'American Idol' Alums Blake Lewis & Elliott Yamin on Touring Together, Their Rules for the Road

Courtesy Photo
Blake Lewis

Finalists from season 5 and season 6 team up for The Soulbox Tour, kicking off in Wisconsin Sept. 23.

Two of American Idol’s best-loved alums are joining forces for The Soulbox Tour, starting in the Midwest on Sept. 23. Season 5’s Elliott Yamin and season 6’s Blake Lewis will be on the road until Sept. 29, kicking it all off with an opening gig in Marshfield, Wisc. “This is the test run, and I would like to do a full West Coast tour and a full East Coast tour as well,” Lewis tells Billboard.  “We will see how it goes and then do another tour after.”

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Yamin, who has made a habit of going back to Idol during top three weeks (he finished third in his season), first met Lewis backstage during a season 6 visit. Later that year, Lewis and fellow season 6 finalists Jordin Sparks and Chris Richardson showed up at Yamin’s show at the House of Blues in Anaheim, Calif. Soon after, Lewis moved to Los Angeles and his friendship with Yamin deepened.

The two Idols first appeared together three summers ago at the Andy Williams Moon River Theater in Branson, Mo., doing a show with other Idol alums. “Blake and I have played quite a few bills together, and some one-offs, but this will be our first tour together,” says Yamin. “We’ve been tossing around the idea for a couple of years but I guess it wasn’t meant to be until now. Blake has a new album and I have a new album coming out and we need to reconnect with our audiences.”

What can Idol fans expect from Lewis and Yamin? “There will be two separate sets,” says Yamin, “and possibly some duets. New tunes and old ones, with a few covers sprinkled in. I’m going to bring raw, soulful vocals and Blake will come at you with his loop pedal board and create songs in front of your face.” Lewis adds, “I’ll be bringing people on stage. I love getting audience members to create with me.”

After their initial dates together, both Idols will stay on the road. “Elliott is heading to New York and Virginia for a couple of dates and I am heading to Germany and London for shows,” Lewis reveals. Then he has some surprising plans: “After the tour, I am not going to be doing an album again. I am a little too meticulous when I am in the studio. I am trying to get away from that. I just want to create, polish it and be done.”

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For The Soulbox Tour, the two friends will fly to Wisconsin for the first gig and then hit the road in a rented minivan. “It’s just going to be three of us: Elliot, the bass guitarist and me,” says Lewis. “Some gear and merchandise hopping from city to city. I think the longest drive we have is only three hours. It’s going to be very easy.”

Easy only until Lewis and Yamin find out each other’s rules for the road. Billboard asked for a preview and both Idols granted separate revelations:

“No bad music in the car. Elliott doesn’t have bad taste. We both turn each other on to new artists and old artists.” – Blake

“Blake is a constant, persistent, habitual, yet super-dope noisemaker. I love it! But it'd be nice if he wasn't compelled to do that so much or so often during our long car rides.” – Elliott

“No fast food. That’s going to be really tough on the road.” – Blake

“Another rule I will try and enforce: Blake must go running with me everyday.” – Elliott

“No shoes off, because Elliott’s got some stinky-ass feet. If he’s going to get me to run every day, we can’t be having that. Unless we’re ‘Febrezing’ in our soccer-mom car.” – Blake