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.
"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."