Sunday, April 29, 2007

Before we 'met'

Though we have learned more about Taylor's musical past since AI ended, I'm only including things I knew durring AI Season Five:

Taylor Hicks never had a singing lesson or a music lesson in his life, but is singing, dancing and playing the harmonica from an early age.

*Taylor drops out of college as soon as someone starts to pay him to play music. (In Rick and Bubba interview, his dad sounds like he is STILL upset about that.)

*Taylor works as a musician for 10 years struggling to ‘make it.’*He works festivals, weddings, bars and clubs.*He moves to Nashville for a while, but finds the market saturated and moves back to Alabama.

*Over the years he makes 2 cds that don’t do anything but are very good!

*His brother, Sean, encourages Taylor to try out for American Idol.

*His dad tells him he might as well just buy a lotto ticket instead of American Idol because his chances would be better.

*Taylor has never seen an episode of American Idol.

*Because of Hurricane Katrina, a flight of Taylor’s from New Orleans is cancelled and the airline gives Taylor a free ticket to anywhere in the country. Taylor uses the free ticket to get to Las Vegas to try out for American Idol. Later, Taylor says if he had not gotten that free ticket, he would not have been on Idol.

*Taylor is 28 at the Las Vegas auditions so he makes it in just at the cut-off age. He is only a few months from being too old for the competition.

*Taylor really liked the shirt in the pic above. A lot. (Photographic evidence available upon request.)

1/31/06 Taylor Hicks, America. America, Taylor Hicks.

• 1/31/06 AI performance: The Audition—Change Is Gonna Come and Swanee River Rock

I didn’t see the audition when it aired because I didn’t watch American Idol at that time. I preferred “CBS Rock Star” because it was a contest between people who could sing. And AI was a bunch of people who could not. At least that is how I thought of the show and so I didn’t watch it, and planned to never watch it.

Some people who did watch it are blown away by the audition. There is a small segment of America who is already obsessed with Taylor Hicks. You can hear their excitement in the old posts on, and the AI message boards. The excitement of someone REAL on AI is almost too good to believe.

Now, of course, the audition burned into my memory from watching the clip over and over.. Every word, every note. It was all such a perfect beginning. And such a perfect song choice! Simon’s rejection based on anything but singing, Taylor’s voice, Taylor holding his hands behind his back at first and then just letting loose with his movements for Swanne… Taylor’s response to why he was there: “I want my voice heard” Why? “Because I think I got one.” Taylor saying , “Gimme a chance, Gimme a chance.”

It is history. The whole season is history.The magic had started:•

2/02/06 AI message board: first thread, “The Gray Haired Guy”•

2/02/06 AI message board: poster ‘wiseguy’ suggests the name, “Soul Patrol” for Taylor’s fans.•

2/04/06 AI message board: the first “Soul Patrol” thread with a poll…there was also a ‘silver foxes’ thread.•

2/05/06 Taylor’s CD, Under The Radar, comes out of nowhere to land on the Laser’s Edge top sellers chart at #3.

2/08/06 AI performance clip: The First Cut Is The Deepest airs on AI during Hollywood Week.•

2/12/06 Under The Radar tops The Laser’s Edges top sellers chart at #1…and STAYS THERE….it is still at #1 today, April 29, 2007.

Ain't No Sunshine...3 seconds that we will always dream about.

• 2/16/06 AI performance clip: Ain’t No Sunshine (the 3 second clip that nobody can forget) and The Harmonica Walk.

Taylor’s ‘harmonica walk’ has America talking and the fans are going crazy. More evidence that Taylor is the REAL DEAL! Dare they hope?? The Soul Patrol grows!!I still have not seen the program and I don’t know who Taylor Hicks is.People at work watch the show and convince me to give a shot, so that at least we can chit-chat about it on breaks.•

2/21/06 Taylor interviewed in The Birmingham News and says he needs a new couch:"I've been lying on a couch that I had in college," says Hicks, 29. "And it's not even a couch, just bundles of cotton. My friend's dog rolled in a cow carcass and sat on it." •

date ?????? Sojie and Connieb and the whole Soul Patrol decide to pitch in to get Taylor a new couch! These fans have seen him for maybe a total of 4 minutes on their TVs and they LOVE him. They really love him.

2/22/06 Levon

• 2/22/06 AI performance: "LEVON".

"Levon" gets a BIG response on the internet. says, "interest (in Taylor Hicks) is burning up the internet."

Taylor’s shout out to the ‘Soul Patrol’ after the song THRILLS the fans on the message boards. He is talking to US! He used our name! He read what we said, and he is talking to us! It goes down in history as a "The first Soul Patrol shout-out" and the fans treasure the memory.

This is the first program I watch. I like Taylor, but I don’t get quite what is up with Jez, the obsessed fan I see on my regular, non-AI related message board. She made a dozen posts about him, just going on and on about him…! What the?? He is my favorite contestant after this first show too, but I also like Paris and Chris…Calm down, Jez!!


AI performance: "EASY"

I liked it. I can’t decide about the twitches, the wooo!s and the Ayyyy!s. Do I like it? Do I hate it? Is it fake? Is it real? Does he have ‘a problem’ of some sort?

America can’t decide, either. Taylor takes a lot of bashing for it. People debate the questions endlessly on the internet and around the water cooler. People say he is just ‘real’ and feeling the music, people say he has autism or Tourette’s Syndrome…

The song itself is ok…I like it. I see something there. Something interesting. What is IT? And more importantly, when can I see it again??

3/08/06 (a.m.) Taylor is interviewed on Rick and Bubba

• 3/08/06 AI performance: "TAKIN’ IT TO THE STREETS" WOW!!!

By the end of Taylor’s performance, I am on my feet, yelling and clapping! WOOOOOO! That was fantastic!!


**This song is the magic moment!!!**

The internet EXPLODES!!! Taylor is THE topic at work, and on the radio talk shows the next day.I am completely overcome with Taylor Mania. I don’t know how bad I have it. But looking back, I see I was completely Taylorized by the time the song ended. My fate was sealed.

I want to watch Takin’ It To The Streets again!

I realize maybe I can see it on the internet. Sure enough, I find it there and re-watch the performance many times. I get the same thrill every time I watch it, and the same huge smile.

I find this cool blog called graycharles...

• 3/12/06 I make a Taylor fan post on my non-AI related internet board, complete with pictures and a sparkly "Vote For Taylor" image. I have it bad, and I don’t even know it. I still think I am a ‘casual’ fan!

• March, 2006 "In Your Time" is selling on Ebay for over $200 and up to $400.•

3/12/06 AI message board: Taylor’s folder has 91,655 posts and the next highest folder, Ace, has only 23,460