By Josh Bell
With the number of singing-competition shows on the air, being an American Idol winner is not as unique as it once was. These days there are dozens of past Idol winners and runners-up, not to mention alumni of shows like America’s Got Talent, The Voice, The X Factor and Nashville Star.
That’s part of why it’s so impressive that Taylor Hicks, winner of Idol’s fifth season in 2006, has carved out a career for himself. Hicks was always a bit out of step with the times, thanks to his striking gray hair and fondness for old-school soul and R&B music. But he’s taken his distinctive qualities and parlayed them into success in various arenas. He’s released albums of original material, including 2009’s The Distance, and appeared in the Broadway production and the national tour of the musical Grease. He even opened a restaurant in his hometown of Birmingham, Ala.
Now Hicks is taking his love of classic rock, blues and soul, along with his pop fan base and his stage experience, and combining them in a new Las Vegas residency at Bally’s. As anyone who watched him on Idol knows, Hicks is a skilled interpreter of well-known songs, and he’ll no doubt be playing plenty of familiar hits of the past along with his original songs (including his Idol victory single, “Do I Make You Proud?”). Like Hicks himself, the show will be unique but familiar, delivering classic music in a modern package.