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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Looking Back to the Future: the American Idol Taylor Hicks

Last night, I was sitting up listening to music after the family had wandered off to bed. I got on the computer to hit Youtube for a while as well. Something that one of the posters over at "It's all Grey" wrote about Taylor Hicks' came back to me. This poster had said they did not consider Mr. Hicks proficient at performing ballad type tunes.

There's also been talk, ad nauseam, over his career choices, his win on that show, his inability to make all of it work in the real world. If you, dear reader, have about a half hour to spend, return to 2006 and Mr. Hicks' fearless and brazen run on American Idol. It might change your mind whether Mr. Hicks can truly go The Distance.

This particular song, out of Taylor Hicks' American Idol season five performances remains one of my favorites. It was Elvis week and I'd been blogging for Mr. Hicks to do "In the Ghetto". Being completely involved at that time in the American Idol boards there was a group of us going back and forth about song choices for that week. "In the Ghetto" remained my top pick and I was completely thrilled when he selected it. Yes, it's all about the small things.

This tune got him actual praise from Simon Cowell which was a rarity for Hicks while he was on the show. Mr. Hicks left the schtick he'd been working pretty regularly on the show behind and just sang the tune. To me, it was one of his finest moments on the show.

Mr. Hicks takes the song and modernizes it, he gave it a jazzy, blues nuance, changed the tempo in a way that worked so well.

One other topic covered multiple times, Taylor Hicks and his continued "Soul Patrol" shout outs he became so known for on Idol. Many of his fans think after three and a half years he shouldn't keep doing that shout out in every interview, at every performance. From what I've seen of the guy lately, he has toned it down. I think one reason he is reluctant to ever give it up entirely is out of respect for the following he had from that show; to remember how he's gotten to where he is now.
"Dancing in the Dark" Taylor Hicks does Bruce Springsteen

This performance came after that Taylor Hicks' Saturday Night Live parody aired.
"You Send Me" Taylor Hicks does Sam Cook via Rod Stewart

The way Mr. Hicks' ends this tune, that look in his eye, sums up why he won this competition, and why he's not one to give up on his dreams. This man possesses a completely identifiable and unique voice. Paula's commentary may have stayed with him, she says "you are finally in that zone to go the distance." Taylor Hicks' new album coming out in about a month is titled just that, "The Distance".

Who could ever forget that purple jacket?
"Living for the City" Taylor Hicks does Stevie Wonder

The house was popping. Not his best performance, vocally with the nah nah nahs but I loved the velvet jacket. The audience absolutely loved him. I was so nuts I had four phones going for the guy. Insane, right? ha.

Talk about selling a song, Taylor Hicks took it to the Streets.

Something about that performance was sufficient to get me out buying Go Phones. Maybe it was that dancing. Or the Bunny suit. Something.

Another performance that shows how to win this show:
Taylor Hicks rocks the Jailhouse:

I really enjoyed looking back, remembering the guy that completely captured my imagination and admiration while he kicked some serious television ass in 2006. I'm looking forward to the future and what it might hold for him. Thanks to a fan we have one of the new tunes off of Taylor Hicks' upcoming album, The Distance.
"What's Right is Right" Taylor Hicks' montage.

Thanks to everyone who put up the Taylor Hicks Youtubes.

7 comments:

  1. He was brilliant on that fucking show. I haven't seen all of these (I hate AI), so thanks for posting them. I feel sort of sad, though. Oh- I know why. People forget so easily how much they liked someone in the entertainment industry and just start believing the bad press they read. You know what I mean? Someone who may have cheered Taylor on and was geniunely moved by him when he was on Idol just isn't there anymore supporting him. I mean, really, where are those people? The public is so fickle.

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  2. jerseyirish5:52 PM

    Sunny, Thanks for posting all of those videos. I still see the same Taylor today that I saw back then, the passion is still there and his utter love of music still intact. When he did "You Send Me" I actually cried that night, my folks were big Sam Cook fan's and that was one their favorites. My Dad would put the album on and come in the kitchen and sweep my Mom into his arms and dance with her throughout the house. It bought back such a fond memory for me.

    I know there is a lot of question out there about what he is doing now. Hell I think he has made BSD his own, he has put his mark on it. Doing the shadow tours and singing at the end of Grease, is giving him the opportunity to reach more people. I am hoping this new CD will prove many wrong that he never lost or left his music just needed to go another route to get there.

    JI

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  3. I remember watching Levon and thinking...what the hell was that? I was just so enthralled with him and his performance. He definitely figured out how to win that damn show.

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  4. Levon was brilliant, Grey. One of my faves as well.

    Caryl, your post made me think about some of those folks, so I went wandering to the ones I know have blogs. Not any of them have talk about Taylor on their blogs. Likely they keep in touch somewhat but the main gig for many of them was his Idol run. Perhaps if this new CD hits the Right Place, they'll be back talking Hicks. Or not. Too, many were almost more caught up in the Gray Charles blog than with Hicks the musician. Many, when Gray left the scene, so did they.

    JI what a lovely story about your folks. I agree with you about BSD, he's taken it and made it his own. I think he's stopped wearing the wig too, the pompadour (grey are you cringing?) isn't so big anymore. lol

    Catch you guys later.

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  5. "Too, many were almost more caught up in the Gray Charles blog than with Hicks the musician."

    Really? Huh. I loved going to GC because it was about TH and it was smart. I know of one person who left the fandom because GC shut down. She hated to see the community wind up scattered in cyberspace and she blamed Taylor.

    The folks you know who had blogs about TH are really just into AI? Is that what you're saying. Yeah, OK, I can see that.

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  6. Caryl I was talking about a few that I wrote back and forth with regularly, back during the show.Those folks some had blogs dedicated about him, others just talked about him on their blogs on a regular basis. Ones I checked in on had nothing about Hicks; well some had him in their musical likes sections in blogspot profiles.

    I'm not going to name blogs or names. It's not an important issue. Just thinking back and wondering what's up with some I've lost touch with over the past couple of years.

    I knew a lot of folks who said if Gray was gone so they would be too, blamed Taylor for GC dumping the blog. On the flip side of that issue, some of them actually grew to dislike Gray over all the melt downs. Blamed him for the fan base scattering and dividing. That was all on them, not Gray's problem or fault.

    Speaking of Gray, we may never know exactly why he did leave, or why he prefers to stay away much of the time. His preference for riddle-speak while captivating for many, lacks in carrying the definitive answers in anything ever addressed regarding Hicks and he.

    I imagine he finds the back and forth cat fighting and hurt feelings shit pretty annoying as well. I understand that sentiment. Women can get pretty damn silly sometimes.

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  7. BTW way you may have take that comment wrong, the one you highlighted, about many caught up with the GC blog more than Taylor, although you did sort of answer that question. It was a smart blog.

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