Howard Cohen isn’t down with the hateration anymore.

Howard Cohen, the Miami-based reviewer who loathed Taylor Hicks with the fire of a thousand burning suns during Idol‘s run (and well into the Idol tour), managed to land a short phone chat with his arch-nemesis. Like most interviewers who eventually get a sit-down with Hicks, Cohen comes off as a bit befuddled in the end — Hicks is a dynamo onstage (love him or hate him), but shy, reserved, and as Cohen says, rather boring in person:

Hicks remains a curio. Onstage he’s hyper to the point of distraction and to the delight of his supporters. Out of the spotlight he’s quiet, reserved — polite words for, well, dull. Though pleasant during this conversation, getting him to open up and speak at any length is akin to making oil blend with water. He is, easily, the most polarizing American Idol to date — the Hillary Clinton of pop music.

Cohen predictably sniffles about the barrage of angry E-mails he received each time he lambasted Hicks. Not that I condone it when a fanbase goes all crazy and bombards a critic with hate mail (because it’s just really stupid to do that), but at the same time, Cohen really, really hated Hicks, so he really shouldn’t be so shocked–SHOCKED, I tell you!–that a few fans didn’t appreciate it. After all, a critic who insults a performer is, by extension, insulting all those who actually enjoy the performer.

Cohen also asserts, rather strangely, that music critics generally don’t like Taylor — which he doesn’t back up at all. Cohen got it right earlier in his article. Taylor’s polarizing, and for every hater, there’s a lover. His stint on Idol, and his CD, are getting mixed reviews, and much of the negativity is fully cognizant of the fact that Taylor likely suffered through the mandatory musical castration that is inflicted upon each and every Idol winner’s debut. I personally haven’t seen a “graded” review that’s given Taylor below a “C” grade, and I think the worst Taylor’s album’s been called critically is “vanilla soul.” Maybe Cohen really is sitting around some posh, elite clubhouse for music critics only, puffing on stogies with his music critic friends and dumping on Hicks, but I seriously doubt it.

Obviously, it’s Cohen’s prerogative not to like the guy, and it’s clear from his article that he’s straining against his buttons trying to be objective (though he can’t help taking just a few swipes at Hicks; oh, and seriously, when did Carrie Underwood’s dead-eyed, deer-in-the-headlights singing style become “polished?”), so I’ve got to give him a little credit for that. And as for why Taylor was so “dull” in his phone interview–well, no doubt Taylor knew exactly who he was talking to. And if I were talking to a guy who’d devoted the last six months to writing scathing articles ripping apart my singing, dancing, performing, and general persona…yeah, I’d be shy and reserved, too.

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3 Responses to “Howard Cohen isn’t down with the hateration anymore.”


  1. 1 baxter December 31, 2006 at 5:16 pm

    Kat- Happy New Year!!!

    By the way, enjoyed your take on this review. If anyone knows anything about Taylor, it’s the fact that this guy is a very shy person. Add to the mix, a probable known history of Mr. Cohen’s utter hated of anything regarding himself not only made him even more reserved, but overly cautious as well. A phone interview is restrictive in the fact that you can’t read body language. Watch interviews with Taylor on camera and you can read immediately his sense of comfort by the way he holds himself or in Taylor case, how much fidgiting (sp??)he does. I think the reason I enjoyed the NY Post ( or was it NYT) article was not that it was overly positive, cause it had it’s negative tone as well, but was that the interview spoke and interacted with Taylor face to face and got a “feel” for him.

    One last point to Mr. Cohen……At some point in your life, please get asked the same questions over and over and over again by 500 different strangers and then tell me how you manage to maintain an ubber excitement about the whole process???? Then throw the “hater” into the mix and how would you respond???

    Great job once again Kat!!!

  2. 2 Bobbi December 31, 2006 at 7:48 pm

    “And if I were talking to a guy who’d devoted the last six months to writing scathing articles ripping apart my singing, dancing, performing, and general persona…yeah, I’d be shy and reserved, too.”

    I think you got this exactly right, Kat. Taylor may be shy, but he is nobody’s fool. Whenever I have seen or heard him interviewed, he has done his best to answer the person’s questions and have a little fun in the meantime. But, why would anyone try to be open with someone that has routinely ripped them to shreds? Makes no sense to me that the interviewer should expect that!

    BTW, did you see this review? Obviously from a fan, but enjoyable, nonetheless. http://www.nationalledger.com/artman/publish/article_272610721.shtml

  3. 3 idolicious December 31, 2006 at 8:37 pm

    Bobbi, I’ll check that review out tomorrow.

    And in the meantime, Happy New Year to everyone!


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What the kids are sayin’



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