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What’s Made Milwaukee Famous? Danny Gokey

Danny Gokey photo courtesy of Sony Music Nashville.

Years ago, Schlitz used to hail itself as “the beer that made Milwaukee famous.” It even inspired a hit song, Jerry Lee Lewis’ “What’s Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out Of Me).”

Schlitz beer bit the dust, though it’s been revived in the last few years, and Danny Gokey has brought back a little attention to the city where Schlitz was brewed. In fact, “American Idol” decided to hold auditions there for its upcoming season specifically because of Danny’s history.

“I was very shocked that they said that,” he told The Appleton Post-Crescent. “I was always an advocate of Milwaukee and trying to get them to come, and they finally did it. And the producer was like, ‘You know we’re here because of you, right?’ And I was blown away… It felt wonderful because I didn’t win ‘American Idol,’ but even though I didn’t win, I made an impression on the show that lasted. And I came from Milwaukee, and Milwaukee’s got a lot of arts, a lot of great things going on, but it’s always been overshadowed by Chicago. So I was very happy to be able to help put Milwaukee on the map.”

“Idol,” of course, put Danny on the map in just a few episodes. He went from being depressed over the death of his wife to becoming a star, being recognized in public and moving to a brand new city. A lot of the circumstances around him are different. Danny says he’s not.

“I still have the same beliefs in God,” he said. “That has not changed. My influence has increased and I’ve become a household name, but I believe I’m the same person. … I feel like I’m back in school right now. I’m just learning so much right now about myself — things that I feel can make me a better performer, a better singer, a better person in general.”

Danny, Jennette McCurdy and Lance Bass are among five people who will host a live stream from the red carpet at the American Music Awards — in Los Angeles, not Milwaukee — on Sunday. It starts at 5 p.m. ET at ABC.com, Secretformula.com/amas and Ustream.tv/amas.

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