LOS ANGELES — According to Bret Michaels, his surprise performance Wednesday night on the "American Idol" season finale stage was much-needed musical therapy.
Anticipation built quickly in the audience when the familiar guitar chords of one of Michaels' biggest hits with his group Poison, "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," began and he later emerged on stage with top-three finalist Casey James.
"I needed to be here and do this because it's been two months since I played," the rocker said backstage at the Nokia Theater shortly after his performance. "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 a still a lot of pain I'm still experiencing. [But] except for a little hitch ... my left side from the ... stroke, I feel amazing."
Last month the singer and reality show star was hospitalized for a brain hemorrhage and was rushed to the hospital again last week because of a "warning stroke." On Sunday he appeared on the "Celebrity Apprentice" finale and was named the victor, and he says that he's ready to hit the road again.
"I can't believe my family let me out. I may not have told them either; I left a few things out," he joked. "But I needed this for my soul. Honestly. It was a great experience."
He said that he plans to perform 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.
Michaels also reflected on lessons he learned while hospitalized. "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.
"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."