Taylor Hicks reflects on how, after winning season 5 of American Idol in 2006, he needed a bodyguard because of the paparazzi bordering on harassment.
Taylor Hicks may have won the coveted title on american idol season 5, but his catapult to fame wasn’t all fun…especially when he needed a bodyguard by his side for several months. The Birmingham, Alabama native ousted runner-up Katharine McPhee, along with unforgettable Top 10 contenders like Chris Daughtry and Kellie Pickler. There was just something about his frenetic, bluesy style that the nation couldn’t get enough of. But sometimes the adoration for Taylor has gone a bit too far.
Week after week on american idol, a 29-year-old Taylor received consistently positive feedback from the show’s original trio of judges: Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul. His renditions included everything from Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music” to Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock.” Each performance usually saw Taylor running around the stage or even singing from the floor. In May 2006, confetti rained down as he was crowned the winner and sang the Idol original “Do I make you proud.”
After accomplishing this feat, Taylor left the American Idol bubble and returned to the real world. But he was no longer an average guy from Birmingham. On the contrary, he was the next big star that millions of people had watched perform every week for the past four months. While much of the attention was positive, not all of the interactions were. In a recent interview with InitiatedTaylor revealed that his post-Idol life was made extremely difficult by borderline stalkers, including the paparazzi who followed him in a helicopter for two weeks. “I had a bodyguard for six months. It was very intense for me“, reflects Hicks.”It’s very scary when you’re left to graze, as I like to say.”
However, Taylor didn’t let the negatives affect her love of music. In late 2006, her self-titled debut album was released, featuring the single “Just to Feel That Way”. This was followed in March 2009 by her second album The distanceas well as a host of singles, such as 2017’s “Six Strings and Diamond Rings” and 2021’s “Stars Fell on Alabama”. Idol predecessors Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, Taylor never stopped pursuing her passion. Sixteen years after his victory, Taylor continues to make his rounds on stage, whether performing a solo show or singing alongside Idol former students, like Ruben Studdard, who won against Clay Aiken in 2003.
When Taylor decided to audition for american idol, he had never watched the show before and was completely unfamiliar with the process. But throughout his competitive journey, Taylor has remained authentically himself and even discovered a unique trick to help him succeed. Between rehearsals, he regularly hung out in the bathroom, the “most humid place” on the tray. “It felt like I had a massive case of diarrhea the whole time, but it was just me trying to keep my voice down.,” he said Initiated. It seems those long hours spent in the bathroom have paid off. Now, at 45, Taylor can continue to bring music to people, just without the spooky paparazzi.
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