For the record, I was one of the folks that *liked* Taylor Hicks.
American Idol Season 5 was the first season I watched, and despite the fact that Taylor looked nothing like the typical “American Idol” looked like, I cheered him on and was happy that he won. I wasn’t impressed by Daughtry (but apparently 4 million other people saw what I failed to), and I thought Kat McPhee was a stuck-up bitch. Elliott Yamin, Paris Bennett and Taylor were my favorites. You could tell Taylor didn’t want to be a *star* per se, but he was in it for the chance to get his music heard by as many people as possible.
I even liked the guy’s album! Granted, as a child of Eighties pop (think Steve Winwood or Michael McDonald), I would. But his album, from a qualitative standpoint, is better than any “Idol” winner’s debut, with the possible exception of Carrie Underwood’s. Unfortunately, it also sold the least (roughly 700,000 units moved), which means that shortly after one winner has been put out to pasture (Ruben Studdard was dropped about a week ago), Taylor has lost his contract with Arista Records. So two of the six American Idol winners are now label-less, and it’s more than likely due to lack of malleability more than it is talent.
Let’s face it, Ruben’s fat. And his weight was a hindrance to his “image”. As a male R&B singer, the assumption is that no one cares about you unless you either dance like Michael Jackson or are capable of taking your shirt off and doing a few hundred pelvic thrusts. And Taylor’s “old”…granted, he looks a few years older than he actually is (at 30, he’s younger than I am), but a prematurely grey, slightly pauncy singer (no matter how talented he is) is not gonna fly in this “i want millions sold now”/”Idol”-disposable music world. While Rube is headed for Boradway (and I see a Weight Watchers/Jenny Craig deal in his future), Taylor goes back to being a bar musician, screaming his lungs out for the love of music. And something tells me that suits him a lot better than selling himself out for Clive Davis and his minions.