Last year, mid-January, American Idol Season 5 was just beginning. The first few shows gave us a preview of the talent that would soon dominate the next few months. One such contestant was Taylor Hicks, a gray-haired 29-year old from Birmingham, AL. Simon didn't think he could make the top whatever, Paula was gushing in fangirlie style, and Randy was just Randy.
As the season progressed, this gray-haired young man kept coming back. Soon, Taylor Hicks became a clear favorite among the show's fans, never in the bottom three, and apparently always the top vote-getter. Taylor, the clear favorite, won the title hands down, given the votes he apparently received. He would soon release his first single, "Do I Make You Proud", which would earn him his first gold record.
In just a few short months of winning the coveted title, Taylor would be named People's most eligible bachelor and tour the country with the rest of the top 10 finalists from the season. Taylor would also perform on Jay Leno, Stadium of Fire (a military show), and Spirit of Life Awards to name a few non-Idol appearances.
Just before Christmas, his first major-label CD, self-titled, "Taylor Hicks" was released. J Records/Arista Records pushed this CD out in record time - 6 weeks in the studio on the heels of the AI tour, plus a couple of weeks needed to press and ship the CD. Within 6 weeks of its release, the Recording Industry Association of America has certified the album platinum. That means at least one million copies of the CD had been sold! All without the release of a single! All without any radio airplay! I call that quite a feat! Maybe even a first! Maybe even unheard of!
Fast forward one year later. Taylor would be seen on major shows - Jay Leno, Good Morning America, TNT Christmas Special, Christmas at Rockefeller Center, Martha Stewart - just to name a few. Then throw in a couple of appearances with President Bush for good measure. Add to this a foursome in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic playing with various golf pros along with Alice Cooper and Scott Hamilton.
Now Taylor is getting ready for his first major solo tour. All of his stops are small venue, the type of clubs and places Taylor says he is most comfortable playing. So far the tour has 33 confirmed stops, a number of which are already sold out and another 20 unconfirmed stops, and more are coming. It looks like a grueling schedule, but Taylor, the consummate performer, will give each show 110% of himself.
Taylor seems to have that golden Midas touch. Will that continue with his tour? Will he have the same success of playing before a sell-out crowd? Given where Taylor was this time last year, and what he has accomplished in the year since, my money is on betting he will win another round of honors - sell-out tour, a Grammy or two, and maybe even a golf trophy!
Oh, and yes, Taylor, you do make us, the Soul Patrol, very proud!