Taylor Hicks was born in Birmingham, Alabama and was living there at the time he started on American Idol. When he was 16, Hicks bought his first harmonica at a flea market and fell in love with Blues music. He wrote his first song at the age of 18, and taught himself to play the electric guitar at 19.
While attending Auburn University, Taylor played in a band called “Passing Through”. He would later quit the band to start his own, and in 1997 recorded an independent album entitled “In Your Time”. In 200 he moved to Nashville to pursue a music career but, after being unable to land a deal he returned to Alabama and began performing at venues and private parties. He produced a few independent albums, and then eventually auditioned for the 2006 season, eventually winding up on the American Idol Winners List.
Taylor Hicks Idol Audition
Taylor auditioned for Season 5 of American Idol in Las Vegas, Nevada in October of 2005. The show aired from January 17 to May 24, 2006. In his audition, he performed the song “Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke. Paula and Randy loved him but Simon was not overly impressed, saying he didn’t have the star quality to make it to the finals. Of course, he would later be proven wrong. Here is Taylor’s Idol audition performance.
Following the audition Taylor got his ticket punched through to Hollywood week and performed well enough to advance to the semi-finals. There he sang “Levon” by Elton John in the Top 24, “Easy” by The Commodores in the Top 20, and “Takin’ It To The Streets” by The Dooobie Brothers which left him in the Top 12 and one of the 2006 American Idol Finalists.
Taylor Hicks: American Idol Season 6
Despite the fact that Simon did not believe that Taylor would make it to the finals, he did just that and then sailed right through to the final two. Not once in the entire finals rounds did he find himself in the Bottom 2 and in danger of elimination. Below is a list of all the songs performed by Taylor Hicks in each of the finals rounds on his way to winning Season 5.
|Top 12||Stevie Wonder||Living For The City||Stevie Wonder|
|Top 11||1950′s||Not Fade Away||The Crickets|
|Top 10||2000′s||Trouble||Ray LaMontagne|
|Top 9||Country||Take Me Home, Country Roads||John Denver|
|Top 8||Queen||Crazy Little Thing Called Love||Queen|
|Top 7||American Songbook||You Send Me||Sam Cooke|
|Top 6||Love Songs||Just Once||James Ingram|
|Top 5||Year of Birth||Play That Funky Music||Wild Cherry|
|Top 5||Billboard Top 10||Something||The Beatles|
|Top 4||Elvis||Jailhouse Rock||Elvis|
|Top 4||Elvis||In The Ghetto||Elvis|
|Top 3||Clive Davis Choice||Dancing In The Dark||Bruce Springsteen|
|Top 3||Judge’s Choice||You Are So Beautiful||Billy Preston|
|Top 3||Singer’s Choice||Try A Little Tenderness||Val Rosing|
|Finale||Previous Song||Living For The City||Stevie Wonder|
|Finale||Previous Song||Levon||Elton John|
|Finale||Winning Song||Do I Make You Proud||Taylor Hicks|
After over 63 million votes were cast during the finale, Taylor Hicks beat out Katharine McPhee to become the 2006 American Idol, and the second winner from Birmingham, Alabama. The other was Ruben Studdard who won Season 2. Here is the video of the Taylor Hicks victory announcement and final performance.
Taylor Hicks: Post American Idol Career
After winning American Idol, Taylor signed a record contract with 19 Recordings Limited/Arista Records and produced his first single called “Do I make You Proud” which he performed in the Idol finale. The song debuted at the number one spot on the Billboard Top 100. Here are the albums he has released to date:
- Taylor Hicks, 2006
- Early Works, 2008
- The Distance, 2009
He has appeared in the Broadway production of Grease, has toured with the American Idols LIVE! Tour, made guest appearances in Snoop Dogg, Widespread Panic and Willie Nelson concerts, and landed a book deal to write a memoir about his life. Taylor Hicks continues to tour and perform and we will see what the future holds as far as additional albums.