Though John Legend
is starring in “Duets,”
a new singing competition show on ABC, the Grammy-winning artist tells Zap2It
he was actually turned down by another show as a child.
“I sang at this local ‘Star Search’ competition at this mall that was opening in my home area,” Legend says at a press conference Thursday (May 17). “I won the local competition and winning meant you got a $500 shopping spree at the mall, and you got to submit your tape to Ed McMahon. So, I got that far, but after that I didn’t make it any further. And you know, like 12 years later I got a record deal.”
Despite his first failed mission, the musician admits he may have tried again to be on television had the opportunity been presented.
“I came up kind of in a different era,” Legend says. “The singing talent competition shows didn’t have the same great reputation that they have now. Now there’s a track record of them producing some really amazing artists, but early on it was just ‘Star Search’ when we were kids, and then it was a big gap, really, of shows.”
“It really didn’t seem like a viable thing, when I was trying to get a record deal, to be on these shows,” he continues. “If it was then, I probably would have tried whatever avenue would have worked. There’s all kinds of way to be discovered.”
“Duets” premieres May 24, and will pit Legend against superstars Kelly Clarkson
, Jennifer Nettles
and Robin Thicke
in a challenge to sing the best duet with self-chosen, undiscovered talents. Legend held an open call to find his two female partners and describes the show as highly competitive but fun.
As a mentor and political activist, Legend, who campaigned for President Obama in the 2008 elections, further commented on the commander-in-chief’s recent statements in support of gay marriage.
“I think that was an important way to show leadership,” Legend says. “To show that you’re a man of principle. If you believe in equal rights for some people then you should believe in equal rights for everybody, and I’m fully in support of what he said.”