Hi, my name is Mandy and I’m addicted to Taylor.
There, I said it. It’s now out in the open! I have taken the first step toward acceptance of my insanity. OK, so I’m nuts. But I bet I’m in good company. Actually, I’m probably in great company! And I guess if I weren’t a fan, I wouldn’t be writing this blog.
So how did I become a Taylor addict? I was never a big fan of American Idol. Alright, I would watch the last six weeks. But that was my limit! I had watched Ruben and Carrie win. And I definitely wasn’t a voter. Actually, I was a flakey every-other-year watcher. So this wasn’t even my year to watch the show.
It just so happened that I turned on the TV in time to see the Las Vegas auditions. There was this gray-haired guy who wanted his voice heard because he thought he had one. He sang Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” followed by a hip-slapping hand-clapping “Swanee River Boogie”.
There was a sweet shyness about him – he sang with his eyes closed and he moved and jerked with a nervous twitch. Paula was giddy, Randy was wide-eyed, and Simon was shaking his head in disbelief! With a golden ticket in hand, this guy was headed to Hollywood. What had just happened – a change was gonna come!
I didn’t watch the show again until the top 12 were named. But after each Wednesday night, a phone call to my daughter confirmed the gray-haired guy was still there. Now I would be watching the show each week, recording it on Tuesday and watching the live show on Wednesday. Oh yes, and the gray-haired guy now had a name, Taylor Hicks!
On Tuesday nights I had Bible study. When it was over, I’d run by McDonald’s or Wendy’s and take home a sandwich. As I was wolfing down my dinner, I’d turn on the tube and rewind the video. Thank goodness for video! I would fast-forward to Taylor’s performance. With the 2 hour voting clock running, I could speed dial with the best of them, getting in as many as 15-20 votes a night. It’s 1-2-3 – either I had a busy signal or a recording thanking me for voting for Taylor Hicks! I was hooked! Reel me in and filet me!
Now there was a part of me that thought this guy needed to control the goofy jerky dancing. It’s was almost distracting at times. That was my thought until he stood still in front of the mike! Wait, I thought those were jerky moves – what was happening – I was missing them! No Taylor, I started to scold the TV (like he could hear me!). You have to move, shake, twitch, jerk – do something – just don’t stand still!
I watched and voted each week faithfully. I chewed my fingers when Taylor had to pick the safe group when it was down to seven. Each week I voted like my hands were on fire. Busy signal – redial – thanks for voting for me. Taylor was never in the bottom three. I was sitting on the edge of my chair waiting. Safe. Safe. Safe.
Soon it’s down to four. The Idols were going to Graceland! Now I work only a couple of blocks away from there. No, I didn’t go over to see them. I was just a voter, pulling for Taylor, the guy Simon didn’t think would make it to the finals. What kind of fan was I really?
Finally it’s down to the top 2 – Kat and Taylor. Taylor just had to win. This guy had charm, style, voice and moves! After that Tuesday night show, I got in over 30 votes, maybe even 50! Wednesday night as they crowned the winner, I was getting my nails manicured. What! I wasn’t glued to the TV! Nope. I was on the phone just before the end of the show to find out that Taylor had won.
I didn’t need to see the show – I was taping it. What a mistake on my part! With my nails newly polished, I drove home, flipped on the tube, rewound the tape and sat down to watch. What an incredible show I had missed. Then the moment of truth….that 5 second wait until Ryan said the magic words….Taylor Hicks….and the infamous “Soul Patrol”! I was in tears. My idol had won! Yeha!
OK, the talk around the office the next day was about Taylor winning and why he should have (or shouldn’t have). I thought that would be the end. My life would go back to normal. Not so fast. I was about to discover….the fan sites, the boards, TOSP!
I started out slow enough. Let’s see what’s out there. A few pictures. Some video. A portrait being auctioned on eBay to benefit Kid One Transport. TOSP was the sponsor. Our own Taylorham_5, Jennifer, was the artist. I watched the home page each time I logged in. The portrait was wonderful. I thought about it, considered bidding. After a couple of weeks, I placed my first bid. I was top bidder for a couple of days.
In those last few minutes of the auction I though it was going to be simple! I was about to be the winner hands down. Wait! What the ….. I’ve been outbid! Only a minute to go! I quickly put in a number I thought I could live with. 10-9-8-7-6-5…..the seconds ticked away slowly as I refreshed the screen. One last bid came in - $1,076 – but I was holding with a higher bid – and I won!
This was the beginning of my journey. I would later learn the significance of the price paid for the portrait. Maybe you see it – I didn’t until it was pointed out to me. It’s Taylor’s birthday – 10/7/76! Karma! Yes, I, too, believe in karma. The ride was just beginning.
By the time I won the portrait, I had tickets to see Taylor in the tour show in Greensboro, NC. I took the portrait with me in hopes that I could get Taylor to autograph it. After talking with security and explaining that I had won the portrait to support Taylor’s favorite charity, I was about to meet Taylor. Oh my! He looks so much younger in person! And such a sweetheart! Taylor graciously signed the portrait, and everything else we had (my daughter and granddaughter were with me), and then made pictures with us. What a doll! What a generous man! WOW! (If you want to read the original story about meeting Taylor, here is the link: http://www.theofficialsoulpatrol.com/forum/index.php?topic=11545.0)
I was now officially a fan. A Taylor addict, really. I would soon need another fix. I mean another show. More live Taylor. Houston would follow with a trip to the Engine Room. A spur-of-the-moment trip to Austin and Antonne’s. And let’s not forget the infamous mini-convention of TOSPer’s at the final show in Wilkes-Barre and The Woodlands. Yep, I was hooked. Addicted.
And this spring is no different. I have tickets to so many shows, and more being planned. Stay tuned. Watch my blog. As the tour gets started I’ll keep you updated as to what is going on and how Taylor changes up each show. Wait! That assumes I will be able to remember what happens at each show! Maybe I better take a note pad!
Yep! I’m a Taylor addict. There is no cure, not that I want to be cured. Just keep the tour going. I’ve got 4 weeks of vacation plus 9 remaining holidays to use to get in lots of shows. Be sure the padded cell is ready when the tour ends. I’m sure I’ll need it. Which one of you will be my roommate!
Yes, my name is Mandy, and I’m a Taylor addict!