‘American Idol’ better get ready for a ‘new attitude,’ because when Patti LaBelle performs during the Season 16 finale, she’s going to ‘stir it up!’ Learn about all about this legendary R&B diva.
When American Idol concludes its 16th season on May 21, it will be one giant music extravaganza. Along with the top two finalists performing three times, the show will feature some epic performances from some of music’s biggest names, including the living legend Patti LaBelle, 73. Before this iconic diva steps on stage, get all the details about the “Godmother of soul.”
1. She’s a chart-topping legend. Born Patricia Louise Holt, Patti began singing after joining a local church choir in her native home of Philadelphia. Since her first single in 1962, Patty has gone on to win two Grammy awards, a ton of Lifetime Achievement awards and, in 2004, she was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. She’s best known for her songs “On My Own,” “Stir It Up,” “The Best Is Yet To Come” and “New Attitude.”
2. Patti began as part of a girl group. Long before Beyonce and Destiny’s Child or Camila Cabello and Fifth Harmony, there was Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles. The group scored a hit with 1962’s “I Sold My Heart To The Junkman.” They would rename themselves as simply Labelle in 1971, and would find their first No. 1 song with the original “Lady Marmalade.” The song would later be covered by Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya, and Pink for the film, Moulin Rouge. Labelle was so successful, they became the first African-American vocal group to land on the cover of Rolling Stone, according to Biography.com.
3. She went solo in 1977. Patti decided to go it alone in the late 70s, releasing her self-titled debut. It was a critical success, and since then, she has continued to record and perform, making her a staple of R&B and soul music. She earned her first No. 1 album in 1986 with Winner In You, thanks in part to the power of the “On My Own” single. It’s also her best-selling album to date, going on to sell more than 8 million copies.
4. She actually got shady about American Idol years ago. “Some of the judges, I don’t think they’re qualified to even judge,” Patti said about Idol in 2010, per Today. She wouldn’t really explain which judge she was talking about, and at the time, it was Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Kara DioGuardi and Ellen DeGeneres picking the winners. Patti said she asked to be a judge on the show before Paula Abdul joined, but a rep for the show at the time declined to comment on the claim.
“The comments that were made,” Patti said about the judges’ remarks, “they could make you like wanna kill yourself. If you believe in yourself, just go for it. What do you have to lose? And when people tell you ‘You can’t,’ you have to say, ‘I can.’ “
— American Idol (@AmericanIdol) May 19, 2018
5. You might have seen her in a Wal-Mart commercial. In addition to music, Patti has branched out into acting and writing. She wrote her autobiography Don’t Block The Blessings in 1997, and following a diabetes diagnosis, a diabetic cookbook, LaBelle Cuisine: Recipes to Sing About. She also appeared in movies A Soldier’s Story and Beverly Hills Cops, as well as the television shows A Different World and American Horror Story. She also has starred in Patti LaBelle’s Place for two seasons on the Cooking Channel. In 2015, a vlogger named James Wright, posted a hilarious review of Patti LaBelle’s brand of sweet potato pie, according to Fox News. The 8 million hits led to Patti starring in her own commercial for the pie, which shows off her sass as well as her cooking skills.