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Originally published July 27, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 27, 2007 at 9:02 AM

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Sanjaya, Blake bring it home

Sanjaya Malakar and Blake Lewis, the two Seattle-based runners-up on "American Idol," are coming home tonight. "American Idols Live," the...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Concert preview

"American Idols Live" 7 tonight at Tacoma Dome, 2727 East D St., Tacoma; and 7 p.m. Saturday at Rose Garden Arena, 1 Center Court, Portland; $38.50-$69 (206-628-0888 or www.ticketmaster.com; walk-up tickets still available; Tacoma Dome info: 253-272-3663 or www.tacomadome.org).

Sanjaya Malakar and Blake Lewis, the two Seattle-based runners-up on "American Idol," are coming home tonight. "American Idols Live," the three-month, 56-stop tour, featuring the top 10 contestants from last season's show, will be at the Tacoma Dome tonight and back on the road Saturday morning.

The two-hour show will highlight at least one appearance by each of the top 10 idols, including all-female and all-male ensembles. The show's set list is the same for each stop on the tour, with the exception that all contestants will perform solos in his or her hometown.

Lucky for us, that means we get a special serenade by Federal Way's Sanjaya Malakar and Kenmore's Blake Lewis.

Malakar, 17, who was heavily criticized last season for being one of the weakest singers on the show, is looking forward to "redeeming" himself over the course of the tour, which began in Florida on July 6 and ends in New Hampshire on Sept. 22.

"So far, it's been nice to be able to perform and afterward people are like, 'Wow, you're better than you were on the show,' " he says. "It's nice to get that kind of feedback and prove that I belonged [in the top 10]."

Malakar is nervous about performing in front of his friends and family, all of whom will attend either tonight in Tacoma or Saturday night in Portland, but he's looking forward to being on the stage side of a venue he's known his whole life.

"I've been to the Tacoma Dome like a million times and I never, ever, ever would have thought I was going to play there," he says. "It wasn't even a dream to play there. It was too unlikely to even dream about."

Lewis, who celebrated his 26th birthday last night with his friends and family in Kenmore, is looking forward to the four-minute beatboxing set he's performed regularly since the start of the tour. Hometown fans will recognize it from his days as a freelance musician at venues around Seattle.

"They let me do whatever I want to do up there, just like I've always done. I get to just be me, run around stage and make all kinds of weird noises," says Lewis, referring to his playful vocal looping style.

Some of the songs Lewis will perform tonight will appear again on his upcoming solo album, which he plans to release in November. He's already recorded seven songs for the album and now spends his travel time — six to eight hours a day on a tour bus — writing new songs. "When it comes to music, I'm a workhorse," he says.

In addition to performances by our local boys, tonight's show promises a solo by American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, a duet with Lewis and Chris Richardson, and a demonstration of vocal fortitude by leading ladies Melinda Doolittle and LaKisha Jones.

Haley Edwards: 206-464-2745 or hedwards@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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