Chris Jericho to rock Celebrity Duets
On Aug. 29, the rest of the world will find out what Jerichoholics and friends of Fozzy already know: Chris Jericho rocks. The former WWE Superstar will be competing on an American Idol-esque TV show called Celebrity Duets that pits celebrities known for things other than singing against each other. Each week, the celebrities will team up with a different recording industry legend to perform.
"The singers that are involved are some of the greatest singers of all time, which is what really got me interested in the project; people like Smokey Robinson, Cyndi Lauper, the Black Crowes, Clint Black, Tim McGraw, Chaka Khan, Kenny Loggins, Christina Aguilera, the list goes on and on," said Jericho.
Even though he and his band Fozzy have released a number of albums and toured the world, Jericho doesn't think he has an unfair advantage.
"The thing that's cool about the show is they were really meticulous on who they got as the celebrities to sing," he said. Lucy Lawless performed on Broadway in Grease and Jai Rodriguez was in Rent on Broadway. Hal Sparks has a band. Cheech sang "Earache My Eye" in the 70s. Everybody's got some chops. I mean they really did not want it to be a train wreck. They wanted it to be really, really good."
Even with his extensive credentials, landing a part on the show was no cakewalk. He had to sing one song of his choosing and one song from a list he received just hours before the audition.
"I got this list of songs, and it's all like Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion, Etta James and some of the greatest singers ever; and it was like wow, this is hard stuff," Jericho exclaimed. "Right at the very end of the list I saw Spinning Wheel by Blood, Sweat and Tears; it's a song from the early 70s. The guy's voice is kind of similar to mine, and I was like 'Hallelujah.' I was like I think I can do that... I went into the studio and laid it down twice. And then the song I chose was Enter Sandman by Metallica. I figured I'm just going to go for the throat you know. I'm a rock guy; this is what I do, make no bones about it."
Jericho's audition was sent over to Executive Producer Simon Cowell of American Idol fame. Cowell liked what he heard and the Sexy Beast was offered a spot on the show.
"Everyone says 'Oh Simon's so intimidating. What are you going to say?' And I was like, 'I worked for Vince McMahon for six years; ain't nobody more intimidating than that.' Simon Cowell is a mere child compared to Vince McMahon."
With the auditions over, Y2J sizes up the competition.
"I wouldn't go into the competition if I didn't think I could win it," he bragged. "I think that Lucy Lawless is going to be tough because she has such a huge fan base, but then again, so do I... Hal Sparks is kind of similar to what I do. He's got a rock band, he's a funny guy, he's kind of the same age as me, so I think he and I will be kind of indirectly in competition… It's funny because he and I are on every VH1 show ever, so it's like we already have a connection as it is."
Jericho did not know who he would be paired with when WWE.com spoke to him, but that did not seem to matter.
"I'm really looking forward to it because there's so many different styles and so many different types of singers, so it's going to be a challenge for me. I'm a rock singer, but rock is derived from blues which is kind of a component of soul music as well... Even country music has a real rock vibe to it sometimes. I'm going to have to really work hard to draw the most out of my voice."
The Ayatollah of Rock N' Rolla is excited about being exposed to an audience that may not be familiar with his work.
"I'm going to have to prove myself to a whole new fan base to really take it to the next level. But that doesn't mean that I don't need every single bit of support from all of the Jerichoholics out there. We've got to show them that the Jerichoholics are stronger than the Xenaphiles."
You can see Chris Jericho on Celebrity Duets which premieres Tuesday, Aug. 29 at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.
Read about Chris Jericho in the play Opening Night