Grammy Award-winning artist Gwen Stefani will work with the Top 10 finalists next week on American Idol Tuesday, March 27 (8:00-9:07 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed), and will perform "The Sweet Escape" with Akon on the results show Wednesday, March 28 (9:00-9:30 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX. It will be a pop-themed week, as contestants pick their favorite songs from that genre.
Stefani is an award-winning singer, songwriter and fashion designer. She co-founded Orange County, CA, band No Doubt as a teenager, and the group's third album, "Tragic Kingdom" (1995), propelled them to stardom and sold more than 15 million copies worldwide. It spawned the singles "Just a Girl," "Spiderwebs" and the No. 1 smash "Don't Speak." Stefani released her debut album, the three-times Platinum "Love. Angel. Music. Baby.," in 2004. Its massive single "Hollaback Girl" became the first song to exceed 1 million U.S. digital downloads, while "Rich Girl" and "Cool" were two of 2005's most popular radio singles. "The Sweet Escape" (2006), Stefani's follow-up album, includes the hit "Wind it Up" and the title track "The Sweet Escape" (featuring Akon), which is currently No. 3 on Billboard's Hot 100. Stefani is also known as a fashion innovator, having debuted her signature high-fashion clothing line L.A.M.B. in 2003 and a second, more accessible, line called Harajuku Lovers in 2005.
Akon, the son of jazz percussionist Mor Thiam, was born in St. Louis, MO. He lived in both Senegal and the U.S. until he was 15, and then his family permanently moved to Jersey City, NJ, where he discovered hip-hop music. He recorded his first song, "Operations of Nature," at age 15. After spending some time in jail, Akon began writing and recording tracks in his home studio. The tapes found their way to SRC/Universal, which released Akon's debut LP "Trouble" in June 2004. The album is a hybrid of Akon's silky, West African-styled vocals mixed with East Coast and Southern beats.
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