http://www.lasvegassun.com/blogs/kats-r ... ing-paris/
1. Las Vegas Sun: The Kats Report
Upon return to the Strip, Taylor Hicks is moving (closer) to Paris Las Vegas
By John Katsilometes
Friday, Jan. 11, 2013
Officially, it's a move to Paris. But in reality, it's sort en route to Paris.
Taylor Hicks is moving out of Indigo at Bally's to Napoleon's Dueling Piano Bar, which leads into Le Boulevard, which connects Bally's to Paris. The lounge and bar is, technically speaking, part of the Paris LV lineup of entertainment venues. As the name indicates, Napoleon's Dueling Piano bar has for years served as the hotel's home of regular dueling piano entertainment. Hicks, who plays a nifty guitar and is an accomplished singer-songwriter, returns to Vegas on Jan. 21 and resumes a nightly schedule (dark Wednesdays and Sundays) at 8 p.m. Tickets are listed at $67.49.
Hicks was unavailable for comment today, and Caesars Entertainment officials still have not formally announced his new venue and schedule. The Season 5 champion of "American Idol," who topped Katharine McPhee in the finals, had been headlining at Indigo, the lounge just off the casino floor at Bally's, since arriving last summer.
Hicks' contract was extended to a year in September, and late last year he returned to Indigo with his thundering Soul Patrol backing band (in one memorable appearance, John Popper of Blues Traveler joined him onstage.) Hicks has become a well-liked and highly regarded performer in the city and has made innumerable personal appearances, such as singing the annual Wrangler National Anthem to open the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in December.
2. The Hollywood Reporter
'American Idol' Taylor Hicks to Take the 'Paris' Stage
The season five winner brings his Vegas act up the strip: to the larger Napoleon's Lounge for a 2013 residency.
American Idol season five winner Taylor Hicks is taking his Vegas act up the strip to the Paris hotel and casino.
Beginning Jan. 21, Hicks will take residence at Napoleon’s at Paris Las Vegas, a bigger room than The Indigo at Bally’s, where the singer has performed for nearly a year. In fact, he’s the first Idol alum to secure a long-term residency on the Vegas Strip.
"I couldn't be happier to be making the big move to Napoleon’s inside Paris Las Vegas,” Hicks tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It's a great live music venue and I'm looking forward to performing there."
Says David Hoenemeyer, regional president of Bally’s Las Vegas and Paris Las Vegas: “Taylor has been playing to sold-out crowds at Bally’s Las Vegas since he opened in The Indigo last year, so it only made sense for him to move his show to a larger venue at Napoleon’s at Paris Las Vegas. With its large windows overlooking the ‘streets’ of Paris, Napoleon’s is the perfect location for fans to enjoy Taylor’s signature roadhouse style.”
Hicks will also appear at other Caesars properties across the country throughout 2013.
Announced dates at the Paris run through Nov. 23.
3. Vegas Chatter
Taylor Hicks Is Movin' On Up And There Ain't Nothin' Wrong With That
January 16, 2013
He didn't make our list of hunkiest headliners (despite an unsubtle lobbying attempt by yours truly), but Taylor Hicks still has reason to brag. He's being rescued
promoted from Bally's to Paris Las Vegas.
After first landing on The Strip in June of last year, the former American Idol winner will now move his soulful croonin' and harmonica stylingz from Bally's Indigo Lounge to the much cleaner larger Napoleon's at Paris starting January 21. Performance dates will run through November 23. All showtimes will be 8 p.m. Tickets are $39.99. Cough up another $30 for a meet and greet.
http://www.vegaschatter.com/story/2013/ ... +With+That
4. Bitten and Bound Blog
Taylor Hicks Lands Roadhouse Gig at Paris Las Vegas
January 16th, 2013
If you’re planning a trip to Sin City in the near future you might want to check out
the action at Paris Las Vegas, where former ‘American Idol’ winner Taylor Hicks
will begin a long-term residency.
Simon Cowell turned out to be correct when he initially declared that Hick’s
reminded him of a Vegas lounge singer. Bingo! The 36-year-old from Alabama is
the first ‘Idol’ alum to snag full time work on the Strip.
For the last year the singer has been performing at The Indigo at Bally’s, just
down the street. His new venue, at Napoleon’s inside Paris Las Vegas, is definitely
a step up. The entertained gushed, “I couldn’t be happier to be making the big
move. It’s a great live music venue and I’m looking forward to performing there.”
David Hoenemeyer, regional president of both Bally’s and Paris said, “Taylor has
been playing to sold-out crowds at Bally’s since he opened last year, so it only
makes sense for him to move his show to a larger venue. With its large windows
overlooking the ‘streets’ of Paris, Napoleon’s is the perfect location for fans to
enjoy Taylor’s signature roadhouse style.”
He will also perform at other Caesars properties in 2013.
Hicks career has come full circle since he auditioned in Las Vegas in October 2005
for a chance to become a contestant on the Fox hit ‘American Idol.’ He beat out
Katharine McPhee to win the Season 5 competition. She hit the big time last year
with her starring role in the popular television series ‘SMASH.’ The musical drama
won a Golden Globe nomination and will begin Season two on Feb 5., 2013.
Joining the cast will be another ‘Idol’ alum, Jennifer Hudson.
5. al.com Birmingham
Taylor Hicks talks about his new gig in Las Vegas, reveals details of Bieber encounter (video)
By Mary Colurso | firstname.lastname@example.org
January 22, 2013
Taylor Hicks says he's on his best behavior in Las Vegas. Well, mostly. "There have been a few 'Hangover' moments, but those are few and far between," Hicks says. "I've lived the movie a couple of times, and lived to tell the tale." (Dave Morton)
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- No berets. No French poodles. And definitely no covers of “Zou Bisou Bisou.”
But Taylor Hicks is settling into a 10-month run at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino.
The Hoover native and former “American Idol” winner has extended his residency in Vegas though the end of November -- and his show has moved from Bally’s to another property owned by Caesars Entertainment.
It's an upgrade in clout, Hicks says, and a bonus from a technical perspective. His new venue, Napoleon’s, is bigger, nicer and located in the same hotel as the musical “Jersey Boys.”
“Production values will go up,” Hicks says. “The sound and lighting has room to improve.”
Devoted fans would follow him anywhere, even to a hole-in-the-wall bar far from the action on the Strip. But his stint at the Paris puts Hicks into a glitzy little pocket, next-door to Planet Hollywood and right across the street from the Bellagio.
“It’s a great room in Vegas, with more of a showroom feel, and I’ll be able to work some new material into the show,” Hicks says. “Ultimately, I’ve set my sights on releasing a country record this year.”
For now, he’s focusing on a five-nights-per-week schedule at Napoleon’s. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Mondays-Tuesdays and Thursdays-Saturdays, through Nov. 23.
Hicks’ backing band has changed for this go-round -- the Jamie McLean Band is gone -- but Birmingham keyboard player Brian Less remains part of the team.
“The show’s still got a little bit of a roadhouse feel to it,” Hicks says. “It’s hard to be a musician from Alabama and not have that. But I was saying that we’d have to change the covers from Wayne Newton to Edith Piaf.”
He’s joking, of course. Hicks’ agenda leans more to originals, Beatles classics, Delbert McClinton tunes and Elvis Presley standards. (“Viva Las Vegas” is his usual encore.)
About 20-30 songs are in the rotation for setlists; Hicks plays guitar, harmonica and a Hammond B3 organ on stage.
Interaction with the audience is part of his show, but Hicks hasn’t adopted the old standby of Vegas comedians. They were likely to approach customers, with microphone in hand, and ask, “So, where you from?”
Hicks quickly adapted to hotel living in Sin City, though, and happily packed his suitcases for new digs at the Paris.
Taylor Hicks released his last album, "The Distance," in 2009. "I know it's been a few years," he says. "I keep telling everybody, and I mean this, that the next piece of music from me has to be out of this world. It has to be the right record. Patience is a virtue." (Denise Truscello)
“Sometimes you want to cook and have a big kitchen,” he says. “That’s one thing I do miss, cooking my own food.”
Most nights, Hicks slips into a restaurant at the host hotel, using passageways and service elevators to get there with minimum fanfare.
“I sit in the back of the steakhouse in my pajamas,” he says. “It’s pretty funny. I’ve probably taken more photos in pajamas, in the steakhouse, than I have at meet-and-greets.”
Apparently, Hicks has something in common with the late Rodney Dangerfield, who also liked to pad around Vegas hotels in his PJs.
“That’s my thought process: What would Rodney Dangerfield do?” Hicks says, laughing. “After six or seven months in a hotel, you get comfortable. It’s pajamas central.”
When friends and relatives come to visit, Hicks usually shows them around the Strip and heads to the Peppermill Restaurant & Fireside Lounge. It opened in 1972 -- that’s old-school by Vegas standards -- and its neon decor has been featured in movies such as “Casino” and “Showgirls.”
Hicks' ties to the Birmingham area remain strong, despite the allure of Vegas, and he's often drawn back to his hometown. His family still lives here, and Hicks is a partner in Saw's Juke Joint, a restaurant in Crestline Park. In fact, Hicks says he introduced Justin Bieber to Saw's barbecue when the young pop star's tour came to the BJCC Arena on Jan. 16.
Their backstage encounter was brief but memorable: "He was actually a little star-struck," Hicks says. "He said he watched my whole season on 'American Idol.' Then he rode off on scooter, one of those Segways, yelling 'Soul Patrol!'"
http://www.al.com/entertainment/index.s ... r_las.html
6. IGO Shows.com
By Chuck Rounds
Taylor Hicks is playing inside the Napoleon Lounge at the Paris Las Vegas Resort and Casino. Hicks was the winner of American Idol, season 5 and has come to Vegas for an extended run. He first opened up at Bally's in June of 2012 in a curtained off lounge area, but now has moved down the hall to the much nicer Napoleon's. He has just recently extended his run to go through 2013.
Taylor Hicks is a musician, full of grit and soul, and as such, he and his band put on a great show. Every person in the four-piece band is a great player, and with Hicks as the front man, this group makes you remember why you want to go to see bands in the first place.
Hicks shares little tidbits of himself...his beginnings as a musician in a roadhouse; which explains a great deal as we listen to his take on Southern soul, R & B, and country and blues. The dynamics of the evening flow extremely well with his mix of cover tunes and original work, upbeat songs and ballads.
Napoleon's in a very intimate space (seating about 200 people,) and offers a great venue for a personalized evening with Taylor Hicks and his band. There are no sets, no specialized lighting---just the music, and it works wonderfully.
Immediately after American Idol, Hicks released his debut single, "Do I Make You Proud," which entered at #1 on Billboard's Hot 100, Pop 100, and Single Sales Charts. He also starred in the hit musical, GREASE as Teen Angel on Broadway, and later joined the national tour of the production.
Hicks makes us wonder about what is "supposed" to happen to a winner of American Idol---what they aspire to, and where they end up. We see the gigantic success of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, and we have all but forgotten Fantasia Barrino, Rubin Studdard, and Kris Allen. We see runner-ups eclipsing the accolades of the winners, i.e. Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry, Katherine McPhee, etc. But our first question to ourselves is; why is a winner of American Idol playing a small lounge in Vegas? We instinctively and immediately question why. Why would someone that has experienced that level of national fame with millions of fans be playing such a small room? It is a paradox that makes us wonder if there is something wrong...
In an attempt to partially answer my own question, I know these things... Season 5 of American Idol got it right. Hicks won because of his superior musical abilities. Outside of that genre, however, Hicks is not a cute pop star that has generalized broad based appeal. He is a musician, and he will appeal to an audience that has more discriminating taste about their music. And quite frankly...having a steady gig in a lounge in Vegas with the ability to play the music that you love is not a bad gig. Also, the intimacy of the lounge has its advantages...it's a better experience, and he is almost always guaranteed a full house. Kudos to you, Taylor Hicks, you put on a great show.
7. Hollywood Soapbox
INTERVIEW: Taylor Hicks sets up his soulful roots at Paris Las Vegas
Taylor Hicks, the winner of American Idol’s fifth season, has always been a traveler. From his early days touring the Southeast, before winning the FOX reality competition, to his most recent years touring the world in support of his recent albums, the musician is a man of the road. Along the way, he’s earned a large pack of fans (dubbed the “Soul Patrol”) and reinvented his career with forays into country music and even a stint in Grease, both on Broadway and a national tour.
Now, Hicks is setting up roots in the entertainment capital of the world. After playing a successful residency at Bally’s Las Vegas, he’s moving up the block to Paris Las Vegas, where he will play throughout 2013 at Napoleon’s Lounge.
“I love it,” the musician said recently during a phone interview. “It’s a bigger venue, and it’s a testament to my live show, and I’m really proud of that.”
The working relationship between Hicks and Caesars, the company behind Bally’s and Paris, began after the musician found success playing casinos in the United States. “There was mutual interest,” he said. “I had always done really great on my casino shows, and … it really is a perfect fit for the Caesar’s demographic and then my demographic. It’s all different types of folks, and not only that. Caesar’s has 200 properties worldwide, so there was also an idea that I would tour Caesar’s properties as well.”
What Hicks finds interesting about his new residency is the makeup of the audience. He was always used to being the troubadour, pulling up into town for another gig, setting up his life one concert at a time. But now he’s the one at home, and the audience is the one on vacation. “Obviously everybody’s having a good time, and they’re definitely not thinking about working,” he said. “It’s just been a nice change of pace for me, after really touring hard for the last seven or eight years, and even further than that.”
Las Vegas also attracts an international crowd, and being that American Idol is internationally known, Hicks has a fan base that extends around the globe. The so-called “Soul Patrol” casts its net far and wide. “I have a lot of people from a lot of different countries come to see my show,” he said.
The singer admitted to being most recognized for winning the reality competition show. “The first impression is Idol, and I think it’s up to me to make as many impressions as I can, and different impressions and reinventions in my career as possible,” he said. “This is a career for me, and I’m looking to work as hard as I can and have a long career in this business.”
Playing nightly at Paris Las Vegas affords the musician a chance to work during the day on his new “soulful country record.”
“Hindsight is 20-20,” said the native of Birmingham, Ala. “Looking back on it, obviously growing up where I have, and being a part of a lot of country music as a child, the roadhouses that I played and the music that I studied were very roots-oriented, and it had a lot of different styles of music in it. … I think this particular soulful country record will be the one that I’m really looking forward to the most.”
Audience members at Paris may even be able to hear a few tracks off the upcoming release. Hicks said his set list includes original music, Vegas show tunes and songs from American Idol. “As many different venues as I’ve played all over the world, the intimate venue right now is perfect for me,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier.”
Settling into Vegas has taken some time for Hicks (he said he’s still living the “hotel life”), but he’s impressed by how the city embraces its performers. “I do love the city of Las Vegas,” he said. “The city really embraces its musicians that take up residency here, and I’m blessed to be a part of the history of it.”
The Las Vegas residency may one day rank near the top of his career highlights. Currently, the top spot is reserved for a jam session he had with Willie Nelson and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in Red Rocks, Colo. “One of my favorite musical venues, and obviously one of my favorite musical legends that I grew up admiring so much, and that was just one of those moments that just really, it was awesome,” he said.
And for American Idol fans, yes, Hicks is still a huge admirer of the show. “I definitely still watch,” he said. “Idol changed my life for the better, and I’m ultimately interested in the talent that Idol creates. … I keep a close eye on it.”
By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.co
8. Las Vegas Magazine
Taylor Hicks’ career comes full circle with the first Las Vegas residency for an American Idol
By Matt Kelemen
Paris 8 p.m. Mon.-Tues. & Thurs.-Sat., $36.99-$56.99 VIP plus tax and fee. 702.777.7776
The first thing you notice about Taylor Hicks when he takes the stage at Napoleon’s Lounge is the way he connects with the audience. Hicks was celebrated as much for his charisma as for his trademark premature-gray hair during the fifth season of American Idol, but television can’t properly convey the effect of his performance in an intimate setting. Whether seats are occupied by devoted fans or neophytes who never saw him subvert Simon Cowell’s cynicism with Southern charm during his Idol audition, Hicks wins everyone over with his natural ability as an entertainer.
In other words, it’s obvious he was born to be a singer. American Idol sparked the current phase of his career with that audition, which took place in Las Vegas, meaning his headliner gig at Paris Las Vegas brings him back full circle. Napoleon’s has been transformed into an intimate nightclub/listening room for the occasion, and Hicks’ crack four-piece band fits perfectly on the stage—along with an old-school Hammond C3 organ. “It’s really cool,” says Hicks. “There aren’t many small music venues around anymore, and I feel like this is one of them.”
Hicks got more than a little extra room for his audience than he had when he performed inside a venue at Bally’s prior to moving to Napoleon’s in January. “I really had the creative control to be able to produce the room as an intimate musical-venue setting,” he says. “From lighting to sound, we were able to do that.”
The effort shows, as the sound fills every corner of the room comfortably. Hicks blazes through selections from his repertoire of nearly 100 songs—his cover of The Doobie Brothers’ “Takin’ It to the Streets” is a particular highlight—shares stories, gives thanks to Ray Charles and gets ladies literally jumping out of their seats when he closes his eyes and reaches deep inside to put everything he’s got into a vocal phrase. He also picks up a guitar himself, and sits at the Hammond to play some stirring licks with the band. “It’s the full Hammond organ setup,” says Hicks. “I like to use an organ onstage anytime I can, and anytime the space will allow, I like to use that.”
That setup includes a separate rotating speaker to get a perfect vintage feel and help fuel the sound Hicks has been cultivating since he wowed audiences back in Birmingham, Ala. Hicks has invested in his own club/barbecue joint called Saw’s Soul Kitchen, but it’s a safe bet that he takes a little bit of Alabama soul wherever he goes. That includes Nashville at present, as Hicks is working on a full-length recording of country songs during breaks from Las Vegas.
Nearly nine years after America was introduced to him, Hicks still has the wind at his back. “I couldn’t be happier with the band, the venue and the fans that come to see me perform,” he says. “Definitely the set changes, and there are some curveballs. That’s what people like, and they keep coming back for that reason.”
9. Blog from @russianmachine RMNB
http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.co ... tals-game/
American Idol Winner, Taylorhicks loves Alex Overkin Let's Get Him to a Caps Game
Maybe you didn’t notice, but my name was missing from all RMNB stories and bylines last week. I was in Las Vegas for an Email Marketing conference held at the Paris Hotel and Casino. Thursday in particular was a crazy day. It started with a murder that made national news and ended with an run-in with a celebrity.
On Thursday, my eyes opened at 4:30 AM Pacific time. I was woken up by a helicopter hovering over our hotel. Helicopters usually fly around Las Vegas during the day giving aerial tours to tourists, so I figured that’s what it was. I fell back asleep.
Two hours later my phone started vibrating. I got about 25 texts from friends and family asking if I was okay. That helicopter over the hotel wasn’t for tourists; it was looking for a murderer.
The Las Vegas Sun:
The Las Vegas Strip became a scene of deadly violence early Thursday when someone in a black Range Rover opened fire on a Maserati, sending it crashing into a taxi that burst into flames, leaving three people dead and at least six injured.
A few hours earlier, my co-workers and I had walked up and down that same part of the strip, taking in the sights and watching the Bellagio Water Show.
The Paris Hotel and Casino is one block away from that intersection. From the eleventh story, I could see the yellow tape cordoning off the area where it happened. I went downstairs for breakfast, where two of my co-workers said that they heard the gunshots from their room.
A scary start to the day, but things got a lot better from there.
The email marketing presentations ended at 5:30 PM , and my coworker Nikki and I went upstairs to get ready for the show we had VIP tickets for.
Taylor Hicks, winner of the fifth season of American Idol over Katherine McPhee (currently starring in the NBC series Smash), headlines a show at Napoleon’s Lounge in the Paris Hotel and Casino. It’s hard to not enjoy Hicks’ soulful voice and energetic stage performances– no matter your age. Plus, he can play the bejesus out of a harmonica and has awesome grey hair.
Here’s Hicks performing a live rendition of Michael McDonald’s Takin’ It To The Streets.
So I put on my RMNB “Angry Ovi” shirt, Nikki put on her dress, and we went downstairs to wait in line for the show.
When we were let in, we were shuttled to a backstage bar area to wait for Hicks to come in. The musician arrived ten minutes later, greeting us all with a big HEY and an even bigger smile. He then signed autographs for everybody in the room.
As I made my way up to Hicks, his eyes got big when he noticed my RMNB t-shirt. I asked him to sign it. Hicks then did something I did not at all expect — especially considering he’s from Birmingham, Alabama, not a hotbed for hockey. He added a special note: I Love Ovi. I swear I am not making this up.
Shocked, I asked if we could take a picture together. We posed and pointed to the autograph.
Nikki and myself made our way to the main lobby area and took our seats near the stage.
Twenty minutes later, the showed started. Hicks sang Elvis’s In The Ghetto, Nineteen, and The Fall. He told stories about American Idol, like how he and Simon Cowell would smoke during the commercial breaks. He talked about performing on Broadway in Grease. He gave a shout-out to a grandmother celebrating her 95th birthday and dancing to his songs. His guitar player looked eerily like Alex Semin.
After the show ended, Hicks went over to the merch area set up outside of the club and signed autographs for people who bought his stuff. I got in line, as I had a few questions to ask.
I asked him how he knew about Ovi. He said he’s seen highlights — like The Goal — and thought he was a great player. I asked him if he had ever sung the anthem or been to a hockey game before. He said no, but would really love to someday. I then said,”If you’re ever in DC, I’d love to take you to a game.”
Hicks left the merch table, talked to his assistant, and then came back with a business card. It had his tour manager’s info on it. He handed it over to me and said,”Talk to him. I’d love to do it. Let’s make it happen.” I accepted and said,”Deal!” So yeah. That’s how my day ended. Even four thousand miles away, I can’t help but try to spread Caps cheer.
Now I know that I have failed so far in my efforts so far to get Barack Obama to come to a Caps game, but getting a former American Idol Winner to come to a game (and maybe sing the anthem) would be pretty cool.
So here’s what I want you guys to do. Hit that that big blue like button at the bottom of this post. Let’s let Taylor know he’s welcome. On Tuesday, I’ll shoot his people a message and re-invite him. I can’t promise anything, but let’s make his first hockey game a Washington Capitals game. Thanks in advance for your help!
10. Fox News
http://video.foxnews.com/v/220280653400 ... 9831930001
11. Las Vegas Entertainment Guide
Top Las Vegas Concerts 2013
Below are best Las Vegas concerts 2013! Vegas is exactly the place to enjoy live music, laugh and have fun with family and friends. Some stars such as Celine Dion love Las Vegas so much that they have their own long-running shows! We would love to make your stay in the city extremely enjoyable, so if you want to catch a hot concert between the poker tables, simply browse our concerts by month to see what's playing where. We are listing only the hottest concerts by the hottest stars!
Tim & Faith
Donny & Marie
Las Vegas Concerts 2013 - Top Live Music Headliners
AprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecemberJanuaryFebruaryMarchPop, Rock, Alternative, Metal, R&B, Soul, Jazz, Rap, Hip Hop in Las Vegas in April 2013
April 1-29 - Human Nature
April 2-10 - Shania Twain
April 9-27 - Donny And Marie
April 12-13, 26-27 Soul2Soul
April 7-8 - 48th Academy of Country Music Awards
April 8 - Tim McGraw's Superstar Summer Night - Buy Before April 5 with 50% Discount or Tickets
April 12- Rihanna
April 12 - Garbage
April 12 - How to Destroy Angels
April 13 - Jackie Evancho
April 14 - Romeo Santos
April 15-June 30 Taylor Hicks
April 16 - The Xx
April 16 - A Day To Remember
April 19-20 - Kenny Chesney
April 20-May 11 - Elton John
April 20- Bon Jovi
April 20 - Joe Bonamassa
April 20-21 - Grand Funk Railroad - find on Discount Show Tickets
April 26-27 - Prince
April 27 - Zac Brown Band
Venue: Napoleon's Lounge - Paris Hotel
Date & Time: All week except Wednesdays and Sundays at 8:00 pm
Tickets or find "Taylor Hicks on Discount Show Tickets
Review: Taylor Hicks is among the most popular Las Vegas concerts 2013. One of the newest headliners on the Strip, Taylor Hicks is the most idolized of all winners of American Idol, albeit he entered the competition by lucky accident. His music style combines Southern soul, R&B, country and blues.
12. Las Vegas Magazine
http://lasvegasmagazine.com/2013/04/12/ ... -of-pride/
More than a matter of pride
What makes Taylor Hicks different than all the American Idols that came before him? At 29 at the time of his win, Hicks had already been a touring musician for years, with a stable of fans (the infamous “Soul Patrol”) already in place and an acute self-awareness of the niche he wanted to carve on an even grander scale as a result of his 2006 win.
Case in point: Hicks doesn’t feel the need to piggyback on his Idol success during his current Paris Las Vegas residency. Most singers would kill for a No. 1 hit; “Do I Make You Proud,” Hicks’ lone entry atop the charts, doesn’t even appear in his sets, which lean heavily toward soul and soul-influenced blues and rock. Even if some of his original songs (the military salute “19,” for one) tend to be more pop-oriented, there’s still an earnestness and authenticity that you wouldn’t find in, say, Katharine McPhee’s best work.
“I tried to make that single my own, but in reality it’s the show’s single,” he told Relix magazine shortly after his Idol win. He also spoke of an earlier single the show tried to push on him that led him to leave the room in disgust. That Hicks carefully curates his material should come as no surprise to anyone who’s seen him perform. Interpolated into his songs “Seven Mile Breakdown” and “What’s Right is Right” are lines from hits by Bruce Hornsby and one of his idols, Van Morrison. Then there are covers: “Takin’ It to the Streets,” “In the Ghetto”—holdovers from his Idol run—“Living for the City” and a run-through of “Viva Las Vegas” that, while a little gratuitous, just crackles with energy.
The kind of rootsy rock that is Hicks’ bread and butter is simply too rare on the Strip. You’ve got plenty of Rat Pack pastiches, big-ticket headliners and impersonators galore, but few entertainers who approximate what it’s like to be traveling through a backwoods town and stumble across a smoky roadhouse with a hot band.