I've been watching the 'factioning' of the Fandom in the Land of Taylor Hicks over the course of the past several months. I guess being a Sunday, I'm in the mood to sermonize somewhat over my observations in my travels around the Idol scene, in particular the Taylor Hicks' scene.
I've followed Taylor Hicks since his famous initial audition on American Idol, Season 5. I was one of the many addicted viewers who were treated to this man's unique and star-making moment when he entered the Pop Culture media.
Taylor's footage includes a segment in which he hammed it up - footage normally included by the producers for those contestants that they initially think will be a draw but not a long term contender. It also contains the footage of an unlikely contestant who wound up making some reality television history. His Sam Cooke's rendition of "A Change is Gonna Come" a portent to the season's unforeseen outcome.
Taylor proved the producers and the moguls behind the show wrong week after week, becoming the Underdog who became the Runaway Train. Curve balls were hurled in his direction by the show a few times; his song selections canceled last minute, the judging panel, especially Simon Cowell verbally attempting to sway public opinion. At time I thought perhaps Randy and Paula were not clued in on the machinations behing the scenes as they provided Hicks with praise that Cowell would deride, and slam down in his dry, authoritative British manner. Each week the man's campaign to win the title ensued more aggressively. Aided by a group of familiars who posted his past music here and there on line for viewers to find and listen to - Taylor carried on a good fight. Performances like this one - a favorite of mine and a song I campaigned for on the A.I. Boards for him to perform:
"In the Ghetto"
(courtesy of Keebob...)
Ironically that may sum up the direction the Taylor Hicks fanbase may be headed. So-called "Soul Patrol" sites and their forums may need to heed a lesson in the meaning of "soul" in their treatment of one another on the boards. I stopped going to any of them out of disgust at the number of personal attacks certain members of each group felt they were entitled to delve out to others on the boards who possessed differing opinions than their own. I'm frequenting a few websites currently that don't have forums but am beginning to see some similar infighting popping up within those as well. Recently one poster who contributed interesting commentaries was verbally slaughtered by the others writing on the board. This site recently provided this 'tribute' to this victim, "Secret Stare". Apparently she has experienced some sort of encounter of the eye-ball variety or more perhaps with Taylor Hicks and the other commenting parties took umbrage
Currently there are a few Taylor Hicks' website news-makers that are offering opinions on the personal life of Mr.Hicks. Their opinions spawned opposing viewpoints on other sites. Being a celebrity, this sort of thing can be expected from fans to a degree.
In no way comparing poster child for Why-We-Need-more-Education, Britney Spears, to Taylor Hicks or his situation, but rather utilizing her notoriety as she hangs on the Cross of Example of how not to live life large. ( One note, as I briefly wander into the Hell that is Ms. Spears foibles, regarding shaving her head, the best thing she could have done is wear that melt-down-do proud and loud and let her sheared head speak for itself. She may have been on the right track in shaving it if only she'd had the balls to carry it off. It would make a powerful statement and be a much better look than the fugly weaves she sports. That's another sermon I'll be back on sometime.) Hicks need heed the example of walking the talk and treading the truthful line in his career and his personal life. Like poor Spears his world is an open book now for the media and we folks at home to dissect and review and judge.
The internet is a great place we can voice our thoughts and opinions as we see fit. Like my Momma use to tell me as a child, 'if you can dish it out be ready to take it in turn'. Sadly with the turn of events happening in our national government, our schools, our corporate structures, personal freedom and individual expression is becoming a negative thing. Conformity the new norm and goal. I volunteer at my youngest child's school and I see examples of this on a daily basis. I volunteered at my eldest child's schools as well and the times have changed much in the 12 year difference between these two, but I digress again.
On the topic of 'soul', the Soul Patrol, and Taylor Hicks, there is most likely no solution that the fans themselves can hammer out. There are way too many differences among the folks who grew to admire the man on Idol. Differences that span color, ethnicity, education, religion, geography, and individual financial status. Most likely the best solution would come from the man behind it all and the subject of it all, Taylor Hicks. I'm not sure who or what organization is providing Mr. Hicks guidance and direction in his career, remember I'm on a soap-box this morning, but I'd tell the man to speak out on the major controversies ensuing chaos currently. Don't send friends to blog for you or fight for you, man, do it personally or your erstwhile career will end up on the "15-Minute of Fame" pages.
I hope that Taylor Hicks is able to make the strides he needs to try to unite his fans. Greats like Jimmy Buffet tend to nurture their fans and Hicks has said he'd like to 'parrot' Jimmy's career... It seems the Soul Patrol and other Taylor Hicks fans who don't embrace that title, may need some Soulman nurture time. As Taylor sang in his audition, "A Change is Gonna Come", a change needs to come within the fans of the man, perhaps by the man, the focus of these groups.
In this AOL Video, Taylor sings "The Fall", he talks about not running and hiding, great philosophy. This is my favorite tune of his and this a beautiful rendition:
Listen to your words, Brother, you have the answer.
Groove on Soulman.