Blake Lewis, American Idol Finalist

Frank Micelotta/FOX

It appears American Idol sometimes overdoses in molding young talent. Now, we already know the cheesy reality job's a veritable pop star factory—real people go in, bright 'n' shiny products come out.

Gals next door Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood were morphed into über-hot babes, while the already doable David Cook was whipped up a better haircut and some power ballads to keep the fans drooling. Those kids went with the overmanaged flow, but some of the show's surprisingly popular contestants weren't at all open to Idol producers playing with them like paper dolls.

One A.I. alum tells all about the ugly truth competing on the reality competish when it came to nitpicking his tunes:

"They try and read you and see what your thing is," said Blake Lewis, the beat boxin' boy who came in second to Jordin Sparks in season six. B.L. dished on his less-than-stellar A.I. experience at a recent music fete.

"They wanted to pigeonhole me with beat boxing as a gimmick. That's why I came out, and the first song I sang, I sat down, I didn't move, dance or beat box. They freaked out about that."

Remember, Blakey was the hit of '80s night when he sang and beat boxed to Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name," but that song choice didn't fit the preapproved mold the producers carved out for B.L. "They were like 'Uh, what are you doing?' I just stuck to my guns. When I sang 311, they told me, 'No.' But I had to be true to myself."

Jeez, should this prepare us for yet more manipulation, especially over at the judge's table? We're shocked Kara DioGuardi doesn't have a catchphrase yet. It's only a matter of time before the producers hammer down an easily digestible saying for K to shout out instead of valid music critiques.

Tho Kar looks like the type of broad who could come out of the show somewhat unscathed—tolerating Paula can only make ya stronger, fer sure.

—Additional reporting by Becky Bain and Taryn Ryder

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