in and week out to be the number one watched show on television. This
seasons finale will take place Wednesday, May 25 with the 10th winner
being selected. Past finale shows have brought back previous winners, but
producers are remaining silent as to who might be coming back this year.
There is no secret, however, that season five winner (2006) Taylor Hicks
will be coming to Northern Michigan this weekend to perform at the Little
River Casino in Manistee on Sunday night. With a clear schedule for
Wednesday night and a tour that currently has him on the West Coast, the
speculation is that Hicks will make an Idol appearance Wednesday night.
I will keep that a surprise for now; the show producers like to keep
things a secret so I guess people will just have to tune in and watch,
said Hicks. I will give you this bit of information: I am coming to
Northern Michigan and looking forward to that.
For the past two years Hicks has been getting an earful about Northern
Michigan from Dominic Fortuna (Williamsburg Dinner Theater). The two
co-starred on the Grease tour together.
I have heard so much about how great Northern Michigan and the Traverse
City area is from Dominic, said Hicks. Plus, Dominic knew that I needed
some musicians for that show and he lined me up with a couple of great
guys that I know are well known up there. I will have Roger Tarczon on
drums and Ivan Greilick on guitar.
Hicks was quick to point out his trust in Fortuna.
I know how talented Dominic is so when he makes a recommendation I can
take it to the bank, said Hicks. I gravitate towards people who are
talented and Dominic Fortuna is one of those people. He is a natural
singer and entertainer and I was fortunate to work with him.
Hicks was in his late 20s when he auditioned for Idol on a whim.
Hurricane Katrina had just hit the area and I was looking to try and get
some gigs in Vegas. I was barely off the airplane and my brother called
and told me I should go and audition for Idol since it was in Vegas that
day. So I did and ended up making it through. I felt I had a leg up
because I had been playing the roadhouses of the south for about 10
While judges Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul gave the thumbs up, Simon was
He didnt think I would make it past the next round let alone the final
round and I guess I got the the last laugh, said Hicks. At last years
finale, I sat down with Simon and he is a great guy and really knows this
entertainment business inside and out. Simon has encouraged me to take a
look at acting in movies and television, he believes that I am a natural
Hicks is currently looking at some television and film offers and is
working with an acting coach. In the meantime he continues to focus on his
I am winding down my tour at the Manistee show and it will be one of my
last for the summer as I am focusing on writing new music and recording my
new CD that will be out later this year or early next year.
Growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, Hicks was a star athlete playing,
soccer, basketball and baseball in high school. But he knew performing was
going to be his thing at an early age.
I definitely realized after watching enough NBA games that I was way too
short to pursue a professional basketball career and I felt harmonica was
the best bet for me, said Hicks. I left home when I was 17 to start
performing, I have always felt performing was my calling. I had a vision
early on as a kid to entertain people. It was real easy for me to learn
instruments and play them.
Besides winning $1 million and a major recording contract, Hicks is
grateful for what American Idol has done for him.
It obviously changed my life. I feel very blessed to be able to tour as
much as I do nationally and internationally, said Hicks. I have found
touring the country to be very enriching and it has helped the writing
Hicks is diversifying himself; he recently opened a restaurant in his
I have played in enough restaurants over the years to get the
restauranteur bug so to speak. Writing a menu and the creative aspect of
owning a restaurant is very similar to writing a record. The culinary arts
and recording arts are very similar, said Hicks. We named the place
Ore, short for Iron Ore in which the city of Birmingham was founded on.
Our menu focuses on traditional southern cuisine.
When asked if he thinks American Idol has run its course, Hicks chuckles.
In my opinion if it had run its course it wouldnt be on television. It
is interesting because the show has been on for 10 years and if you cut
the shows viewership in half it would be in second place in the ratings,
said Hicks. So I dont get why these critics think the show has run its
course. I dont believe that it is going anywhere for a long time.
Taylor Hicks will perform Sunday, May 29 at the Little River Casino in
Manistee. Tickets are available at www.starticketsplus.com or by calling
the Little River Casino box office at 888-568-2244.