#AmericanIdol

Paula Abdul Shows She Still Has The Moves In 'The Late Late Show' Performance

Paula Abdul dropped by The Late Late Show with James Corden this week to promote her upcoming Straight Up Paula! tour - her first in more than 25 years.

And along the way, she delivered a smoking hot performance of her classic hit, “Straight Up,” with stunning choreography.

The former American Idol judge also shared her not-so-smooth journey to becoming an L.A. Lakers cheerleader at the age of 18  before beginning her award-winning music career.

As Miss Paula tells it, she was called forward at the beginning of the tryouts with a group of ladies (before dancing a step) and was told “We’re thinning the herd - you’re the first cut.”

But it seems she anticipated a few obstacles at the try-outs, so she had planned ahead and brought a whole bag of clothes with her.

Abdul headed for the ladies room - not to cry, but to change her outfit. She back into the auditions, changed her name and made to the dancing round.

And got cut again.

Back to the ladies room and another costume change. This time she listed herself as “P.J. Apple.”

It was 5-6-7-8 dance, and  the future Grammy/Emmy Award winner made the squad.

Within a year, she would become the head choreographer for the team.

 

 

And then, of course, she was famously discovered by The Jacksons; she became one of the premier music video choreographers at the height of music video popularity; signed her own recording deal with Virgin Records, and the rest is history.

Her debut album, Forever Your Girl, sold 7 million copies and yielded 4 ‘straight up’ number one singles.

Glad to see Abdul is back. Its clear she’s still hitting it like a champ. There are younger artists out there who wish they could dance this well.

Watch her knock “Straight Up” right out of the park in the video below.

You can find info about her tour here.

 

 

 

Exclusive Interview: American Idol’s Blake Lewis

Exclusive Interview: American Idol’s Blake Lewis


Why Does He Still Perform Nationwide At Gay Pride Fests?!

You may be familiar with our next exclusive interview. Blake Lewis, 36, was the Runner-Up of American Idol season 6 – way back in 2007 … that’s like, before the internet was even invented! I’ve recently witnessed the rebooted disaster of Idol and hoped I could speak to someone who was there when the pot was hot! I’m talking about old school, back when America cared who their Idol was. Long gone are the zany days of our judges, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, and the painfully entertaining, Simon Cowell. But, thanks to social media – many of our former favorite contestants are easy to find. Obviously, you want to speak with the hottest one: Which brought me down to about three guys. Upon some more snooping, I remembered Lewis has often performed at Gay Pride celebrations across the nation. He’s making an appearance for Chicago’s Gay Pride Fest on June 16th and 17th alongside Frenchie Davis, Mya, and Belinda Carlisle.


Lewis, who has been living in Los Angeles for the last eight years after transferring from Seattle, Washington – was lovely during our conversation regarding depression post-Idol, the flip side of the music industry, and his love for the LGBTQ community. You’ve got to check out my exciting interview with him below:



Mickey Keating: What’s a typical day in your life? Are you living the Rockstar lifestyle of partying and smoking pot constantly?

Blake Lewis: “I don’t smoke weed. I used to when I was 18-years-old, but it’s not for me. When I was in my depression in 2008, I was drinking two bottles of red a night. I write a lot of music. You can see a shift through my albums. As an Artist, if you’re writing honest material; it’s [essentially] a time stamp [of where you are in your life].”

MK: You were incredibly quick to mention battling depression after becoming the runner-up to Jordin Sparks on American Idol. What led to a sudden downfall?

BL: “[The realization of] not having control over my career. I had people in my ear telling me to do things, but they wouldn’t do [what they were supposed to do]. I had bad management. I bought a house with my earnings from Idol. Buying a house, you expect to be there for thirty years (Lewis was 25-years-old at the time). I owed so much in taxes. I was only able to pay for it for a few months after the economy collapsed. I didn’t buy cars and or any luxuries. I just bought a house.”

MK: Does management have a lot to do with the success of a Musician?

BL: “I loved my old management and the people that worked there. But, they should’ve told me things they didn’t. It was a lot of failure. It was a lot of living and learning. My old manager should’ve told me not to move back to Seattle when [the life of a Musician is in Los Angeles.] I realized I couldn’t have a pity party for myself. I just had a great year in 2007 and being on American Idol.”



MK: Do you have management currently?

BL: “I have management now. I have my own record label now, Audio Day Dream, where I’ve put out my own album. My last album was more electronic heavy, but now I’m planning on putting out a remix album in the next several months. I don’t know if my management and I will release my new music together. It’s such an interesting game now for independent artists who have been signed to major record labels. I’ve been around the block a couple of times.”

MK: Can you confirm a few other Idol contestants have had the same experience with poor management?

BL: “Even people who have won are a little bitter about the Idol experience. There’s no infrastructure for after [the show stops taping]. Everyone’s journey is different. But, all of the Idol contestants are connected because of the unique experience you go through. You don’t want that roller coaster to stop. It’s a fun throughout – that’s [the experience] we all can say we share.

MK: Do you still speak with your fellow Idol contestants?

BL: “Yes! My roommate is Elliott Yamin, who placed third on the season before me. I just played in Las Vegas with Effie Passero who was on the latest season. I’ve toured with multiple Idol contestants throughout Mexico. We’re all family.”

MK: You went far during Idol, earning second place. Did you expect to excel before auditioning?

BL: “God, no! I’ve never seen Idol before auditioning. My friend told me to come audition with him and he didn’t even make it to television. I [was strategic]. I was choosing songs everyone likes. I had to convince the Producers to allow me to sing Time of the Season [by the Zombies]. I told the Producers I was doing my own show, The Blake Lewis Show. I told them no, a lot. They want to manipulate you and put on their show. But, after seeing what I was doing: We stopped butting heads and they began agreeing with me. Every show, I wanted to go in there and prove to America they’d love me. They did. I barley talked on the [live] show. I smiled and said thank you a lot.”


Check out Blake Performing Time of the Season below:


MK: Do you still get recognized from Idol?

BL: “All the time. I went on the show to be a Singer, but also wanted to beatbox because I love the art form. [People recognize me more as a beatboxer] There’s World Champion Beatboxers who are kids who have been inspired by me. The Producers [after seeing me beatbox once] then made my beatboxing a gimmick. They wanted me to beatbox every [show]. I only beatboxed three times, but they kept replaying it [repeatedly] to make it look like I always did it. I went on The Ellen Show and taught Ellen DeGeneres, the ladies of The View, and even Michelle Obama how to beatbox.”

MK: You were on Idol when it was extremely popular in the media and turned on in every household. Were you happy you got to experience the show during it’s prime compared to the lackluster reviews of the later seasons and current reboot starring Katy Perry?

BL: “Paula Abdul was a real sweetheart. She visited us more than everyone else. She even gave everyone her number in case we needed to talk post-Idol. Randy Jackson would check in on me months after the show was over. Simon Cowell we hung out with twice: At Idol Gives Back and the finale party. The ratings were at 30 million people a night, now it’s down to 8 million.”

MK: Did you hear Clay Aiken’s comments bashing the rebooted Idol season? He threw contestant Catie Turner under the bus and called the new reboot a “therapy session.”

BL: “I wouldn’t trash anyone who was on the show. It’s Musicians just trying to [get ahead]. So, screw Clay Aiken. That’s just rude. These people are just kids. I’m not relating to Country Singers, but these kids are young. The show has way too many young kids on for me to get invested.



MK: Okay, we have to quickly talk about the many fan sites dedicated to your butt! Do you know people say you have the best butt of any Idol guy?! One of the first things to pop up on Google is ‘Blake Lewis Butt’.

BL: “[Laughing] What!? No! That’s so random. I don’t Google myself. I appreciate it [though], I’ve got a great ass.”

MK: Why do you still perform for the gay community?

BL: “They are some of the best fans in the world. I don’t discriminate against people. I support human rights. I’m a lover and a unifier. The list goes on and on. My performance at Chicago Pride Fest is my first Pride performance in a while. I’m going to be staying in Chicago for a few days to visit family and experience the city.”

MK: Okay, last thing: When are you going to change your Wikipedia photo!? That does not look like you! It’s like your chubby brother…

BL: “[Laughing] I can’t! Who can do please do that? I hate that photograph! Speaking of time, I’m [clearly] depressed in that photograph. I’m bloated, chubby, [groans]. I’ve been through so many people trying to get that changed. I would love for someone to change it. I no longer look like that.”


You heard it, folks. If anyone knows a way to update Lewis’ Wikipedia photo – can we please get a move on with that?! Don’t forget to purchase Lewis’ last album, Portraits of a Chameleon, on Amazon, iTunes, and Spotify. After you’re done doing that you need to check out Lewis’ Live concert on YouTube below:

Quotes have been edited for clarity.

Drag Queen Succeeds On American Idol!

Drag Queen Succeeds On American Idol!


Does A Gimmick Immediately Guarantee Success?

#KAY. Are you watching ABC’s current reboot of American Idol? I won’t sit here and lie to you, I’m not at all. To be honest, I really am only watching clips from their stellar marketing team who has a clip of various contestants pop up on my social media every time I scroll. Haven’t we all seen highest-paid Judge, Katy Perry, flirt with some cute Californian Construction Worker? While Perry is giving her best attempt at delivering as the judge-to-watch, it doesn’t help that this show has clearly lost it’s flavor. We’ve all spit out the gum.


One particular character – or contestant – who caught my attention recently is Adam Sanders AKA Ada Vox, a singing Drag Queen. Vox was previously on Idol in boy form and made the Top 50. There’s no doubt Vox has an incredibly powerful voice. However, I cannot help but feel this was his last ditch effort to achieve the fame he desires. As we’re all familiar, you essentially do need a gimmick to reach for reality television fame. Perhaps Vox is a singer and thus hasn’t auditioned for RuPaul’s Drag Race. Vox gets put through to the next round, but not before he received a bunch of odd compliments from the judges like Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie. The whole interaction is really forced and pretty awkward.


Okay, so I’m really excited for Vox! I truly am- anyone who reaches for their dreams and refuses to stop makes my heart glimmer. However, I cannot help but wonder if this whole gimmick of being a singing Drag Queen is only…a gimmick. Clearly, this person didn’t succeed because he wasn’t as talented or marketable previously. Now, he walks in as a Queen and has Perry screaming YAS and we should all be reanalyzing his talent? I mean, let’s get real: American Idol has become a joke. Everyone needs a story victimizing themselves in order to get airtime – because for some reason we’re supposed to vote for who we feel the worst for? It’s all really confusing in the end. Is Vox supposed to come out in drag every time we see her? Because that’s what I’m anticipating. Literally, each time she is photographed – we are only seeing her in this artistry. The only Drag Queen who has succeeded in both male and female form is the ultra-fabulous RuPaul- and there won’t be another one anytime soon. Wish you well, Vox- but I’m not buying it.


Check out Vox’s newest audition below:


This post is the opinion of this contributing writer to Instinct Magazine. Opinion pieces do not always reflect the stance of the magazine or the other contributing writers.

Katy Perry Reveals Her Hit Song That She Can "Barely Sing"

 

When you think of Katy Perry the first thing that probably comes to mind is "unbridled talent." Listening to the ruby-throated sparrow sing without autotune is like soaring on the wings of an angel, which is why the world was so shocking to hear during this week's American Idol that Perry has one song in her arsenal that she self-proclaims can "barely sing." I won't believe it for a second! 

According to Just Jared, Perry and her fellow Idol judges were deliberating over the vocal skills of a contestant, and in order to help them make a final decision, Perry challenged the singer to hit the most difficult notes from her anthemic Firework:

I know you don’t look for excuses, but I go places and I sing Firework, it’s like my favorite song ever.

Sing  Firework because I can barely sing Firework. Just sing the chorus, because that’s the hardest part.

Perry's recent woke reinvention and corresponding album Witness have been met with mixed reactions, and her stabs at forging a connection with the gay community are tenuous at best. Throw in the facts that her Idol tenure led to this interesting piece from Buzzfeed as that she bestowed a young contestant with the questionable kiss heard round the world, and Perry has had quite a polarizing 2017 and 2018. But at least we can all agree on the one thing she brings to the table. That voice. 

 

P.S. Sorry if this was too negative. I'm having a heavy flow day. 


This post is the opinion of this contributing writer to Instinct Magazine.  Opinion pieces do not always reflect the stance of the magazine or the other contributing writers.