I never looked at it as winning and losing, I just tried going out and performing really well each day," said Lewis during a Friday conference call with reporters. "In a sense I'm kind of glad I didn't win just because of contractual reasons... I think if you're first, you might have to come back for years or something and do stuff. Which is great, at the same time because American Idol is such an amazing show and experience. I honestly didn't care one bit about winning or losing because I called myself a winner just by getting in the Top 10."
If the Top 10 was Lewis' goal then he accomplished it and then some, as the 25-year-old Bothell, WA-native made it all the way to Idol's sixth season finale on Wednesday night before being defeated by 17-year-old Glendale, AZ-native Jordin Sparks. All things considered, Lewis said he's happy with the way things worked out.
"I never thought I'd get to this moment ever. I picked Jordin to be the winner in the Top 24... as soon as I met her, I picked her to be the winner. And so I'm so completely satisfied coming in second on this show," he said. "I would have been completely satisfied coming in fourth or fifth... fifth or sixth. I really felt that my art wasn't as mainstream as most people. So just me coming out of Seattle, being more of an eclectic artist, I'm definitely more independent and underground. Just coming on the show, I gave it my all. You know I wound up at two. I really wanted to just get into the Top 10 to go on tour and show people what I do."
Known as "The Great Entertainer" as Idol's sixth-season drew to a close, the show's judges frequently commented on how Lewis' beat-boxing ability made him the most original finalist the reality competition series has ever had. So it should come as no surprise that the ballad "This Is My Now" -- the winner of American Idol's sixth-season songwriting contest -- really didn't suit his vocal style, which was evident when he performed it during Idol 6'sfinal performance episode Tuesday night.
"'This Is My Now' is definitely not my style. It's a song I would never sing if I didn't have to. It fit [Jordin] perfectly," said Lewis. "Honestly I think they should have had two songs -- one that was tailored to both of us -- but I'm so happy with being in second place. I never thought I'd get here in the first place. But yeah, ['This Is MY Now'] is definitely not my style. I would have rather had something groove-oriented and jazzy I think that could be an uplifting song that's not so linear. You know ['This Is My Now'] is not very melodic and I'm all about melody."
One of the questions Lewis was asked by reporters is if he felt he like a sell-out for compromising his self-described brand of "eclectic, independent and underground" music for the opportunity to appear on Idol.
"I've represented myself and stayed true to myself throughout this whole entire process," he explained. "I never had a huge fan base, so I don't think you can sell-out until you start going off in directions you wouldn't normally do and sacrificing some of your integrity as an artist. As soon as you start hearing me sing more songs like 'This Is My Now' than you can say [I sold-out]."
Despite the fact "This Is My Now" didn't suit him well, Lewis described his performances at Hollywood's Kodak Theater for Idol's finale as "the most calm" he was all season.
"I never have regrets. I had so much fun on this experience, the journey has been amazing," he said. "Each week was a different experience, and I ended it with a bang with Doug E. Fresh."
Lewis said he met Fresh a few weeks ago when the fellow beat-boxer was in the Idol audience. The two crossed paths backstage, according to Lewis, and he asked Fresh to beat-box after the show.
"We did some question and answer back and forth with the beat-box, it was a real magical moment," he said. "I asked him if there's any chance that he could come on the show and we could perform... He said, 'Let's do it.' He was all for it. And then fast-forward to the finale and I get to rock 'The Show,' you know, his 1986 classic beat-box song that inspired me. So it was just a real magical moment... and the finale to my run as an American Idol was Doug E. Fresh, one of my main inspirations as a beat-boxer."
Lewis said his days a performer began in junior high school, when he sang in the choir. Once Lewis reached high school he said he became more interested in using other aspects of the performing arts as a creative outlet -- such as improvisational comedy -- which in-turn led to his first beat-boxing experience during an open-mic event.
"I love performing live, and that's way I had such a blast on the show, because it's live I can really feed off that energy," explained Lewis, adding he wouldn't be opposed to venturing into other aspect of performing besides singing. "If opportunities arise and it allows me to do some character work, that's something I think would be fantastic. But I want to put my heart and soul into my music and my art form as a vocalist, you know, beat-boxer."
According to Lewis, fans won't have to wait to long to hear the type of music he'll create.
"Definitely an album will be in the works. I'm not exactly sure with who yet, but we'll talk about it," he said. "I want to set my own path...It's my music.... I have an album that I'm hoping to try and get out here, and it's very electro-pop, hip-hop music. In the sense of Duran Duran, Michael Jackson... I'm definitely a child of the 1980s so it's definitely going to have more of a dance theme to it. More melodic and jazzy on the hip-hop, electronic side of things."
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