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The Road after Taylor's American Idol Victory

Joined: 2:52 AM - Feb 08, 2008

7:41 PM - Sep 08, 2008 #1

American Idol Magazine with Taylor's Picture on the Cover is , hopefully , one you have saved: I have.

America's New Soul Man
By Diane Gershuny

DIANE GERSHUNY - Freelance writer and publicist who has written about music and musicians, instruments and pro audio for over 20 years. This article is from American Idol Magazine.


When Taylor Hicks auditioned for American Idol, he believed what many others, including Simon Cowell, did not - that he had a voice that could win it all. Now, the gray-haired blues musician dances and sings his way toward superstardom.

From the moment he strode onto the scene in the Las Vegas auditions last winter and told a skeptical Simon Cowell he had a voice, Taylor Hicks brought a different kind of magic to American Idol. Call it down-home blues magic. As a musician, he stood above the other contestants—and it wasn't just his hair that was different.

Throughout the competition, Taylor never compromised himself—in his brilliant song selections, his often eyebrow-raising fashion statements (remember the purple velvet finale jacket with which he strutted down the aisle of the Kodak Theater?), or his quirky dance steps and mannerisms that became more polished as the weeks progressed. He exuded the confidence, sense of independence, knack for tasteful self-promotion and wise performance choices of a savvy entertainer who's honed his skill after years of working at it in smoky bars and swampy nightclubs. He also invited America into a lonely soul engraved with tears, sadness and disappointments, a soul yearning for love. The 29-year-old blues man has every right to call his fans - many of whom streaked their hair gray as the season progressed - the Soul Patrol. While his level of success has yet to be determined, Taylor's soul is just as steeped in the blues as some other great Southerners who turned loneliness and pain into vinyl magic: Elvis. James Brown. Ray Charles. Otis Redding. Sam Cooke. Ronnie Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers.

Beginning at that Las Vegas audition, and continuing through the Hollywood rounds to the live shows, it was obvious the gray-haired dude had brought his A-game to the show and was in to win. "I understand how hard it's been to get to where I am now," he says. "You go and play years in clubs without anybody really listening to you, and it makes you appreciate when all the seats are filled and the people are cheering—after this whole American Idol thing with millions behind you."

Take Me Home, Country Roads
How did a seemingly regular guy from the suburbs of Birmingham, Alabama capture the hearts of America and earn the majority of 63 million votes to win the final? Maybe the magic sweeping into American Idol from his home state blew his way.

Taylor is not the only Alabama native who has gone on to win and/or place high in the competition over the years. Other Birmingham-born finalists include Ruben Studdard, the Season 2 winner and platinum gospel artist, and Diana DeGarmo, the Season 3 runner-up and Hairspray star on Broadway. In 2005, rocker Bo Bice of nearby Helena was runner-up to winner Carrie Underwood. "Bo Bice kind of paved the way for people around my age," Taylor explains. "He had kind of the same flair, not really being close to a big city. He showed the way for us to get out there and audition in different cities—Orlando for him, Las Vegas for myself."

Alabama has certainly been fertile ground for music, and has played a central role in the development of blues and country music. The state is home to musical pioneers from Hank Williams Jr. to Lionel Richie. The celebrated Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section backed many of the finest blues, rock and R&B acts in the '60s and '70s, including Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding and the Rolling Stones. Shoals session guitarist Jimmy Johnson said, "There's something in the water here."

Well, Taylor must've been drinking lots of that water, along with his favorite Southern beverage, sweet tea.

In The Ghetto
Taylor has no formal training in music. He attended Auburn University, studying business, communications and marketing, but dropped out to pursue music. He discovered soul music as a kid, and identified with the universal themes of love and loss, loneliness, pain and the uncertainty of life — things that he had experienced at a young age stemming from the divorce of his parents. Surprisingly, too, with all his exuberance in front of an audience, he's lonely much of the tune behind the curtain. He's also circumspect when it comes to talking about himself, family, and his private life.

Like many other solitary musicians, Taylor found himself at home on the road with its many instabilities. Ironically, the road became a foundation for him for 10 years, a place where he could season his life and remain within himself. He played every blues dive bar on the "chitlin" circuit — small clubs located mostly in the South - and learned to be an entertainer, the best possible form of "on-the-job" training. You can see in his eyes and hear in his voice all the years, all the gigs, all the cheers, boos, hollers and catcalls. His are not the wide sparkling eyes of an overnight success story, but the deep, lined eyes of a man with whom you can sit in a room and talk about the intersections of music and life for hours on end.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Taylor's love and passion for music is apparent whenever he opens his mouth. You get the impression that becoming a musician had nothing to do with conscious choice... he just had to do it! "If you love it, you've got to go and play it. You might get told 'no' by a bunch of people," he says. "You play and nobody pays you. You go through the 'payin' the dues,' which makes you respect the music. It's based off of pure love for the music. It's something that's been inside me. No matter what I've done, who's told me 'no,' how little money I've made, I've always enjoyed it. And it's been good to me."

He gives props to his mentors repeatedly and thanks them at every turn. He's actually performed with a few, including the legendary James Brown and Percy Sledge. "I developed the passion and desire from the music I listen to: Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Brian McKnight... those people have such a passion. They taught me to love music," he says.

Taylor parlayed the lessons learned from those musical heroes into a sound of his own. Sure, he still invokes comparisons to Michael McDonald, Joe Cocker, Stephen Stills and others, but he's truly crafted a voice, sound, and style uniquely his own. When a musician like the multi-platinum Christopher Cross runs into you in L.A. and tells you that he has become your fan, then you know your voice is resonating with the larger crowd.

Taylor's two independently released albums, In Your Time (1997) and Under the Radar (2005), for which he played harmonica and guitar as well as writing and singing all the songs, were sold at gigs and on his website. He likens the more recent outing to Bob Seger meets Van Morrison—with a little bit of saxophone thrown in. "Under the radar," he laughs, "that's how I was flying before American Idol."

Try A Little Tenderness
After landing in the Top 12, Taylor proved his veteran musician's deftness by the songs he chose and the way he and AI band leader Rickey Minor arranged them into 90-second performances each week. While others were scoring huge clusters of votes early on for their vocal talents and overall performances (Chris Daughtry, Katharine McPhee, Paris Bennett, Kellie Pickler, Elliott Yamin), Taylor was certainly the best at rearranging tunes - most likely, the best in American Idol history. It helped him perform comfortably and consistently.

Consequently, his fan base grew as the season progressed. He knew how much song selection and arrangement factored into staying out of the bottom two or three (he was only the third contestant ever to avoid the dreaded hot seat, joining Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood). "I got more comfortable in helping to arrange the music and with everyone in the band," he said during the Final 6 round. "I was a bit timid at first when we started the process. Now I'm comfortable putting my spin on it, and now I'm working with the band as opposed to just singing with the band. There's a difference. And I think it's starting to show. I've fallen into a good groove."

Week after week, Taylor chose songs by brilliant songwriters that everyone could hook into, tunes that showcased his vocal range. Some examples of his song-picking prowess were selections like "Living for the City" by Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding's "Try A Little Tenderness," Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" and "Something" from George Harrison - a Beatles classic. "You have to pick a song that everybody knows and that everybody can relate to," Taylor explains. "I tend to pick mega-hits that people across-the-board will listen to. Not only are they hits lyrically, but musically as well. If you have a catchy phrase or solo people pick up on, and make sure those songs appeal to a broad audience."

Taylor hovered among the upper half of the weekly vote tallies for the first five weeks of finals. He made great song choices but seemed a bit awkward with his newly coiffed looks. Once quirky, his funky chicken-dancing routine lost its novelty and now seemed to reflect discomfort with the constant TV camera scrutiny. "There are twice as many cameras as I thought there'd be, and about 10 times as many lights," he said. "The first time we walked on the set, it took a whole three days to get used to the transition from Hollywood, where we just had the piano, to here, where we have a whole live band. It's been a little tough."

It was in the Final 4 round, Elvis week, when Taylor created separation, as they say in auto racing and distance running. The Deep South bluesman was visibly inspired by the trip to Graceland. "He was the original American Idol," Taylor said of Elvis. Taylor flew home with the King's energy blazing in his belly, and burned through the performance show with "Jailhouse Rock" and "In The Ghetto," one of the greatest ballad performances in Al history - only to be matched a week later by his arrangement of "Try A Little Tenderness." Taylor made Rebecca Romijn a happy girl by reprising "Jailhouse Rock" on the results show before really bringing it home with some "Burning Love" during the group medley.

On that week, the week Chris was sent home, America met its next idol.

In the show's homestretch—Finale Week—Taylor went for a quick kill. Katharine could only sit and watch with admiration as Taylor strung together "Living for the City," "Levon" and a newly-penned single he Taylorized, "Do I Make You Proud." He clearly had his intense focus on the prize. Hunger won it for him — the hunger it takes to reach deep down inside your gut, draw upon your inner resources and deliver the goods, regardless of the pressure.

While many of the other contestants grew as people, Taylor transformed as an artist. The American Idol competition was the final spit and polish needed for him to become a seasoned star with a soulful depth for which he strove during those long, lonely gigs in Southern backroad joints.

Play That Funky Music (White Boy)
In the whirlwind weeks following the Season Five Finale, Taylor Hicks has made us all proud. We're not just referring to his first single, "Do I Make You Proud," that debuted on June 13th and simultaneously topped Billboard's coveted Hot 100 chart at #1, the Billboard Single Sales chart, and the Billboard Pop 100 chart—making it the best-selling song in the country (with over 190,000 sales in its first week!). The new CD for 19 Recordings Unlimited is slated for a fall release, but what can fans expect? Hicks says he won't stray from his soulful ways on his first major label outing, and plans to make the same honest-to-goodness soulful statement he's made in the past (just with a bigger budget and production). "I'm going to have to make sure that, creatively, there's going to be some give and take. It's going to be very rootsy, very soulful, and I'm gonna 'Taylorize' it."

It's highly likely that Taylor will be able to carve out a successful recording and touring career. The media has already embraced him. Following the Finale, not only did Taylor dance with the Ellen DeGeneres Show host, but the newly anointed AI king traipsed his crown, and his soon-to-be-hit single, to the Live With Regis And Kelly, quipping with Kelly Ripa and guest co-host Vince Vaughn. He traded anecdotes with Jay Leno twice on The Tonight Show, and sang for the crew at Today the day after the departure of Katie Couric.

"I didn't change the gray hair, and I don't think I'm going to change the music, either."

Perhaps because of Kelly Clarkson's Grammy wins and Fantasia's nominations in 2005, which added even greater prestige to American Idol as a performer's ideal start-up platform, the AI5 audition turnouts were filled with more performing artists than ever before. The talent level was up, and genre boundaries seemed to melt away to create an unprecedented diversity from week to week.

That America chose a soulfully seasoned musician for its next American Idol could very well signify a refreshing new trend in mainstream music in general. The harmonica-blowing captain of the Soul Patrol certainly proved Simon wrong. Taylor is the oldest winner in the show's history. He's not your typical slim, stylish stunner in looks, either. He's handsome, all right, but not in a pubescent pop star way. If he maintains that "no compromise" attitude and makes the kind of record he's been intending to cut since long before he auditioned his trip to stardom will take all of us deeper into the land of soul.


From American Idol Magazine
Published: Volume 2, Issue 4 (2006) pp.63-

Special Selections:

By Josh Murray and Bob Yehling
While other contestants caved under pressure, and complained incessantly about stress, 29-year-old Taylor Hicks sat quietly at the bottom of a winding staircase in Los Angeles' Orpheum Theatre. During the mania of the Hollywood audition rounds, he slipped on his headphones and studied his songs in solitude.

Taylor was dedicated and focused from the start. Perhaps it was his long history performing covers and originals before crowds at weddings, smoky bars and lounges all over the steamy South. Perhaps it was his passion for the craft that helped him stay present. Perhaps it was his experience as a performing artist that made him the greatest song chooser in Al history. Whatever the reason, his simplicity, calm demeanor and rather frenetic dance moves became the elements that converged to make a star.

In early March, after sending a strong message with his throw-down-the-gauntlet rendition of "Takin' It to the Streets," Taylor made an observation: American Idol is not only about song choice, but about the way songs are condensed and re-arranged. That — and not merely changing the vocal pitch — creates ownership of the song.

While the importance of song choice is not news to anyone — the judges lectured contestants about it every week — the fact Taylor spoke as a musician, and not just a singer, spoke volumes during the competition. As a songwriter-guitarist-harmonica player with two self-produced CDs, including the fine Under the Radar, Taylor knew he held an edge in this area. "Taylor knew what he wanted, and we could work right away on subtleties," Al band leader Rickey Minor said. "That's not normally how it works."

Michael McDonald. Joe Cocker. Otis Redding. Ray Charles. Elvis. Part of the heart and bite of Taylor's music has been gleaned from years of listening to these greats. The soul is all his, though. It is a soul many worried might be too outdated for modern audiences familiar only with grillz, milkshakes and Mariah-isms.

Taylor is not outdated. He's classic. That's a major distinction.

In terms of evolution, pop music needs to return to its roots often, and now. The industry is bogged down in over-produced dance hits with little personality and maudlin rock bands so indistinct they all sound a little like Cher on a bender.

Each time Taylor took the stage, he did so with an air of anticipation. Taylor genuinely yearned to step into the spotlight and wow us. Recall the literal bounce in his step during "Not Fade Away." Witness his reserved take on "You Are So Beautiful." Remember his passion during "In The Ghetto" and "Try A Little Tenderness." He never once forged ahead without a clear faith in his mission.

People dug it. And they dig him.


By Kathy Day
I had a strong feeling from the beginning of the season that Taylor Hicks would be named this year's American Idol. We needed a winner that would have a different approach to today's music. Taylor accomplished this with his sometimes-quirky dance moves, harmonica, and love of soul music.

I admire his dedication, enthusiasm, and energy. His style is unique, with the added benefit of being true to himself. Taylor is timeless, easily relating to any age group or gender, and delivers performances with an upbeat attitude.

Compared to the other contestants this season, Taylor won hands-down with his diverse choice of songs, performing incredibly in all genres. His ability to take an otherwise humdrum tune and turn it into something special (as in the finale with his first single, "Do I Make You Proud") shows his great flexibility.

I really look forward to seeing what his future brings and can't wait to purchase his first album. In conclusion, I just have three words... "Go Soul Patrol!"

(Kathy Day is a rabid AI fan based in Northern California)


By Melissa McGhee, a fellow contestant on AI 5
From the first day I met Taylor, I knew he was on original! I think America got that too! Taylor Hicks won American Idol Season 5 because he is an entertainer, period. Of course, it didn't hurt that he is a genuinely, down-to-earth good guy. Maybe it's because I'm from the South, too, but we really clicked. I loved his soulful spirit and he said he recognized it in me, too. We continue to be good friends.

I'll never forget the first time I saw him onstage in Hollywood during the final auditions. He wore this crazy Hawaiian shirt, and was woo-ing and kicking all over the place. I thought he was nuts. In fact, none of us really knew how to take him at first. However, it was in his second performance with the group when I really took note of his voice. He opened his mouth and magic happened. I'll admit it was sometimes difficult to focus on his music, but man, has he got the pipes. Don't get me wrong-and no offense Taylor, if you're reading this-but his voice maybe wasn't the best in the competition (mine was... right). Performance is what Taylor seemed to master. The combination of the two is what set Taylor apart.


By Mrs. Jones

Here's my two cents on snagging the crown, people! Gotta go back... way back.. .to January when America first met the "Gray-Haired-Dude." The foundation was set in stone by the "guy with the harmonica."

Name? Not important...yet. Why? We liked his soulful, easy, and honest style — a cool cat with a different sound and unique angle — NICE! His head? Steady and screwed on tight as a drum. Nothing shook him up. He had focus and drive from the day he rode down the elevator from his hotel room at Hollywood auditions, walked the plank, and took the hot seat before the judges. What was in his hand? His harp. He left an impression in millions of heads with that great AI Chess move. His mark was on the Amercian Idol Map right out of the starting gate. The GHD was the first contestant America let into their hearts.

My take: The GHD's DNA spells one thing — a PhD in playing that funky music! And that, my friends, spelled "Pass me the crown" in a HUGE way!!!! Hey Taylor! ""Lay down the boogie and play that funky music till you die?"

Oh, and by the way.. .he definitely got slammed one too many times by Simon for sounding like a lounge singer and/or karaoke artist. Simon the Great needs to find better joints to hang out in! DONE!


Taylor Hicks - the Soul Patrol
December 14, 2006 by Cindy Wright
Cindy Wright

The Soul Patrol is a Fanbase with Heart ... tml?cat=33

The Soul Patrol is the fan base of Taylor Hicks. Some have given The Soul Patrol some grief. Calling them fawning middle aged women who do nothing but buy Taylor Hicks CDs and talk about his body parts, who he should or should not date, what clothes he should wear and whether he should cuss or smoke. There is a whole lot more to this wonderful fan base than that.

Yes there are conversations about stuff like that and there is a lot of mature women in the fan base but that is not what The Soul Patrol is all about. The Soul Patrol consists of men and women and the ages of people who responded to my requests to tell me about themselves and why they support Taylor Hicks and are members of the fan base range in age from 13 - 55.

One 14 year old told me she loved Taylor Hicks from the moment she saw him in his audition, "I was mesmerized by his soulful, raspy voice and his gray hair-it was different, it was sweet, it was- HOT. I love Taylor's passion for music and his charisma. He is also very humble and gracious. What draws me to him is his soulful voice, his charisma and his humbleness. I had a few 16 and 17 year olds send me almost the same messages.

A 21 year old from Wisconsin sent me this "Taylor Hicks brings his personality to the stage, not like every other singer who just...sings, he has a AWESOME personality!!! Hes Hot, he takes pride in where he comes from, he doesn't care how much people make fun of him or tell him to change, he is himself all the way, no matter what."

Taylor Hicks' Soul Patrol fan base reaches all over the world, because satellite television put American Idol in many homes all over the world. I had a 23 year old from the Philippines contact me. She told me that there are many in the Philippines that are fans of Taylor Hicks. "He is just passionate about what he wants to do and he sticks by his principles." I had several from The Canadian Soul Patrol Division contact me. Taylor is loved and respected by many worldwide.

One comment I received that many in The Soul Patrol will agree to came from a 34 year old in Oklahoma. "Taylor has an awesome soul,he is a gentleman, you feel it when he sings, you can tell he loves his fans. and he loves the music. You can see it in his eyes, his smile and in his shyness that you still see. You can tell he has done this for the love of music and not to just get famous and get

I received so many comments of why Taylor Hicks is so dear in his fans hearts I cannot possibly quote them all. However one thing that is agreed on by all is Taylor Hicks brought the love of music back to so many because he so wanted to share his gift with the word. He was not demanding to be loved and heard by anyone he was just asking for a chance to let America hear him. He shows how much he appreciates his fans by keeping them informed of everything going on with him.

The Soul Patrol doesn't simply follow Taylor Hicks around. They also put their heart and soul into helping others. Whether it be charity's or helping others get CDs or concert tickets or even helping fellow Soul Patrollers when in need of things in life.

There have been several ways in which The Soul Patrol has reached out and helped others. Some of these are as follow

1) A Soul Patrol Organization raised $3000 for Kid One Transport by auctioning signed items by LMBO and Taylor Hicks.

2) This same organization is working on a holiday ornament project to benefit the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic.

3) Members of The Soul Patrol also put together a project called Heart and Soul. On August 8th Taylor Hicks returned to his home town and the women who put the project together got to meet Taylor Hicks and $7000 was raised and presented for Studio By the Tracks.

4) Another project put together by members of Taylor Hicks' Soul Patrol was project "It's a Soul Thing." Over $5000 was raised to help Kid One Transport.

5) CDs and shoe boxes filled with items for children have been sent to hospitals for kids to have a little enjoyment in their lives while being in the hospital.

6) Another group of Taylor Hicks' Soul Patrol put together a Soul Patrol cookbook to sell and the money raised went to help a family that was devastated by Katrina.

7) Fans sent several CDs of "Do I Make You Proud" to the troops over seas to lift their spirits. Letting them know that yes indeed we are proud of them.
There are many more stories like these and many more projects to help others is in the works soon.

When I asked people to tell me why The Soul Patrol is important to them I received a lot of touching responses. "The special thing about the Soul Patrol is their immediate rise and dedication to get this man to the finals. It was fun to watch this fan base, cry, thud, cheer, and just go completely nuts over this out of the ordinary idol contestant."

Another response that describes The Soul Patrol great is " What is great about The Soul Patrol is to see people from all ages, genders and locations around the world sharing the same love of Taylor it is a terrific feeling. Through good times and bad, we are not only supporting the Idol we love, we are supporting one another. If ever I need some advice, I know that there is someone I can count on to help me out."

And still another sent me their feelings "What is special about The Soul Patrol to me is "The friends I've made. The unity. And the power we have to make things happen. There is unity in numbers. We are one big happy Soul Patrol family out for a common cause. With Taylor as the head of the family."

This common cause is seeing Taylor succeed, enjoying his music and him, and helping those who need it along the way. Taylor Hicks has given so much to his fan base and The Soul Patrol wants to return what he has done for them by Taying it forward and giving of themselves as much as Taylor Hicks has given of himself.

The Soul Patrol is a very diverse fan base from all over the world. And no matter what is discussed at times, concerning Taylor Hicks it is all done in love and respect of a talented and respectable man. There are times in life when everyone goofs off and has fun, there are times when some put too much emphasis on what Taylor should or should not do. The fact is though that Taylor Hicks is a grown man and he will do as he pleases and the true fans in The Soul Patrol will love and respect him for just being him. That is what The Soul Patrol is about.


SheKnows : Entertainment : American Idol final results: Soul Patrol rolls to victory
American Idol final results: Soul Patrol rolls to victory ... to-victory
by Bob Benedetti Los Angeles, California -- For those who possibly felt a small earth tremor this evening, no need to be anxious; it was not the shifting of a seismic fault line, but merely the momentary upshot of a nationwide celebration. Following an announcement at 9:03pm local time from show host Ryan Seacrest, the Kodak Theatre audience (largely inhabited by a following called the Soul Patrol) had every right to jump wildly -- their salt-n-pepper-haired iconoclast, Taylor Hicks, was crowned the Season Five champion of American Idol. The 29-year-old native of Birmingham, Alabama worked his way through an audition of hundreds, eventually secured a Top Twelve position, then quietly pared through the field for an opportunity to meet sultry suburban Los Angeles resident Katharine McPhee in the Finals. Hicks, prematurely gray hair and smoky singing style have earned him the moniker "Gray Charles." But the combination of twinkled eyes, perpetual blotto-like grin and unorthodox dance energy (panelist Simon Cowell found him ,"like a drunk father at the family picnic") caused many to dismiss Hicks as a true threat until recently. Just as many viewers found the appearance of finalist Katharine McPhee to be foxy, a closer look would go beyond Hicks, external antics; to realize he's crazy like a fox. With Southern charm and a mix of mania, the fashionably attired Hicks, fist pumping post-performance mantra of ,"Woooooo! Soul Patrol, Soul Patrol!, helped to forge a bond -- through spirit and salience -- with viewers that, inevitably propel him to a Finals victory. After all, who could not like Taylor Hicks? Or, for that matter, not remember him? Yesterday evening, nearly 63.4 million members of the television audience called in to vote. Chances are, it was a landslide for the bopping boy from Birmingham. Ryan Seacrest's willingness to readily impart superfluous information, (more votes than during any Presidential election) yet skip over nitty-gritty statistics (such as contestant scoring percentages) tends to reinforce a pre-Finale prediction this writer made in casual conversation -- a route would not be disclosed, as that would lack tension and make for bad television. What made for entertaining viewing was much of the Season Finale. Notable duets included versatile Paris Bennett with legendary scatman Al Jarreau who graced We're In This Love Together, while ramma-jamma rocker Chris Daughtry and skin-twin Ed Kowalczyk of Live nearly pulled of a brothers act during Mystery. Elliot Yamin wisely deferred One to Mary J Blige, whose excessive embellishments influenced my head start at pillaging the refrigerator. Who sayeth that MJ is an industry leader? Memo to Ms Blige: Unless your optical wear is used for welding, feel free to lose it -- immediately. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar couldn't even bring himself to wear goggles like those to repel the remnants of skirmishes in the basketball paint. Another forgettable duet was Katharine's pairing with Meatloaf. It's All Coming Back to Me Now could
ve been supplanted for an infomercial stating the importance of anti-convulsives, and the ramifications for failing to take them. This Meatloaf's shelf life has long expired, and inadvertently spoiled the helping of sweet potato McPie that accompanied it. Chicken Little fans had to be in their glory as Long Island lad Kevin Covais gave a clean yet whimsical spin on Bert Bacharach's What's New Pussycat. Why do I continue to think the 16-year-old cherubic intellect is a quietly camouflaged ladysman? Perhaps the omnipresent Cheshire-like smirk tells a tale. Highlighting the night's celebrity power included Bacharach's grand piano accompaniments, touching vocals by Motown legend Dionne Warwick, and a polished performance by Mr Purple Rain himself, Prince. An extended itinerary and cadre during Wednesday events were, to many, enough an indication of tonight's Season Finale. But shuffling the conventional Had A Bad Day wrap up to Tuesday night and having composer Daniel Powter offer a live refrain of the season's closing theme song, it symbolized the end of another superb American Idol season. Through lyrics and affect, the existentialist Bad Day touches on the pratfalls encountered and resilience exhibited in our daily lives. Excluding a handful of persons on this evening's Kodak stage, all previously was, at one time or another, the muse of this season's theme. Even so, each continue to persevere. That makes each a champion. .


Taylor trivia ... 35765.html

Tuesday, March 28, 2006
News staff writer

You already know the basics. Taylor Hicks, a Birmingham soul singer, has become a salt-and-pepper sensation on "American Idol."

All three judges on the Fox TV reality series are in his corner, more or less, and Hicks, 29, has evolved into one of the most popular contestants among viewers this season.

We've told you about the shabby couch that's sitting in his Southside apartment, and the two goldfish, Lamont and Ray, who are waiting for him to return home.

But there's plenty more trivia to share about the top 10 finalist, based on our interviews with Hicks, and conversations with his friends and loved ones.

Number he wore for "American Idol" cattle call in Las Vegas: 74094.

Encouraged him to audition: Sean Hicks, his half-brother, who studies computer engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology.

Katrina tale: Hicks was in New Orleans for a wedding on the Saturday before Hurricane Katrina hit the city. His flight home was canceled, but he found a cab driver who drove him to West Monroe, La., for $400. A voucher from Southwest Airlines provided his fare to "Idol" auditions in Las Vegas.

Years he lived in Nashville, hoping for a record deal: 1999-2001.

Why he left Nashville: "Oversaturation of the market." Too many musicians meant breaks were hard to come by.

Church he attends: "You know where my church is? My stage."

Five favorite places to eat: Golden Rule, Hoover. Niki's West. Fox Valley. Pete's Famous Hot Dogs. Taziki's, Cahaba Heights.

Five favorite places to play in Birmingham: WorkPlay. The Oasis. Zydeco. Marty's. Ona's Music Room.

Five things you'll always find in his refrigerator: Dr Pepper Garlic. Salsa (from 1999). Nestle's Quik. Pear relish.

Parents: Bradley Hicks, Hoover resident and dentist (Same Day Dentures in East Jasper), and Linda Hicks, Taylor's stepmother. He was raised by them, and by his grandmother, Joni Hicks.

Music roots
: Probably come from his maternal line. Hicks says his mother, Pam Dickinson, had great aunts who performed in a bluegrass duo in Oak Ridge, Tenn. "I didn't get to see that side of the family that much," he says.

Another talent: Played basketball at Hoover High School.

His grandmother, Joni Hicks, says: "I don't know how far he'll go, but here's one thing I can guarantee you: He'll never say anything rude or unkind to anybody. He's going to put on a very good, clean image."

Celebrity gigs: Opened for Jackson Browne, Keb' Mo' and Steve Earle in Nashville. Opened for Jonny Lang at the Alabama Theatre. Played harmonica with Keb' Mo' at the Alabama Theatre.

Any smoking guns in his past? "Marijuana possession when I was in college. The charges were dismissed."

Club dates here: Two shows per week, on average.

Band members (currently performing without Hicks as the Little Memphis Blues Orchestra): Sam Gunderson, guitar. Brian Less, keyboards. Mitch Jones, bass. Zippy Dieterich, drums.

Covers on a typical set list included: "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," Temptations. "Alabama Rain," Jim Croce. "Brick House," Commodores. "Crazy Love," Van Morrison. "Hey Pocky Way," the Meters. "New York State of Mind," Billy Joel. "9 to 5," Dolly Parton. "People Get Ready," Curtis Mayfield. "What's Going On?," Marvin Gaye.

Sure-fire crowd pleaser: "What I Say," by Ray Charles. According to guitarist Sam Gunderson, "That's a classic Taylor tune. He kills every time he touches it."

Some Taylor Hicks originals: "The Fall." "In Your Time." "My Friend." "Son of a Carpenter." "Soul Thing." "West Texas Sky."

On being an "Idol" finalist: "I'm having the time of my life and living the dream. I'm in a pretty good groove and feel confident. But I'm taking it week to week, and I know that I can't let the music slip. I have to be on top of it."

How he's spending his time in Hollywood: "Sleep, eat, work, do press."

On walking the red carpet at a party: "It was mind boggling, with so many different cameras and flash bulbs."

What he thinks of the "American Idol" judges: "In some form or fashion, they've all paid their dues. Randy toured with Journey. Paula, you can definitely tell she worked her tail off. Simon started in the mail room."

On Randy Jackson: "I like him because he's a touring musician."

On Paula Abdul: "I like Paula's looks."

On Simon Cowell: "Simon's your run-of-the-mill Brit. Just kidding."

Web sites: (shut down while he's on "Idol")

Elvis or the Beatles?

Boxers or briefs? "Boxer briefs."

Vinyl or iTunes? "When I get a new couch, I'll get iTunes."

The Nick or Zydeco? "Marty's."

Grits or mashed potatoes? "Grits."

Courteney Cox or Jennifer Aniston? "Courteney Cox."

Bo or Ruben? "Aw, don't ask me that."

Idol Watch: Did the Best Man Win?
By Tom Gliatto, ... 50,00.html

Originally posted Wednesday May 24, 2006 09:00 AM EDT

Watching this season of American Idol make its way to the showdown between Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee, I often wondered how much I was judging the singing on its merits, and how much I was just getting caught up in the excitement of a weekly elimination contest. It's not that I've ever worried that Taylor wasn't better than Katharine – he was, he is, and it's right that she lost – but there was that still-unresolved debate: Should he have stayed in the running when Chris Daughtry got the boot?

Well (I reasoned at the time), Chris was a terrific rocker, but he was also too slick, and the problem with slickness is there's no surface, no tactile quality that can grip the ear. And no one could accuse Taylor Hicks of being slick.

But I realize now I was high on Idol adrenaline. And I'm startin' to come down, man, startin' to come down. Send the Soul Patrol on ahead without me.

Withdrawal began while I was watching the American Idol finale – specifically, it was during that medley performed by Chris, Bucky Covington, Ace Young, Elliott Yamin and Kevin "Chicken Little" Covais.

There they were, in matching black outfits, singing "Taking Care of Business," when in from the back of the stage came Taylor, stomping his feet and playing the harmonica. This was meant to signal the arrival of the boss: You would have thought Tony Soprano had just walked into the back office of the Bada Bing and his henchmen were clearing a space at the table for him to have his lunch.

But I saw that guy with those other guys and I thought:
a) He's not as good as Chris.
b) He's probably not as good as Elliott, either.
c) He may not even be as good as Ace, but that's stretching it.
d) He is better than Chicken Little.
e) He's a lot better than Bucky.

In literature this is called an epiphany; in my life it's called Taylor Hicks.

So why had I started rooting for Taylor in recent weeks, when in fact I'd initially found him impossible to take seriously? I got to like his clunky good humor, for one thing. I liked his visits to the governor's mansion and Graceland. I liked the footage of him in a golf cart with Lisa Marie. And his voice can undeniably hit pockets of raw, bluesy power – even in that silly new ballad of his, "Do I Make You Proud?"

But what can I say? It was the fun of wanting the underdog to come out on top. It was sentimentality. It was cute.

And it was a great time. For that, Taylor Hicks, I thank you.

Joined: 2:52 AM - Feb 08, 2008

11:08 PM - Aug 12, 2009 #2


The Idol tour that sold the most tickets was the 2006 venture featuring the series' fifth-season winner, Taylor Hicks. That tour grossed $35.2 million, with a total attendance of 646,996.." ... 2818.story

Taylor Talks About His Fans: Dec. 12, 2006

Joined: 2:52 AM - Feb 08, 2008

6:51 PM - Feb 01, 2010 #3

courtesy of Ayla Brown before he won Idol.

Joined: 2:52 AM - Feb 08, 2008

6:55 PM - Feb 09, 2010 #4

Taylor Hicks appearance at Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, Alabama on May 12, 2006 ... ram><param

An interview before he won Idol:

Within this interview we can get a glimpse of Taylor's humor ( wry and dry ) ; his interview style ( short and sweet ) and his personality ( often sincere, often Facetious ) .TAYLOR HICKS
Age: 29


Hometown: Birmingham, AL

Audition City: Las Vegas

Favorite Female Artist:
Cyndi Lauper.

Favorite Male Artist:
Billy Joel, Van Morrison, Bob Seger.

When did you first start to sing?

When I started to crawl.

Do you have any formal singing training?


What other talents do you have?

This is it.

If you don't make it on AMERICAN IDOL, what will you do?

Broke performer.

What are your personal goals in life?

To be as happy as possible.

What album would your friends be surprised you own?

"The Wiggles".

Who is your AMERICAN IDOL?

Ray Charles.

Do you have any rituals or things you do each time you perform?

Pray, count heads.

Most embarrassing moments?

Throwing up on a restaurant's herb garden.

What has been your proudest moment in life so far?

This might be it.

If you couldn't sing, which talent would you most like to have?

Catching touchdown passes.

What is your definition of an AMERICAN IDOL?

Someone very talented and humble.

Who is your favorite judge and why?

Randy - he plays an instrument.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I love to dance.

How has this changed your life?


Do you have any lucky charms?


Who are your heroes in life?

Ray Charles/Grandmother.

What's been your toughest obstacle in life?

Life itself.

Do you think the audition process was fair?
It's been fair so far.

If you win, who will you thank first?


Joined: 2:52 AM - Feb 08, 2008

12:07 PM - Apr 06, 2010 #5

Taylor after his victory with Peter Liguori , President of Entertainment Fox Broadcasting

Picture by Ray Mickshaw,Wireimage
May 24, 2006


Joined: 2:52 AM - Feb 08, 2008

11:55 AM - Jul 17, 2010 #6

Taylor returns to Idol to perform in 2009 ... llscreen=1

Joined: 2:52 AM - Feb 08, 2008

3:51 PM - Sep 03, 2010 #7


Joined: 2:52 AM - Feb 08, 2008

12:23 AM - Oct 30, 2010 #8

Downloads of All of the Season Five Episodes

Joined: 2:52 AM - Feb 08, 2008

12:41 PM - Dec 02, 2010 #9

Taylor's Pre Idol CD "UNDER THE RADAR" was sold at Laser's Edge in Homestead, Al.

By the end of the year, (2006) they had sold over 18,000 copies of that CD, most of those during the few months run of season 5 of American Idol. ... ar-orders/

Joined: 2:52 AM - Feb 08, 2008

6:45 PM - Jun 12, 2011 #10

Some video tributes to Taylor as he made his way from city to city on HIS VICTORY TOUR

The Entrance which was the same at most all venues credit to mwhitney16 ... ram><param

PopTart Video Makeup credit to wishbearxx ... ram><param
Dec. 7, 2006

To TaylorHicks: 2006 American Idol A video Tribute credit to mikedirnluvt4ever ... ram><param

You know you have "made it" when Wierd Al Yankovic paradies your song : Here is "Do I Creep You Out " , a satirical rendition of "Do I Make You Proud"credit to: alyankovicVEVO ... ram><param name=

First Released on September 24, 2006 " Do I Creep You Out" by "Weird Al" Yankovic , was later animated by Jib-Jab ( Nov. 15, 2006 ) . This parody was written by Tracy Ackerman, Andy Watkins, Paul Wilson , and "Weird Al" Yankovic. It appeared on the album "Straight Outta Lynwood " as track # 10. This is Yankovic's first American Idol parody, performing it live while wearing a gray wig.
Mr. Hicks is said to be a fan of Yankovic's version, and has been known to sing it during soundchecks at county fairs and theme parks.