He captured the hearts and ears of Americans across the country as he climbed into the finals on "American Idol" with his remarkable, unique and clever sound, but only the greater Seattle area can lay claim to the Bothell resident, and he'll be the one all eyes are on when the "American Idols Live" tour stops tonight at the Tacoma Dome.
"I'm stoked I get to go home," Lewis said in a phone interview Wednesday from Sacramento, Calif. "Just being in the 425 (area code), I'm excited, man."
Lewis' last "Idol"-related homecoming came when he entered the final three in the Fox reality competition, which is the most-watched television show in America. He visited Bothell and turned the place upside down.
"Coming home in that top three was just a trip, man," Lewis said. "There was like 10,000 people at Bothell landing when I did that show. That was a really nice feeling, but then I was (thinking), 'Where were you guys six months ago when I was playing the Jet Deck?'"
Lewis was referring to the locale on Paine Field where he played at open-mike nights for a couple of years before taking a chance on an audition for a TV show he'd never seen.
"I turned it on one day (during) the first season it was on and I saw someone singing really bad, and I never turned it on again," Lewis said. "I was turned off by it. But then (last year) I was at a point in my life where I just wanted to go audition. I didn't have anything to lose, it was just one audition. There's like 9,000 people there, you never think you're gonna get it."
He got in, and he moved on until the final week of the season, when he lost out to 17-year-old sensation Jordin Sparks. Like Chris Daughtry a year earlier, Lewis did it all on his own terms, even though his particular sound wasn't necessarily best suited for "American Idol."
"I just saw the show as an opportunity to be myself and that I got to be myself, I got to beat box, and I got to arrange the songs myself," Lewis said. "In six years, they said I was the first one to actually truly arrange the songs each week. I got to really produce my own outcome for the songs on that show, that was just huge. I was kind of a control freak. I know who I am and I'm not someone who can be molded."
Lewis is now working on his debut album, writing songs on tour and preparing to record the rest of them. He has six songs done for the album that he expects will be entitled "A.D.D.," for "Audio Day Dream," and will be released on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
"I wrote a song yesterday with Chris Rich(ardson)," Lewis said. "We're working on stuff. I've got about 10 new beats that I'm just writing to and picking out the ones I feel best represent me."
If local fans somehow miss Lewis representing himself in Tacoma this weekend, he has a special performance planned once the long "Idol" tour is over in September and the Mill Creek fire marshal might be interested in this one.
"My good friend Steve, owner of the Jet Deck, just opened a new place right there on 164th Street," Lewis said. "I can't wait until I'm done touring, I'm going to have a show there. I've got to go back and play my roots."
Reporter Victor Balta: email@example.com.
Blake Lewis performs on "American Idol."
American Idols Live!
7 tonight, Tacoma Dome; $38.50 to $69, 206-628-0888.
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