Is it bragging if you foretell the future with perfect success? I am pleased to announce two months and a week ago I made a prediction here about this year’s American Idol contestants and, in the end, I was right. Peering into tomorrow is a practiced knack and here’s why I was right about who won and who finished second.

TAYLOR HICKS Taylor HicksAmerican Idol, as I predicted, is your new Idol but he was never a favorite of judge Simon Cowell.

That is a dangerous thing because Simon can kill a contestant he doesn’t like and for the first six weeks of the show, Simon took every opportunity he had to slay Taylor’s chances of winning it all. What Simon failed to recognize — but that the rest of us knew and loved — is that Taylor Hicks wasn’t just a great singer and musician, he was one of us. He was older. He had a bit of a gut. His chin was doubled. He was grey haired.

We loved him because he wasn’t about surface beauty or false charity. Taylor Hicks is a real talent, nobly divined and of Great Spirit. He sweats honor and compassion. He controls the stage. He sings with grit and a passion missing in today’s popular recorded music. Taylor will always be better live than on tape but that’s the beauty of the man. He transcends the faked by being human in the moment and he cannot be artificially captured.

A few weeks ago Taylor lost his direction. He faintly sang. He stopped his spastic dancing. We knew why: He was trying to please Simon Cowell. When that attempt proved to be futile because Cowell then pounded him for not being true to himself, Taylor simply went back to the performances that won him a spot on the show in the first place. Taylor once again became the old friend we had grown to know and love.

Despite Taylor’s poor performances we never stopped believing in him. He was the only contestant to never land in the bottom three and his powerhouse fan base never abandoned him when it came time to vote to keep him in the competition. Taylor was a landslide waiting to happen
— it was time the show finally let Jedermann win it all — and Taylor Hicks not only won, he crushed the competition from start to finish.

KATHARINE McPHEE Katharine McPheeAmerican Idol came in second place as I also predicted.

She has a beautiful voice but her confidence on stage in performance didn’t have the years of hard-earned grittiness Taylor had in his gig bag to see her though the rough spots of Simon Cowell trying to cut her throat because he felt she was “too Broadway” and “not Pop enough” to win.

Instead of trying out the things Cowell suggested — as Taylor tried and failed before entirely rejecting Cowell’s suggestions as an ongoing sabotage attempt — Katharine simply just became lost in the mist in precisely the same way similarly mega-talented singer Jordis stumbled and forever fell on Rock Star INXS last August.

Katharine will have a fine career acting, modeling, singing and performing career if she can just learn to trust her training. She needs to sing a single note instead of making every note into a run to show off her voice. When she begins to blindly believe in herself and what she was born to know — and not solely in her ability to run every single note — Katharine will have found the sort of confidence that set Taylor on the unbeatable path to winning.

27 Comments

  1. I don’t think they had a choice. There was no way to wiggle the votes away from Taylor and skew them to Kellie or some other no-talent like they usually try to do. They had to honor the avalanche of support for Taylor.

  2. Dave!
    You’re right that AI is inescapable, Dave. I watch it every year and generally groan over the winner. This is the first year since the first year that I have celebrated who won it all.
    I am also leaping in joy over the fact Harold won the “Top Chef” competition last night on Bravo and that all makes me a very happy couch potato today.
    AI gets big ratings. It is now a cultural event and that’s why I watch it. I want to know how mainstream America is thinking. I am usually horrified at their thought processes, but this year I was delighted. Perhaps there is hope yet for humanity in an ever-darkening world.
    Taylor was it from day one. He sang with a heart that cannot be faked. When he walked into his “final evaluation” he strolled along the long 30 yard walk playing his harmonica — it was then I truly fell for him because you knew no matter what the judges said — we’d hear from him again. Paula and Randy were crazy about him. Simon gave him thumbs down, but majority rules on AI so Taylor moved on, but Simon was determined to kill him as fast as he could with cruel comments. I didn’t work. For the first time in the history of AI Simon Cowell didn’t set the agenda. Taylor Hicks did. Goodness won the day and America is all the better for it.
    If you listen to the new AI 5 album released today you can hear the top 10 finalists and it is interesting to me Melissa McGhee does the best song – “What About Love” – and she is another one Simon hated but then successfully killed off. Melissa is a tremendous recording artist – and quite beautiful — and that’s probably why she has the first track slot on the new album. She rocks:
    http://www.idolonfox.com/contestants/melissa_mcghee/
    I used to be the “Teenaged Movie Critic” for this station in Nebraska —
    http://www.kolnkgin.com/
    — from ages 14 to 18. It was a job I loved and miss. I guess I try to make up for it here.
    :mrgreen:

  3. Gordon!
    I have never voted for AI. I felt it was always rigged so why bother?
    Yeah! Urban Semiotic does look incredibly fine on a BlackBerry. Who would’ve known? A year ago? Not possible! Now? With a BlackBerry in hand everything is possible!

  4. However. Taylor looked completely miserable, out of place, and bored with all the group numbers, the Great! First! Single! and the rest of the shazzam that goes with winning. I always felt Bo Bice dodged a bullet by losing last year, and I’m afraid Taylor took it right in the face. Now he has to tour with all those plasticine simulations… I dunno.

  5. I agree Taylor looked uncomfortable last night but the voting was over so it didn’t matter much. He was stuck singing songs with people who didn’t seem to care about performance or learning the lyrics.
    Bo had to tour with everyone last year, too, so I’m sure it’s better to win because you probably get the biggest dressing room on the road.

  6. Hi Chris —
    I was a big Mandisa fan and I picked her to finish third in my original article and no, when I say “big” I’m not necessarily making fun of her tremendous backside. I mean… that baby got BACK!
    😀
    Mandisa made some unkind comments that were directed at the Gay community. Her Christian fundamentalism intruded into her talented singing and sunk her. American Idol fans are from Middle America and they like to have a good time and tolerate all sorts of people.
    Here’s another take on the Mandisa saga but her answers about the Gay issue were never satisfactory and she was gone the next week:
    http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/81-04112006-639797.html
    Here’s how other media outlets covered her demise and even if the “issue” wasn’t the “issue” it is the “issue” that brought the wrong kind of attention to her:
    The Advocate
    CBS News

  7. I didn’t watch the show. My wife and son saw Clay Aiken in concert a couple years back, so that’s my only link to “Idol.” I liked your analysis, though. I wonder, of course, what you would have written had not your predictions been correct? Good luck to you!

  8. Hi David,
    You are right that her comments sunk her chances for finishing in the top 3.
    I noticed that her http://www.mandisaministries.com/ website has been temporarily closed.
    There’s a split in the African-American community on the gay issue as we saw in the Kevin Logan story. People have strong feelings on both sides and its one of those issues an entertainer would do well to always avoid since it will end up alienating potential consumers.

  9. A very well written analysis about why Taylor deserved to be the American Idol.
    I can’t vote because I’m not American but I do agree with your assessment about Taylor Hicks.
    I’m glad he won. 🙂

  10. Chris —
    If Mandisa had just said, “I love all people” and left it at that — she would have been fine. She didn’t do that. She was evasive and non-apologetic and then vaguely apologetic.
    She needs to learn how not to answer a leading question with grace.

  11. Hi Daphne!
    Welcome to the blog and I appreciate your comment!
    I, too, am thrilled Taylor won. He was on “The Tonight Show” last night and he came out singing Jailhouse Rock and he put the whole studio audience on fire.
    His interview with Jay Leno was real and humble and he showed what a great guy he was and I’m glad he was honest about the cruel comments Simon Cowell leveled against him during the show.