VIDEO: Bret Michaels Makes Surprise Appearance At American Idol; Says "I Needed This For My Soul"

May 27 2010, Published 9:35 a.m. ET

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A lot of big stars performed on Wednesday's American Idol finale -- Janet Jackson, Alanis Morissette, Christina Aguilera, Carrie Underwood -- but the biggest surprise was when ailing rocker Bret Michaels took to the stage.

The Poison frontman, who's been in-and-out of the hospital after suffering a brain hemorrhage, joined Idol's top-three finalist Casey James in a rousing version of one of the Poison hit, Every Rose Has Its Thorn.

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Speaking backstage at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles after the performance, Michaels said: "I needed to be here and do this because it's been two months since I played.

"It's been a month and a half in the hospital. It was such an amazing feeling to come out here and jam with Casey. I didn't tell my doctors I was going to do this. I just told them I was doing the Celebrity Apprentice finale. They're going to find out in a minute. But I feel great, I gotta be honest. There's still a lot of pain I'm still experiencing. But except for a little hitch ... my left side from the ... stroke, I feel amazing."

As has previously reported, Michaels, 47, was hospitalized last month for a brain hemorrhage, and just last week, was rushed to the hospital again because of what doctors called a "warning stroke."  

This past Sunday, against the advice of his doctors, Michaels appeared on the live finale of NBC's Celebrity Apprentice, where he was one of the remaining two contestants. Michaels was named the winner over fellow finalist Holly Robinson Peete.

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For Michaels, performing was musical therapy.

"I can't believe my family let me out. I may not have told them either; I left a few things out," he joked after his Idol performance. "But I needed this for my soul. Honestly. It was a great experience."

Michaels said he plans to take to the stage again as soon as Friday in Biloxi, Mississippi.

"I'm going to do a few shows at a time. If it works out, great. If it doesn't, I'll start again," he said.

Alanis Morissette

Michaels also reflected on lessons he learned since falling ill. "I've always tried to treat people with respect and I've always tried to treat people great. I enjoy every day - every minute I'm here is awesome."

Michaels joked that he wasn't exactly sure what he would be doing, now that he's won the title of Celebrity Apprentice. He also said that he initially didn't know if he was hired or fired by Donald Trump.

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VIDEO: Bret Michaels Wins Celebrity Apprentice

"I leaned in and said, 'Did you say hired or fired?' I didn't know what he said. I just jumped up. I thought, 'Trump, you're not going to fire me right now. I'm on medication. I flew a long way. Holly is amazing. She's a fierce competitor,' " he said of his co-finalist, Holly Robinson Peete. "I didn't ask Trump 'What does being "Celebrity Apprentice" entail? Do you get paid? Is there cash involved?' But what do you gotta do for him? Hopefully, you get to do a lot of charity fundraising. If that's what it is, I'm going to love it."

And as for that hospital stay?

"I've spent the last month and a half in the hospital. I don't ever want to see a hospital again," he said. "I just want to go out and have a

great time."

Unfortunately for Michaels, he will be back in the hospital this fall when doctors repair a hole in his heart.



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