Thursday, February 12, 2009

Idol Worship: Blake Lewis' New Deal; Album To Feature Ben Gibbard?

The season six runner-up has signed a new record deal with Tommy Boy Entertainment, the seminal dance/hip hop/electronic label whose catalog includes albums by Africa Bambaataa, Biz Markie and De La Soul. "I'm doing an electro-pop slash real-hip hop-influenced album," he told Billboard. "It's a great record already and we're only five songs into it. We're hoping to have it out for April, so I'm working my butt off."

Blake says there will be a "ton of guests" on the record, mostly Seattle vocalists, but he also has his sights on someone we didn't quite expect: Ben Gibbard from Death Cab For Cutie. Turns out, Blake's got a connection. "My manager Leslie Lewis is Jenny Lewis' sister, so it's all a community thing," he said. "I'm hoping to talk to him about it at the Grammys."

In the meantime, Blake, who was dropped by RCA after one album, is getting a kick out of watching the new season of American Idol, for the first time since his near win in 2007. And he's also commenting on it, as a special correspondent for his local FOX station. "It's comedy to me," he said. "Because with the audition episodes, I was there for 12 hours, and to see how they cut it into two cities in a one-hour show, I just laugh about it." -- Shirley Halperin

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