Taylor Hicks is what American Idol is all about. When you ignore the larger than life personalities of the judges, the exploitation of early, delusional contestants and the manufactured drama, the whole point of the show is to give anybody off the street a shot at a sustainable career in music.
Hicks didn’t fit the formulaic image of a pop star when he auditioned for American Idol. Since his first appearance on our TVs, he insisted on being true to himself, going so far as refusing to dye his prematurely gray hair. But despite Simon Cowell’s reservations about Hicks, he hijacked the show that season, taking it on a wild ride through music some of us had never heard before.
In fact, I believe it was his I-gotta-be-me attitude that caught the attention of Idol viewers long enough to see that the dude can sing. He ran away with the win and was rewarded with a career he may not have had without American Idol: his debut single, “Do I Make You Proud,” entered at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, Pop 100 and Single Sales charts; his self-titled album, “Taylor Hicks” (Arista), debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 and was certified RIAA platinum; and Hicks starred on Broadway and later in the 18 month national tour of “Grease.”
His most recent gig is perhaps the most impressive: headlining at Bally’s in Las Vegas. He is the first Idol winner or finalist to sign a residency deal in Vegas. And when this gig comes to an end, he is moving the band to Harrah’s Reno for a week, beginning Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
The reviews coming out of Vegas have been overwhelmingly positive:
“…for the next 90 minutes, Hicks’ voice, harmonica and tambourine shared the spotlight with his solid and high-energy five-man band. … I have newfound respect for Hicks after seeing him live.” The Las Vegas Sun
“At the close quarters of the The Indigo Lounge, Hicks’ voice and his incredibly fluent combo really pack a wallop. It’s what “Vegas” used to signify: Seeing first-range entertainers in an intimate space.” Stiffs and Georges
“Apparently, American Idol pumps out some pretty talented people. …I can see why he won American Idol but what I can really see is why he’ll hopefully be in Las Vegas a little longer. Taylor Hicks is a performer and the Las Vegas strip is where the best perform.” Go Vegas: About.com
While I believe the producers of American Idol were (and will be) looking for a cookie-cutter pop star, the viewing audience had other ideas during season five. Ryan Seacrest instructs viewers to vote for their favorite to win. During season five that guy was Taylor Hicks. More importantly, Hicks backed up that win with a talent that has earned him respect on the Vegas Strip. Could it be his new home?
Tickets for the shows at Bally’s, Las Vegas are available by calling (888) 746-7784 or (702) 777-7776, and are available in person at the Bally’s Box Office and online at ballyslasvegas.com. Ticket prices are $29.99 and $59.99, which includes a meet and greet with Hicks. Additional service fees apply.
Ticket prices for the Harrah’s shows are $25 for general admission, $35 for VIP, and $50 for a special VIP ticket that includes a meet and greet with Hicks immediately following each performance. Additional service fees apply. Tickets are available by calling (800) 745-3000 or visiting www.ticketmaster.com or are available in person at the Harrah’s Reno Box Office.
For more information and updates, please visit www.taylorhicks.com.