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Image: Brett Michaels, Casey James
Vince Bucci  /  Reuters
Bret Michaels, left, joined "Idol" finalist Casey James on one of Poison's biggest hits, "Every Rose Has Its Thorn."
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updated 5/26/2010 10:14:32 PM ET 2010-05-27T02:14:32

Bret Michaels didn't tell his doctors or his family that he planned to perform on "American Idol."

Though the 47-year-old rocker and reality TV star has suffered from life-threatening health problems recently, he sang and played guitar on Wednesday's star-studded season finale. The Poison frontman joined "Idol" finalist Casey James on one of the band's biggest hits, "Every Rose Has Its Thorn."

"I needed to be here and do this," the ailing star told reporters backstage after the performance. "It's been two months since I played, a month and a half in the hospital, and it was such an amazing feeling to come out there tonight and jam with Casey."

"I needed this for my soul," he continued. "Honestly, this is a great experience."

Michaels, who won this season's "Celebrity Apprentice" show last Sunday, suffered a brain hemorrhage in April. He was hospitalized again May 20 for what doctors called a "warning stroke" and diagnosed with a hole in his heart. Doctors said the conditions are likely unrelated.

Though he was moving slowly Wednesday, he said he was feeling great.

"There's still obviously a lot of things and a lot of pain I'm still experiencing," he said. "But except for a little, as they say, hitch in the giddy up getting out there, my left side from the warning stroke, I feel amazing."

He asked the press how the song sounded on TV and confessed he was a little nervous performing on the live show.

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"My heart was pounding," he said. "I was trying to make it to the mike on time."

Michaels said that though he isn't 100 percent, he plans to continue his tour, starting Friday in Biloxi, Miss.

Overcoming such grave illness has given the rocker new appreciation for life.

"Every minute I'm here is awesome," he said. "I'm just loving every day."

And he had some advice for the new "American Idol," Lee DeWyze.

"Make sure you love what you do," Michaels said. "Don't ever become jaded. If you become jaded, you lose your soul."

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: ‘American Idol’ season 9 finale

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  1. A true Idol

    Country superstar Carrie Underwood, who was the season 3 winner, performs "Undo It" during at the "American Idol" finale at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Wednesday, May 26. (Vince Bucci / PictureGroup via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. School daze

    Alice Cooper, center, joins the 12 finalists to perform his hit "School's Out" during the "American Idol" finale. (Vince Bucci / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Guitar gal

    Orianthi helped to kick off the "American Idol" finale, joining the top 12 finalists and Alice Cooper in a rendition of "School's Out." (Frank Micelotta / PictureGroup via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Taking it to the finale

    Former Doobie Brothers singer Michael McDonald, left, and finalist Michael "Big Mike" Lynche perform "Taking It To The Streets" during Wednesday night's finale. (Vince Bucci / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. He's baaaack

    William Hung returned to perform "Pants On The Ground" with its writer, Gen. Larry Platt (on the ground, center), during Wednesday night's show. (Vince Bucci / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Can't keep him down

    Newly crowned "Celebrity Apprentice" Bret Michaels and Idol finalist Casey James team up on Poison's hit "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." (Vince Bucci / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Oh yeah, they know

    Crystal Bowersox gets a little help from Alanis Morissette, right, on Morissette's hit single "You Ought To Know." (Kristian Dowling / PictureGroup) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. A little bit of soul

    Darryl Hall, top left, and Jon Oates, top right, otherwise known as Hall & Oates, perform "I Can't Go For That" and "Maneater" with the top 12 male finalists. (Vince Bucci / PictureGroup via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. She is beautiful

    Christina Aguilera was among the music superstars to perform at the "American Idol" finale at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Wednesday. (Kristian Dowling / PictureGroup) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Sweet home Chicago

    Lee DeWyze, who hails from Mt. Prospect, Ill., joins the band Chicago to perform a medley of their hits during Wednesday's "American Idol" finale. (Vince Bucci / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Happy reunion

    Ex-judge Paula Abdul, left, who often played Simon Cowell’s sparring partner during the seasons the shared, returned to say goodbye to the acerbic British judge. "I've loved all the fun we've had together," Abdul told Cowell. "'American Idol's' not gonna be the same without you." (Vince Bucci / PictureGroup) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Swan song

    Simon Cowell, left, next to Kara DioGuardi, made his final appearance as a judge on "American Idol" on Wednesday night. The caustic Brit will launch a new show, "X-Factor," in 2011. (Michael Becker / PictureGroup via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. No, her first name isn't baby

    Janet Jackson performs her hit "Nasty" during the "American Idol" finale at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Wednesday, May 26. (Vince Bucci / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Simon takes his bow

    Simon Cowell gets a hug from Ryan Seacrest, center, while receiving an ovation from past "Idols" and fans in the Nokia Theatre on Wednesday. (Ray Mickshaw / PictureGroup via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. They are the champions

    "Idol" winners Carrie Underwood, left, Ruben Studdard, center, and Kelly Clarkson were among the former contestants who took the stage Wednesday to pay tribute to Simon Cowell. (Kristian Dowling / PictureGroup via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. A little help

    Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze are joined by Joe Cocker on "A Little Help From My Friends" in the closing minutes of the "American Idol" finale. (Kristian Dowling / PictureGroup via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Awaiting the results

    Crystal Bowersox, left, and Lee DeWyze, center, await the announcement from host Ryan Seacrest of the "American Idol" season nine winner. (Vince Bucci / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Lee's first song

    Season nine winner Lee DeWyze performs "Beautiful Day" during the "American Idol" finale at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. (Vince Bucci / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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