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American Idol has gripped the world. Taylor Hicks has captured many of our votes. Why?
Copyright Linda Alexander, 2006. No reproduction without permission of the author.
Ever heard the song by Barry Manilow, “I Made It Through The Rain?”
I’ve been a Taylor Hicks follower since his audition. I’ve tried to figure out why for as long. He has a good voice, though maybe not a classically-trained good voice. He’s a real performer, though maybe a bit spastic – even so, that’s part of his charm. And he’s cute, though certainly not Adonis. So, what is it? Since Manilow is an American Idol supporter, I thought it apropos to use lyrics to one of his lesser-known songs to look into Taylor’s appeal:
We dreamers have our ways/Of facing rainy days/And somehow we survive
Taylor Hicks is just old enough to have been kicked around a bit. He’s played circuit-type, small bar locales of the type many a star-hopeful has played . . . and most that eventually made it, before they were “someone,” played the same nameless bars, fairs, small arenas.
We keep the feelings warm/Protect them from the storm/Until our time arrives
Taylor Hicks has been around long enough to want it, I mean honest-to-gosh-can-taste-it want it. He’s had enough time to dream. He’s had a taste of what it’s like to feel an audience appreciate him for his talent – a high all unto itself. He’s put out a product – his own written music. He’s felt, probably over and over, what it’s like to be “thisclose” to even small-time notoriety. He’s been in that storm of feeling that only an artist – an artist of any sort – knows when he wants to do nothing but live his art, and live for his art. He’s been around long enough to wait for his time to arrive.
Then one day the sun appears/And we come shining through those lonely years
Has it? Has the sun appeared? Time will tell – and that time’s inching closer.
I made it through the rain/I kept my world protected/I made it through the rain/I kept my point of view/I made it through the rain/And found myself respected/By the others who/
Got rained on too
This is what I’ve tried to put my finger on but missed until today, the day of truth, the “crowning” of the 2006 American Idol. This is why I’ve been behind Taylor Hicks since that very first sighting. I believe he’s been there. I believe every word he sings – whether true or not. That doesn’t matter because he makes me believe. He has that ability. It’s that old soul that owns him.
He makes me believe I’ll make it through the rain, too. I’m not a musician but as a writer who’s been published many times, I know what it’s like to be “thisclose” so often I can taste it on the very tip of my tongue. I know how it feels to be on the literary equivalent of American Idol – an unknown skilled writer among too many other unknown skilled writers, reviewed by big name literary agents. If that agent were to pick me, well, I could become the writer’s American Idol.
And Taylor protected his world, as the song says. He’s been criticized for a unique style, for performing whatever music given him any particular week in his own way, not bending to pop star-itis despite the fact that American Idol has been known to brand previous winners. He hasn’t sold out. He started out as Taylor Hicks and all these weeks later, he’s still Taylor Hicks. That’s really his highest achievement.
If Taylor wins tonight, it’ll give me back my sense of wonder. He’s the image of what I think an American Idol should be – someone just old enough, with enough experience to have paid his dues but young enough to still find the thrill in it. Someone unique.
I believe Taylor made it to the spot in which he sits, on the precipice of a fantastic career whether Number One or runner-up, because those of us who’ve “been rained on, too,” in whatever way – I gave mine but I’m sure other Hicks fans have theirs – respect that old soul that owns him, that old soul that’s served him well, and continues to be his best bet.
You go, Taylor. You’ve definitely made it through the rain.
Site: Linda Alexander
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"Has He Made It Through The Rain?"
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|Reviewed by Sandie Angel
Thank you so much for inviting me to read your article! I am a Taylor Hicks fan and I think he looks cuter by every show. Not only that he believes in his own ability to capture the hearts of his fans.
He is genuine, he is him. He shows no other face but his own whenever he stands up there on the stage to sing the songs that he himself think was was good at; and he was just plainly having great fun in performing. It is so natural to love him just the way he is - his genuine self, even though he was immensely criticized by Simon each and every time, but it didn't seem to bother him as much for he was just basically a guy who was having fun on the stage, and he enjoys it when he knows his talents are being appreciated by his fans.
As writers ourselves, I believe we also hae to face many constructive criticisms in order to tune up our skills; but some of us do write because of our own interests. I write because I love to write. I write it as a hobby, and if one day I made myself known, then I will be very happy; if not, I still would continue to write and tell stories. I'm just being me. Like Taylor Hicks, I enjoy what I'm doing.
I think many of us writers fall into this category. We writer because we are interested in writing, and because it makes us happy to write.
Thank you so much once again for reading my article and commenting on it and inviting me to read yours. Yes, Taylor Hicks is my idol and I think it is just about time that a guy would win. As last year I like Bo Byce, I thought he was good, but obviously was not good enough to win. Taylor Hicks has captured the hearts of many Americans, and he is well-worth the title.
I personally do not think that Katherine McPhee was good from beginning to end. She might have one or two good songs, and that just about all. Also, as I have stated, she didn't dress like a lady. Her clothes were too flashy.
But then again, the above is just my own opinion about Katherine. I'm sure those who love her will find many good things about her to admire.
Sandie May Angel a.k.a. Sandie Angel :o)
|Reviewed by Elizabeth Anon (Reader)
|Thanks for sending me an email about your short story, "Has He Made It Through The Rain", the tracking author system works well. I very much enjoyed reading the article. I live in Australia so I haven't seen any of this season's American Idol, but I know that Taylor won and I'm sure you were pleased with that result.
You had my attention right from the start, if I wasn't sure who Taylor was I certainly knew who Barry Manilow was. And we do have an Australian version of Idol. I also liked how you related Taylor's experience to your own, so we learned more about you too. And the use of a photo made the article look more appealing to the eye. A nice shot of a singer-songwriter, the loner.
I think that anyone can relate to the emphasis on appreciating your own talents and staying true to yourself. You summed up well. And the article was just the right length for ease of reading on the computer, especially for my middle-aged eyes. I may not be the world's best reviewer, but I know that I enjoyed your story -- thank you muchly :-)