Interview: Robin Thicke changes tune on reality TV

Little known fact about R&B crooner Robin Thicke: He’s funny.

It’s true. The “Lost Without U” singer frequently makes others around him laugh with his self-deprecating remarks and dirty sense of humor, not to mention his impersonation of his wife and “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” star Paula Patton. You just wouldn’t know it from his suave persona and sensual music catalog.

That will likely change beginning May 24 when he appears in the new ABC singing competition (yes, another one) “Duets.” The show will give Thicke his first regular role on network TV — coincidentally the same network that aired his father Alan Thicke’s sitcom, “Growing Pains” — and will feature artists performing with aspiring singers on a weekly basis. “Duets” joins a growing genre that already includes Fox’s “American Idol” and “X Factor” and NBC’s “The Voice” and “America’s Got Talent.”

“I think people like to see dreams come true,” Thicke said Thursday before performing at Paris Club’s upstairs lounge, Studio Paris, as part of VH1 Save The Music Foundation’s Songwriters Music Series. “That’s why I watch the Grammys — to see that guy who was playing guitar in his apartment win.”

So Thicke agreed to join “Duets” to help make dreams come true?

“No, I did it for the money,” Thicke said without missing a beat. “My music doesn’t play on pop radio. I’ll be able to reach a new audience. I’d be lying if I said I did it because I’m excited to find talent. That didn’t happen until I met my two (aspiring singers on ‘Duets’). … There’s exposure. People are touring better and gaining a bigger fan base. Jennifer Lopez (‘American Idol’) and Adam Levine (‘The Voice’) have been more successful.”

There was a time when artists like Thicke, Lopez, Levine and rumored “X Factor” judge Britney Spears wouldn’t have considered joining these types of shows. (Why do you think “American Idol” originally offered the job to Paula Abdul?) Some probably demanded higher salaries than what the shows were paying, some felt it was ruining music and then some, like Thicke, were turned off by the stigma of reality TV.

“In the beginning, music competitions were corny,” Thicke said. “To me, there was nothing real about reality TV. It was fantasy TV. If people want to see reality TV, come to my house at midnight after a drunk night out.”

Thicke now sees the genre in a different light. And soon, the public — which Thicke believes only sees him as “The sex guy” or “Mr. Sex” — will view him in a different light as well.

“They’ve only seen me in music videos and interviews,” Thicke said. “I don’t know if they will be impressed. The best part of my personality is my music.”

Twitter @aboutluisgomez

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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