I remember distinctly how it was for Taylor Hicks last season even though many of his fans have either forgotten, or are fans that jumped on board supporting him near the end of the show. Too, many became fans after his win and did not really get to experience the 'joy' of
Continuously the Fans of the other Idols on the show bashed him. Articles were pumped out daily with Hicks criticisms:
Taylor Hicks was called fat.
Simon said he would never win.
Taylor Hicks was called 'old and fugly' - many hated his hair.
Taylor Hicks dancing compared to having seizures.
He was called ridiculous.
He was called no-talent, that he could not sing.
He had his sexuality debated, how many times (and still see it) was it speculated that he was gay?
He was called a freak who did not belong on the show.
Taylor Hicks fans were ridiculed for liking him, all grouped into being overweight geriatric women without anything better to do than follow him. Fans were told they did not know good music. The Soul Patrol was made fun of, his trademark "Wooooooo!" lambasted.
Taylor Hicks was attacked on-line in forums more than any other contestant.
Yet he won.
Doesn't matter that Taylor Hicks' CD is not selling like a new Bible put out by the second coming of Christ; fact is he's done quite well by standards set by anyone outside of the American Idol machine. Actually, he's done quite well for that matter, by anyone inside the A.I. machine. Truth is, his style is not as mainstream as some of the others. Truth is, this man has found a viable career and success.
Other writers have made fun of me for comparing Hicks to Sanjaya, they are not seeing the picture I am, and they can kiss my sweet .......
Here are the comparables:
Sanjaya is being criticised for his hair.
Sanjaya is having his sexuality questioned.
Sanjaya is being told he can't sing. (check out the Sanjaya Sweet Chariot video)
Sanjaya's fans are being grouped as only tweenies.
Sanjaya's being called a freak who doesn't belong on the show.
Simon Cowell has threatened to quit the show should he win.
Sanjaya's fans are being ridiculed on-line in forums. This season Malakar is being attacked more than any other contestant in forums.
Now tell me these two have nothing in common.
One more thing; last season after being criticised for the singing on his first few songs he came out during Top 12. He performed low tempo tunes, "Levon" and "Easy". With negative commentary following both performances, especially "Easy". The next week, Taylor Hicks came out and blew everyone away with the fierce daring and passion he exuded in "Taking it to the Streets".
This season, Sanjaya has faced harsh criticisms (understatement) on his performances. And, notably has performed rather subdued versions of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "Waiting On The World To Change" and "Knocks Me Off My Feet". I did enjoy the jazz treatment he provided, "Steppin' Out With My Baby". This past week he broke out of his quiet mold with The Kinks rock tune, "You Really Got Me Now". While neither of these guys had what you'd call the best vocals, they both showed extreme courage in just laying it out and going for the moment.
Bottom line, Simon was wrong last season, Taylor Hicks won, and he maintains a loyal group of fans that number in the hundred of thousands.
While there is a lot of competition to go, and Sanjaya 13 years Hicks' junior, I'm pulling for this kid to be in this reality TV show for some time to come.
Remember baby, if you think you can, you will.