Skittles.

Mary Colurso, a well-known champion of the “no one is interested in listening to Taylor Hicks if they can’t see him, too” theory, did a little write-up of Hicks’ recent Huntsville concert:

Charismatic body language is partly why Hicks, 30, won on “American Idol” last year, spazz-dancing and soul-dipping his way to the TV crown and a contract with Arista Records. Even when the sound mix lacked subtlety — as it often did — or his voice lacked oomph, Hicks compensated by relying on the other gifts at his disposal. They are many: they are visual; they are emotional. They prompted adrenaline-fueled applause from ticketholders in the sold-out house of about 2,150 people. Frankly, this wasn’t the best singing Hicks has done in recent memory, although he obviously gave it his all. With a rasp and a wink, Hicks covered Rod Stewart’s “Young Turks.” Here and there, he engaged in mini-medleys, blending his own material with blues-funk-soul classics. “Wherever I Lay My Hat,” for example, morphed into snippets of “Night Shift” and “Chain Gang.” “The Maze” was combined with “Let’s Get it On.”

Well, I certainly hope Taylor’s taking care of his voice, but at the same time, Colurso has always been a bit (unfairly, in my opinion) dismissive of Hicks’ vocal talents. She and I are on opposite sides of the spectrum — I love seeing Taylor live, but I get the most joy out of listening to his salty-sugary vocals on songs like “Somehow” and “The Right Place,” and I wish he’d do more vocally-intensive songs. Colurso, on the other hand, needs her monkey to dance. Nothing wrong with that, as I believe that Colurso represents the majority, but it’s a shame that Taylor is so often typecast as a visual performer when he really does have the vocal chops to back it up.

In other Taylor news, the silver fox will be using his weekend Alabama concerts for a good cause. Hicks is partnering with the Red Cross to raise money to benefit Enterprise, Alabama, which was struck by a powerful tornado that struck the city on March 2.

Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Post carried another “why isn’t Taylor selling more albums” article, albeit with a more positive outlook than the AP piece that circulated last week. The Post lays most of the blame for Taylor’s slow sales on the album’s throwback sound, but it isn’t painted as a negative here. The Post also interviewed yet another radio programmer, who had this to say regarding the album:

“I don’t know if any song on the record makes sense for us,” said Brian Douglas, music director at Cincinnati’s WKRQ (Q102), a top 40/adult contemporary hybrid format. “I love the guy. I love the CD. I don’t know if he’s got the sound for any radio station.”

Responds Hicks:

When Hicks is asked if his sound is out of the “Idol” and pop mainstream, he simply says, “There’s all kinds of different genres of music. My style happens to be soul. I think pop is just what’s popular and I don’t think that pigeon holes a style.”

Quite the diplomatic response, and true. Pop is R&B-lite, synthed-out backing tracks, and formulaic rock these days. Eight year ago, it was bubblegum boybands. Before that, it was grunge. Trends change.

Last but not least, check out this article/interview with Hicks by The City Paper Online (skip the comments section; just immature fanbase squabbling there):

Part of Hicks’ desire not to fall into the trap of making generic material is reflected in his choice of “Whenever I Lay My Hat” on the disc, a Marvin Gaye tune Gaye co-wrote with Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield that’s not heard anywhere as often as “Ain’t That Peculiar” or “How Sweet It Is” or for that matter, “What’s Going On” or “Sexual Healing.” “I sure didn’t want to just do the same old thing or any of the Marvin Gaye tunes that are familiar,” Hicks said. Another sign of his deep roots in the blues can be heard on “Gonna Move,” an animated tune that includes a slashing Hicks’ harmonica solo and a mournful, declarative attack that echoes Hinton at his best…”American Idol is a great show and I owe it everything in terms of my control. If there’s any negative thing I would say about it that would be the hurry up and wait part that comes as you move up the line[,” says Hicks. “]But in terms of establishing an identity, helping you reach an audience, getting started, it has been the greatest thing that ever happened to me.”

Taylor also puts to bed any suspiction that he and Simon have a personal, ongoing feud. Remember, kids — this is a TV show, and Simon plays a character.

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What the kids are sayin’



"I hate them all. The judges, TPTB, the blatant manipulation, the songs, the contestants, everything. I'm a die-hard Cook fan, but for the love of god, at least try to look like you're enjoying yourself up there! Please? Syesha was awesome but she ruined it by being completely shameless and disgusting. Yes, being on American Idol is exactly like the civil rights movement, except for the part where you're fighting to make the world a better place."



"All I can say after the disgusting display tonight of favoritism towards the mediocrity that is David A. - good luck trying to market and make money off of that kid, American Idol. (Not to mention good luck dealing with his father.) All the teeny boppers may buy up his American Idol coronation single, but they will quickly forget about him before the album comes out. And I shudder to think of a David A. album - song after song of unrelenting sameness and heavy breathing. Why they are pimping him for the win is beyond me."



"This show was simply a hot buttered mess tonight. And Jason "needs to be arrested for what he did to I Shot the Sheriff. But I hope he stays. He amuses me. "

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