With his memorable beatboxing and scat singing skills, season six runner-up Blake Lewis gave the hit show "American Idol" (Fox, 2002-16) a much-needed dose of edge and originality, and helped usher in a whole new set of performers who eschewed the pop music norm. He was born on July 21, 1981 in Redmond, WA to Dallas Lewis and Dinah Lewis, who was a singer. In high school, the future "Idol" finalist appeared in various musical productions, and started making comedy and rap videos with his friends. In these videos, Lewis often portrayed his alter ego, Jimmie Walker Blue, a character he introduced when he competed on "Idol." At 17, inspired by the music of an a capella group, Lewis started beatboxing and writing songs. His passion for music never waned after graduating from high school in 1999. He worked on an album with a band, but later quit to pursue a solo career, changing his stage name to B Shorty, and performing regularly at various local gigs in Seattle. In the fall of 2006, Lewis showed off his beatboxing skills during his audition for season six of "American Idol," and earned a spot in the semi-finals round held in Hollywood.