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Interview with Jon Peter Lewis of American Idol

I always think that the American Idol artists are lucky as they get three very different opinions or pieces of advice each week, as they hear witticisms and criticisms from Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, and Randy Jackson. When asked what pieces of this advice had most helped Jon with his career since American Idol, he said hasn’t really thought much about the critiques he received during his time on the show lately. The best quotes that were said to him, though, were said by Simon. Not necessarily because they were especially important to Jon, but because he could put them in his bio, that Simon Cowell had said this or that.

Jon also gives more credence to the things that Simon has said, especially the positive comments, so I asked if watching the show now, if it ever took him back and made him remember things that were said to or about him. It does in some ways as he’s heard Simon repeat comments sometimes, with either things he’s said to Jon or to others, yet he generally does agree with Simon’s assessments. He finds himself watching the show just as we do, and it can be a number of weeks before he remembers that he was once a part of it.

I know I’ve seen a picture of Jon holding a ukulele, so I was betting that it was probably him playing on The Ukulele Song on his new album. He admitted yes, that it was him, and that he only can play a few songs, as they all revolve around the same three chords. He wrote The Ukulele Song utilizing those same chords, and then realized he could play many others as well.

Remembering Jon talking about being an artist on American Idol, and even showing a few of the portraits he’d drawn, I asked if he had ever thought about selling some of his drawings. He said normally he only draws for himself, and they are more or less more personal. He draws a portrait of his nieces each year for Christmas, and has been doing it so long, it’s no longer a surprise. He’s not in danger of running out of nieces sand nephews any time soon, so he’s not doing art just for art’s sake. However, he notes he has a blank wall in his home, so he probably should draw a few things to fill it up. You never know, though, I’m thinking maybe there will be some gold records to hang there someday.

Of course there’s also his career as a doctor. At the time he was on American Idol, he was saying if the music thing didn’t work out, he’d go back to school and pursue a medical career. Obviously, the music thing is working out for Jon, but has he given up on that old notion? Jon said he just thought about it the other day while driving by the hospital, and thought, “Man, it would be really nice to be a doctor.” However, he’d have to complete so many years of schooling before accomplishing that. He’s not 21 anymore, and going back now at the age of 27, he’d be in his mid-30s by the time he was done. I asked if it was a “what if” type of thing, and he says with “what ifs” they kind of get a little crazy. They become “wild hairs”, and those become “mad obsessions.” I told him I completely understood, as that’s how I got into writing. It was a what if, that led to a wild hair. And hey, here I am now interviewing JPL.

When looking for ideas of things to ask Jon, I looked up his old interview on the American Idol website, from just before the show started. It was our first introduction to Jon Peter Lewis, other than knowing that Simon thought he looked like a pen salesman. He said on there that his American Idol was Forrest Gump. That was such a unique answer, I had to ask if he still felt that way. Jon told me the night before, he had watched the movie, and came out of it with that natural high after watching a good movie. He got up the next morning still thinking about it, and once he was given that interview later that day, it was the only way he could think of to answer that question.

While it was a quick spur-of-the-moment answer for Jon, he does see Forrest Gump as an American Idol. He thought he was a good solid representation of the country, in an allegorical kind of way. Forrest isn’t the smartest guy, and seems to kind of get himself in trouble a lot, yet he always seems to get back on top in the end. He was everywhere, including so many pop culture references. He was strong, not always bright, and good natured, yet seemed to come out well in the end.


Freelance entertainment and tech writer, editor