The performance was made even more remarkable since Michaels was recovering from an emergency appendectomy, a brain hemorrhage, and a warning stroke. But nothing was going to stop Michaels. "It was my first musical performance back," he told reporters, "and after this I'm hoping to go out on the road and I'm really looking forward to it."
Although Michaels was able to walk off the Idol stage unassisted, he was still very careful about his steps and looked fatigued in the pressroom. He admitted, "Here's the thing. They have not said everything is okay. I'm running at about 75 percent realistically and physically, but in my soul and in my heart I feel great, and I needed to do this tonight."
His duet with James had been in the works "before I got sick," Michaels said. "We just weren't sure because I was out on tour. American Idol is such an incredible experience for any musician to do, right? And to be out on stage with Casey, who I think is one of the most talented ones on here, and for him and me to jam and play guitar together, that was an amazing experience."
Still, "honestly," he continued, "a couple weeks ago I didn't think I would do any of this."
As for how it felt to perform, Michaels said, "I was so excited. I mean, later on I may collapse, but right now, I feel great! My heart was pumping. First of all, I walk out on stage and my fans and friends and family were all here and it was such an awesome feeling to hear them screaming and cheering and singing along with the song. Hey, that's three generations out there, and that's all I wanted to do was have a great musical career and to be able to do that twenty some years later – that's a great feeling."
Michaels added that he never hesitated about performing. "What it was," he said, "was I got sick, and I found out I had the hole in my heart, that's when I was like, man, there are three things that happened, the appendectomy, the brain hemorrhage and then this thing other thing that happened, and I was like, man, I think I've had my three, right? They come in threes. I'm good for a while!" –Cynthia Wang
Tell us: What did you think of Bret and Casey's performance?