- “American Idol” runner-up Blake Lewis said he was “forced” to beatbox during his audition.
- The season-six singer said he wasn’t happy with how he was portrayed on the show.
- He said the show made him seem “cocky” and like he was using beatboxing as a “gimmick.”
Season-six “American Idol” runner-up Blake Lewis was known for his beatboxing skills on the show — but he said showcasing them early on wasn’t totally his choice.
Speaking to Insider ahead of the show’s 20th anniversary, Lewis said he wasn’t happy with how he was portrayed on “Idol,” especially after he passed through the preliminary audition rounds and stepped in front of judges Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, and Randy Jackson.
“I had all these accolades and by the time I got into Paula, Simon, and Randy they’re like, ‘Oh, Mr. Bigshot,'” he said, adding that he felt they were kind of “making fun of me.”
At the time, the 25-year-old was a regional beatbox champion in Seattle and he’d been working with hip-hop groups — one of the songs he worked on, he said, was no 1. on Seattle radio at the time.
“Randy was like, ‘Come on, man. It says you’re a beatbox champion. Just give us a little something,'” Lewis recalled. But Lewis said he wasn’t actually going to beatbox in this audition, which was the final one before making it to Hollywood.
Lewis said he “literally said no three times” but eventually felt pressured to beatbox for the judges. He said if he’d known he was going to beatbox he “would have maybe prepared something.”
“They forced me to,” Lewis told Insider. “And then the way they cut it, they made it seem like I was cocky.”
After Lewis’ performance, Cowell told the singer, “You’re not as good as you think you are” and Jackson said Lewis’ beatboxing was better than his singing.
Lewis said that he was “pissed” by the time episodes started airing on Fox and that the editing solidified why he hated reality-television shows.
“I was like, ‘Oh great, now I’m going to get hate from my beatbox community, this niche art form, because they’re just turning me into a gimmick,'” Lewis said of the show.
“It never goes down the way they show it,” he said.
Lewis went on to take second place on his season and said he’s ‘proud’ of what he did on ‘Idol’
Lewis was the runner-up on season six, with Jordin Sparks taking the season-six crown.
Overall, he told Insider, he’s “really proud” of what he did on the show. When he auditioned for “Idol” in 2007, he wanted to “open the door” for beatboxers and solo artists across the country.
He said he’s also grateful for the friendships he formed on the show and the young fans he influenced.
“If I leave a legacy behind, I hope it’s just that I uplifted people and made them feel happy,” he told Insider.
Representatives for ABC, Fox, and Randy Jackson didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment