The Bothell crowd of more than 7,000 was growing restless. Where was its American Idol? Some teens chanted "We want Blake! " Others hoisted "We...
The Bothell crowd of more than 7,000 was growing restless. Where was its American Idol?
Some teens chanted “We want Blake!” Others hoisted “We Ache for Blake” or “Bothell Boy, You Rock!” signs. And then, off in the distance, the twirling lights of police cars, the thundering beats of the Inglemoor Marching Band and Blake Lewis, all smiles and waves and two-fingered kisses, sailing down Main Street in a Mustang convertible with his beaming parents.
It was a highlight in a full day of events for Lewis that started at 8 a.m. at KCPQ/Fox studios for a television performance on the morning newscast. There was a lunchtime “mini-concert” at Seattle’s Westlake Center, a parade through downtown Bothell and another performance at the Park at Bothell Landing in the afternoon. In the evening, Lewis sang the national anthem at the Mariners-Yankees game. He said he planned to end the night by going to a Blue Scholars hip-hop show at the Showbox.
This week, Lewis, 25, who grew up in Bothell and graduated from Inglemoor High, was voted one of the top three contestants on “American Idol.” And judging from the thousands who poured into the streets on Friday, his hometown couldn’t be prouder.
Most Read Entertainment Stories
- Seattle Theatre Group makes another round of staff cuts
- Now streaming: Amy Adams in 'Hillbilly Elegy,' a new 'Black Beauty,' holiday shows and more
- Brandi Carlile, Ken Jennings, others with Seattle ties react to their Grammy nods
- We rate 5 online ‘Nutcrackers,’ including Pacific Northwest Ballet’s, and tell you where to watch 6 more
- Book-It launches its audioplay season with Octavia Butler's powerful 'Childfinder' VIEW
“American Idol” television crews followed Lewis through his hometown visit, and excerpts from the day will be aired next week as part of shows on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Everyone is talking about this,” Julia A. Smith said as she grilled hotdogs that were being passed out free to the crowd in Bothell. “It’s so weird to hear Blake on TV say he’s from Bothell. It’s like, ‘Oh my God, he said our town name!’ ”
And somehow, many people at the parade seemed to know someone who knows someone who knows Lewis. Maybe their son’s teacher’s daughter once dated him. Or their hairdresser says she knows him. Or their friend’s cousin baby-sat for him. Oh wait, no, that was Sanjaya Malakar, the “Idol” contestant from Federal Way, who was voted off April 18.
Some revelations about Blake Lewis by Blake Lewis as he whirled through a jam-packed day in Seattle and Bothell on Friday.
On who should win “American Idol”:
“Jordin [Sparks is] my pick for ‘Idol.’ Her and Gina [Glocksen] have been two of my favorites.”
On what his “Idol” aims have been:
“My goal was to be in the top 10 so I could be on tour. Then I thought it would be cool to get to the top four.”
Whose songs he’d love to sing:
Robin Thicke, Sting, Adam Levine, Fiona Apple, Björk, Harry Connick Jr.
Goals besides a recording career:
The movies, hosting and performing on “Saturday Night Live.”
Number of tattoos:
Six, including a keyboard, cherry blossom and yin/yang symbol.
On the grind that is “Idol”:
Wake-up calls as early as 6:45 a.m.; days that can last as long as 16 hours. “I swear I’ve gained 10 pounds eating so much pizza.”
But Sanjaya never had the “Blaker Girls,” Lewis’ official fan club, backing him up.
“He’s my ‘Idol’ hero,” said Noell Sorich, 9, whose mother pulled her out of school early to attend the parade.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance,” explained Rebecca Levy, who also pulled her 10-year-old daughter out of school early.
In its sixth season, “American Idol” — still attracting nearly 30 million viewers to each of its twice-weekly shows — is an undisputed vault into music stardom. Contestants perform on Tuesdays, and the field gets smaller each week as viewers vote on who should stay. The results are announced on Wednesdays.
And regardless of whether Lewis wins, he should have an easy time now getting a recording contract, said musician friends who performed with Lewis on Friday.
Seattle and Bothell got a taste of what a Blake Lewis album might sound like as he took both crowds through a hip-hop/reggae/techtronica set, all laced with his beat-boxing, and backed up with local band — and Lewis’ good friends — AriSawkaDoria.
He sang two of the songs he’s performed on “American Idol” — songs by Jamiroquai and Keane — as well as some original compositions, each one with a groovy, rhythmic vibe.
In interviews, Lewis comes across much as he does on TV: low-key, nice, obliging. And on a live stage he’s all grins and dance moves with a beat-boxing talent that seems to cross generational lines. During the Bothell performance, the crowd of thousands that swarmed into town included middle-age men holding “We (heart) you Blake” signs, mothers pushing strollers, punked-out teens with spiky, dyed hair and cheerleaders in crisp uniforms.
Even if Lewis doesn’t win, he’s already a star. Arriving from Los Angeles by private jet, he cruised in a stretch limo with police escorts and was flown from Seattle to Bothell and back to Seattle on a Kenmore Air floatplane. Friends say that because of “Idol,” Lewis now has a killer wardrobe, but they maintain he hasn’t changed.
“It was like he never left,” said longtime friend Kent Halvorsen, who partied with Lewis on Thursday night and took in the Seattle concert Friday.
But there’s always a Simon Cowell in the crowd.
“I don’t know, he sounded a little pitchy to me,” said one man, following the crowd streaming out of the Bothell park amphitheater. “Sounded a little like Adam Sandler in ‘The Wedding Singer.’ ”
Rachel Tuinstra: 206-515-5637 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Florangela Davila: 206-464-2916 or email@example.com