Archive for January, 2009


NYC & San Juan, 1.29.09

New York and San Juan, 1/29/09

Seacrest’s Hair flaked last night and only recorded 3 minutes of the show. So, you’re stuck with two reviews today. Well, really only like 1-1/3 because I’m not sure Lil’ Dawg’s can really count for a full review. Wink

Lil’ Dawg
Adeola Adegoke: You know it’s not going to be good when they say they quit their job because they “knew” they were going to Hollywood. Rolleyes

Monique Garcia Torres: Pretty voice, but not strong enough.

Much needed Hollywood week! At least most of them can kind of sing . . .

Tight Black T

So first off, I think the producer’s evil plan to thoroughly confuse me worked, because I had no idea what city they were in half the time! Not that it really mattered. Only nine golden tickets were handed out in Puerto Rico so that certainly would not have filled a show. But it would have been nice to see more of the 26 ticket-worthy contestants from New York.

From NY (I think) we had the contestant who quit her job because she was sure she was going to Hollywood. Yeah, that never works out. Simon called her boss, who didn’t really seem all that anxious to get her back, but whatever.

Jorge Nunez, a college student from San Juan had a nice strong voice – though I do agree with one of the judges who said that he showed more passion in his Spanish language song choice.

The chick who had won something like 700 contests in her life did not impress the judges one bit. Even less impressive and incredibly annoying was her interminable begging.

Melinda Camille – the girl who dances naked in her room and wants to uplift humanity to a place of love and positivity – impressed the judges with her voice and personality. Randy asked her if she wished she could be naked right now. She said only if they were all naked. Kara maybe, the rest, ick!

“Entertaining is all I know,” said Jackie Tohn, and I got worried. But, she proved me wrong. Her first song choice, “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz, was all wrong, but they gave her another chance. Her raspy, husky voice is very interesting and I’m anxious to see how she does in Hollywood.

They showed us two guys in ridiculous outfits. The first, the “Crazy Rocker” from PR was just plain annoying. He showed up in a cardboard iPod, and ended with a hand puppet singing “The Circle of Life.”

The second guy, “Norman Gentle,” amused the judges much more, even Simon. I have to say, his voice was not bad, but I never guessed they would send him to Hollywood.

Three quick yeses followed with Ashley Hollister, Kenny Hoffpauh, and Kendall Beard.

Monique Garcia Torres, a 16-year-old who showed up with her cute, funny 9-year-old brother made it as well, even though it seemed that the judges did not like her at all. “You need more confidence.” “You’re not ready.” So here’s your ticket to Hollywood. Huh

Alexis Cohen, middle finger girl from last season, was back with a whole new ‘tude. We’ll not exactly. New look yes. But in the end it was the same old Alexis.

The final contestant of the night was Patricia Lewis Ramon. For some reason she thought “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” was a good song choice. Luckily, they let her sing another song and she showed the lovely voice she has.

So we finally arrive at Hollywood week – billed as “the most dramatic Hollywood week ever.” Okay Seacrest, can I hold you to th


Porn turtles,lint brushes, & Bendies OH MY!

     We’ve been singing the Soul Patrol blues lately.  Where are the days of the Soul Patrol being one big happy family? Remember when we were a dedicated, loyal, organized, and creative community? The voting? The go phones? Taylor’s shout outs to his fan base? TuesTAYS?  It seems like issue after issue is splitting the fan base and it’s getting really old. These days it’s more like one big dramatic dysfunctional family.    

     Let’s put the fun back in dysfunctional! Let’s try as a group to recall some of the fun times and get things back on track for Taylor’s sake. So, sing your blues about the latest issues if you must, but see if you can also contribute a fun story or experience from the last couple of years. Like Taylor says “Share a little smile”. As a group we’ve done so many fun and positive things. It’s easy to lose sight of that sometimes, but in the big picture this is a strong, smart, generous, and loyal group. Hell, when thousands of women are interested in the same man there are bound to be some fireworks!  So,  shoot us some favorite stories and memories of the Taylor Hicks fan journey!


Salt Lake City, Utah 1.28.09

Salt Lake City, 1/28/09

Lil’ Dawg

Frankie Jordan: Great voice, very different. Kinda like Amy Winehouse, but better I think.

Megan Corkery: Pretty old-fashioned voice. Very memorable as Simon said. And her son is so cute! Smile

Austin Sisneros: Very bad song choices but you can kinda tell he has a voice. His little “it’s okay to follow your dreams” and “I’m here to inspire people” speeches reminded me of Archie. But his voice isn’t as good as Archie’s – not even close.

Taylor Vaifanua: I don’t think her voice is that great. It’s not bad . . . it’s just not wow!

Tight Black T

The intro hype on Salt Lake City, the home of last year’s runner up, David Archuletta, was that they met “some of the happiest people we’ve ever seen.” Shiny, happy people are not what American Idol is supposed to be about – it’s all about the music dammit. Oh wait, that’s something else. Rolleyes

What visit to Utah would be complete without the Osmonds, who make up 25% of the population of Utah. Okay, I made that up, but it’s gotta be pretty damn close! David Osmond, son of Alan, grew up in the family business, singing barbershop with his brothers since he was four. David suffers from MS, as does his dad, and a few years ago was in a wheelchair. In a remission period now, he looked unbelievably strong and healthy. While he had a good voice, the judges didn’t seem to like him very much, worrying that he couldn’t be a solo artist. But, they put him through to Hollywood just the same.

Goth chick Tara Mathews’ ESP must have been on the fritz since she had no idea she was going to suck so badly.

In our usual procession of losers’ montage, we had our requisite scary dude – Rick something or other. He was the full package of loser goodness – Michael Bolton 90’s hair, sunglasses on top of his head, and creepy, buggy eye lined eyes that darted around. The icing on the cake was when he said he could show them something else, and his tongue darted around like Bartie Crouch, Jr. from Harry Potter. Don’t get the reference, too bad.

I’m frightened by the fact that Simon actually seemed to enjoy being picked up by super-sized pink bunny, “Greg the Rabbit.”

We have had a slew of moms auditioning this season. Salt Lake City brought us Frankie Jordan, a 23-year-old stay at home mom. She sang Amy Winehouse. Her voice definitely had that same quality, but I think she is much more than a Winehouse wannabe. Her voice is very distinctive and I’d love to hear her sing something more bluesy.

Our other mom was soon to be divorced Megan Corkery. First off, her son was just the cutest thing. Megan sang “Can’t Help Loving That Man of Mine.” While I had high hopes for Megan, I’m not completely sure about her voice. The judges seemed to love her, particularly Simon. Maybe I missed something.

Austin Sisneros is an Archie wannabe. While he never said it, I could imagine the end of each of his sentences being punctuated with “gosh.” His song choices were horrid, and his voice was just okay. And you guessed it, we’ll be seeing him in Hollywood.

Originally from Samoa, Taylor Vaifanua is a very mature, very tall (5’11”) 16-year-old. As with so many contestants this season, I thought her voice was good, but couldn’t understand the praise heaped upon her. “One of the best vocals we’ve heard this season.” – Randy. Huh

Rose Flack was our tearjerker story of the night. In the past four years, this 17-year-old has lost both her parents and now lives with a friend’s family. Even with her tragedies, this girl still has spunk and a pretty positive attitude. Her funky style brought raves from the judges (and my viewing companion). Her cool vibe did not translate into good vocals though. There is something interesting about her and I’m hopeful that better song choices and the confidence of having gotten through that audition will bring out Rose’s potential.

They’re cramming New York City and San Jose into one night tonight. Thank God. It’s off to Hollywood on Tuesday, not a moment too soon!

Seacrest’s Hair

We’ve done these reviews in the past, and this is the first time we’ve been able to keep our audition notes down to two pages in the ol’ notebook. Dang. Anyway, we’re in Salt Lake City, and apparently the people here are happy because they smile and cheer for the cameras. Not because the producers told them to, of course.

They surprise us by cutting straight to the Osmond kid, David, who like his dad Alan has MS, and like all Osmonds has that smile. We did a quick Google search and confirmed that Take Six is one of those annoying Christian bands, so of course David loves them. We were hoping for “Puppy Love”, really. Anyway, you can’t reject an Osmond while in Utah; it’s just not allowed, like being gay. David gets a ton of “constructive criticism” and a golden ticket.

Bring on the losers! Tara Mathews is the typical fat Goth chick, claims she has ESP, and can’t sing worth a damn. We get a quick montage of a goat girl, a horridly dramatic girl, and a creepy guy with… oh, Michael Bolton hair and a penchant for licking his lips. A lot. Lewdly.

Chris Kirkham might have gotten through, even with his karaoke voice, if he hadn’t come in with Simon on his shirt… Simon on a stick… and a giant pink bunny. Apparently not everyone in SLC is a teetotaler.

Then we get a montage of graceful losers, the judges ponder moving to SLC, and Seacrest tries to pep-talk the Mormons into fighting back.

Frankie Jordan has a very, very, very cute baby (so cute we forgot to check out the hubby) and a quite pleasant voice. Seacrest gets to say “Frankie goes to Hollywood.”

Oh look, more cute baby! Toddler, actually. His mommy is Megan Corkrey, who filed for divorce and auditioned for Idol almost concurrently. It’s also her birthday. She has a very weird, slide-y, edgy voice and we definitely don’t care for her song choice. This is Simon’s “favorite audition”. And apparently Simon likes “different”. Did he get hit on the head with something? Replaced with a pod person??

Now we get a montage o’ winners, because apparently Megan put the judges in such a good mood they’re letting everyone through. Or not.

Andrew Gibson only gets a quick moment, but makes us wonder why baritones think they could possibly get on Idol. Sorry, pop music is for tenors. Go back to a cappella choir.

Austin Sisneros is not auditioning just for himself, but as an example to… um, his classmates? Other kids? He’s got a lispy speaking voice but sings pretty well, despite weird song choices. Raffi? This kid confuses us. He gets through, we think, on perseverance, likeability and cuteness. What a season this is turning out to be.

Next, a crying montage, followed by a snippet of Jarrett Burns, who picks a girl song but seems to have a decent range. And another montage o’ losers, edited to turn into an extended yodel. Great.

Taylor Vaifanua makes us pause the VCR to get her name down. She’s wicked tall, some kind of ethnic, and claims to be 16, although she looks maybe 25 to our eyes. Pretty good, but… eh… she gets through.

Finally, after much pimping, we meet Rose Flack, who is a cute 17 year old orphan from Idaho. She has short blonde dreadlocks and is repeatedly described as a “free-spirit”, which says to us she knows where to get the good stuff. We liked her song choice, “I Feel The Earth Move”, and she sings it a lot better than the judges give her credit for. We love her, so she’ll probably be cut in the first public-voting round.

Tomorrow (can we really stand a third hour this week?), Rutherford, NJ a/k/a New York City and San Juan, PR are crammed into one hour. This is all for the best, because next week, everyone gets torn to shreds in Hollywood. Excellent…


Jacksonville, Florida 1.27.09

Jacksonville, 1/27/09

Lil’ Dawg

I don’t like when Randy and Simon switch seats. Meh!

Sharon Wilbur: Her voice is okay but I really don’t like how she ends each line. The gulpy, baby voice is very Britney Spears.

T.K. Hash: SO CUTE! And he can sing. But I agree with Randy, his performance was kinda over the top.

My comments are short, as is my attention span for this show lately. I can’t wait for the top 24.

Tight Black T

The Jacksonville audition show started out with a look back at one of the hottest bands of the early 80’s – Journey – more specifically, their bass player, the one and only Randy Jackson. OMFG, the hair! My viewing companion and I could not stop laughing. Her comment – “it’s actually square!” And let’s just say that he is no Al “Boogie” Carty when it comes to the moves. Rolleyes

The reality of last night was that Randy’s hair was about the funniest and most exciting part of the night. Oh wait; there was Paula and Kara kissing. Yeah, even that could have been better. The lack of actual talent this season is evident in the amount of filler they need to use for a one hour show. Seacrest is getting an awful lot of screen time this season, outside of his usual time with the contestants. It seems like it will be a running joke between he and Simon about how he delivers his lines. I don’t get it. And last night they had him driving what looked like a golf cart and supposedly getting lost. Funny?

Okay, onto the “talent.” Justin Guarini look alike Joshua Ullo made it through despite Inspector Gadget sound effects. He had an okay voice and might actually be good if he stops messing around and just sings.

Sharon Wilbur and her dog Sasha made it through as well. She was cute and her voice was different, but there was a slightly annoying quality to it. It could have been the song choice or nervousness; we’ll have to see if it’s still there in Hollywood.

Kanewasa Finnie proved that confidence is not everything. Her mother said she had been singing all around Jacksonville since she was five. What she didn’t say is that she had left bleeding ears in her wake.

Julissia Veloz, Miss Florida Latina USA, was better than the judges expected, but as far as I’m concerned, not good enough to be put through, but she was. Is that where the bar is set these days – better than we expected?

Then we had the first odd, slightly uncomfortable moment of the night. Naomi Syke’s friend loves Randy Jackson, and so they told her to come into the audition room. The girl sat on Randy’s lap, while for some inexplicable reason; Seacrest sat on Kara’s lap with her hands on his chest, and Paula sat on Simon’s. Naomi was terrible of course, and they all laughed thinking it was a joke. Which it wasn’t, and then they all ended up consoling her. That’s been happening a lot lately.

Sixteen-year-old Jasmine Murray chose the very wrong song to show off her voice, Big Girls Don’t Cry, by Fergie (I loathe Fergie). But a good voice rose above a crappy song. As with Lenesha Young from last week, Jasmine has very commercial appeal.

Bearded 18-year-old physics student George Ramirez was my WTF moment of the night. His pre-audition package piece actually creeped me out. My viewing partner and I were astonished by his lack of hips or a butt. We’re not sure how his pants stayed up even with a belt. The boy was just plain odd. I have a cousin named George Ramirez and I know he has a kid of the same name about that age. All I can say is, we better not be related! Fear

Kara fan Ann Marie Boskovich didn’t really get to sing before they sent her away. I think something was lost in the editing because I didn’t get what they saw that they wanted to send her away to “come back a different person.” She came back a while later, having found a makeup artist on the street, a new pair of shoes, and ditching her jacket. She’s cute and has a nice voice, but as the judges said, she needs to find her star personality.

T.K. Hash is a 23-year-old cutie who didn’t make it last year and was back for another try. His version of “Imagine” was all over the place, with too many runs and changes in the melody. But, you can’t deny he has a nice voice and is pretty easy to look at! Hopefully they can teach him what to do with the lovely instrument he has.

And poor guitar guy Michael Perrelli, having to put down his guitar for the audition was too much for him to handle. I agree with Simon that he doesn’t have the kind of voice AI is looking for, but he does have a voice that I hear on the radio everyday. Do we need another, I don’t know. I didn’t think we needed another Nickelback sound-alike, but along came Daughtry!

Salt Lake City, the home of Archie, is up next tonight. I’m not sure if I can take another “oh gosh” AI contestant. I prefer the dirty bar singer types myself. Wink

Seacrest’s Hair
This is why we love American Idol: we get to pretend Jacksonville was named for Randy. Rolleyes All righty, then.

We’ve still got 1-hour shows this week, which is great, because we really can’t take much more suck than that at once. Even the sucky people don’t suck as hard as they used to. But they do surprise us right off the bat tonight by letting through the first person, Joshua Ulloa, who not only thinks people remember Justin Guarini, but also believes that he is a sound-effect machine. The judges are, inexplicably, taken with this.

Sharon Wilbur, who has the same hairdo as the “trashea/larnix” girl from last week, brings her poor dog along (it has a better hairdo). She’s squeaky, she’s whiny, she throws way too many crappy runs in there, and pronounces “baby” as “bay-bay”, like Britney. Oh yes. And while Paula tackles Kara with a kiss the way we used to kiss in fifth grade, with a hand between their lips (we figured that would prevent AIDS), Sharon is let through.

Seacrest goes off-roading in a golf cart, but comes back.

Dana Moreno thinks she’s a soprano and isn’t. Kaneswa Finnie’s mother thinks she can sing… nope. (However, Kaneswa would make a fine juniors fashion model, and Simon should’ve told her mother that.)

Julissa Veloz has a fascinating first name and a tiara… over a haircut we haven’t seen in about 35 years. She’s got an endearingly dorky laugh (well, endearing to us, maybe not to Simon) and her singing voice is rough around the edges. She disappears behind the wall o’ Idols with Paula and comes back with four yeses.

Darrin Darnell starts out as a social butterfly, but we think this dude needs lithium. He meets another auditioner, the other guy doesn’t get through, and Darrin is so upset that he can barely get through his audition. But that’s okay, because he would have been that horribly off-key anyway.

Naomi Sykes absolutely cannot sing, and actually kinda talks her way through her song. But her redheaded friend Samantha (who for some reason needed to meet Randy in slo-mo) is cute, and we’d like to know if maybe she can sing. Or meet us somewhere later.

Jasmine Murray sings a Fergie song like Fergie run through Cher’s voice-altering machine (which seems to be getting a workout this season). We don’t care for her, but Simon’s absolutely right that she’s commercial. Ugh. She’s through with four.

George Ramirez, who we have nicknamed “Amish”, has a weird, quiet, throaty, possible baritone, but its definitely monotone. He’s… disturbingly calm. Maybe he should cut down on his mood-levelers and give some to Darrin up there…

Anne Marie Boskovich loves Kara and gets sent away to give herself a quick “star power” makeover.

T.K. Hash has apparently been here before, although we don’t remember him. We have a notoriously bad memory, however. He’s good, but a bit florid — our opinion and Randy’s as well. He’s through, however.

Michael Pirelli is madly in love with his guitar, but unfortunately has never seen American Idol before. At least we must assume so, as he had no idea his audition had to be a cappella. He proceeds to fight a meltdown, blasts through “Jumper” (really blasts — we had to turn the volume down), and gets rejected and told to “get a real job and start a band”. We thought he wasn’t that bad, but he does need to quit doing the frat party covers and learn to write his own stuff. It’ll boost his confidence. And hey, he’s only 18… another 9 audition seasons available to him!

Anne Marie is back to finish her audition (and the day, thank God). She’s ditched her jacket and gotten sexed up by a makeup artist. She could be a total sexpot, then sings “Bubbly”… okay then. She’s through to Hollywood, and will hopefully show up a hell of a lot hotter. (Not that there’s anything wrong with the girl-next-door look she was rockin’ before, but… we need a sexpot.)

Simon is just as glad as we are that this city is history. Next up… Salt Lake City (where we are willing to bet they will not be using the Beach Boys song of the same name) and an Osmond relative. Yay.


Taylor Hicks Artist Bio

From Rocket Science client write up.

Alabama’s favorite son continues to be in “The Right Place” since becoming the fifth-season winner of American Idol.  During the last two years, Taylor Hicks has seen his Arista debut album certified platinum, performed with the likes of Earth, Wind & Fire, The Allman Brothers and Willie Nelson, toured through Asia, penned a brisk-selling Random House memoir, and made his Broadway debut in Grease

Currently working on new album, to be released in Spring 2009, Taylor recently released another reflective of his pre-Idol years, Early Works (Vanguard Records), which merges his indie albums In Your Time and Under the Radar into one collection.  Along with his contribution to the forthcoming Warren Haynes Christmas Jam, recorded live in Ashville, North Carolina, his own DVD, Whomp at the Warfield, offers fans exhilarating live performances by Taylor and his band at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco.

For now, he is excited to spend the summer in New York City, performing eight shows a week in Grease at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.  As Teen Angel, singing “Beauty School Dropout” while also showcasing his harmonica skills, Taylor appreciates the opportunity as “a perfect fit for me to experience Broadway theater,” in a musical much-loved for its memorable songs.  The three-month role, which began in June, will wrap in early September 2008 

Taylor was eight when his family moved from his native Birmingham to nearby Hoover and his parents divorced.  Early hardship quickly led him to the warm and tender mercies of soul music.  As a youth he realized he had perfect pitch, and taught himself to play guitar and a blues-wailin’ harmonica.  After graduating high school in 1995, he studied business and journalism at Auburn University and shepherded the release of his first independent album, In Your Time.

Focusing on music full-time, Taylor became a fixture around Birmingham, opening concerts and club dates for visiting stars like James Brown, Tom Petty, Jackson Browne, Robert Randolph, Keb’ Mo’ and others.  He honed his skills and learned to please diverse audiences.  “At some of the beach bars I played over the years, I had to entertain 15-year-olds sitting with their 75-year-old grandparents,” Taylor recalls.  In early 2005, Taylor released his second indie CD, entitled Under the Radar.

His personal twist of fate came in New Orleans, at the wedding of an Auburn friend, the night before Hurricane Katrina hit on August 29, 2005.  With his flight cancelled, he was given a free airplane voucher.  Earlier that summer, he had considered auditioning for AI in Memphis, but the auditions were cancelled as the city became one of hubs of the Katrina relief effort.  Through the summer and fall, however, auditions proceeded in eight cities across the country Taylor eventually used his voucher to travel for a Las Vegas holiday, coincidentally American Idol were auditioning in Vegas during his vacation.

By February, as the fifth season got well underway, two dozen semi-finalists had been chosen. From the start, Taylor’s material set him apart, with such blues and funk-based rockers as the Doobie Brothers’ “Takin’ It to the Streets,” Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away,” Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me,” Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock” and “In the Ghetto,” and Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness.”  By May 12, “Soul Patrol!” fever was everywhere as Taylor was brought to Birmingham for a weekend celebration, a concert in his honor and a personal meeting with Governor Bob Riley, who officially proclaimed Monday, May 16 as “Taylor Hicks Day.”

A lifetime steeped in the blues, soul and R&B of his native Southern heroes – Ray Charles, Otis Redding, James Brown and Sam Cooke, to name a few – culminated in no uncertain terms as Taylor Hicks won the fifth season of American Idol It was an emotionally uplifting night – May 24, 2006 – when 36.4 million viewers tuned in to watch the season finale, the year’s third-largest audience for a televised event after the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards.  More than 63 million votes were cast in crowning a gritty, down-home, white R&B singer the new winner.

Less than three weeks later came the debut of Taylor’s first single, “Do I Make You Proud,” coupled with “Takin’ It to the Streets,” culled from the AI Season 5 Encores CD.  The single entered at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, Pop 100 and Single Sales charts, with first-week sales over 190,000 units.  As with previous AI winners’ singles, a portion of the proceeds from every CD single, download, ringtone and ringback benefited the American Red Cross.  Coinciding with the single release, a cover story named Taylor as People magazine’s Hottest Bachelor of the Year.

His self-titled album, Taylor Hicks (Arista), was released on December 12, 2006.  It debuted in the #2 spot on the Billboard 200 and was quickly certified platinum.  Produced by Grammy winner Matt Serletic (Matchbox Twenty, Santana, Willie Nelson, Courtney Love), the album showcased Taylor’s talents and roots: from the feel-good groove of “The Runaround” to the ballad “Just to Feel That Way” to the bluesy “Heaven Knows” to the earnest “The Right Place,” originally written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance for Ray Charles to record before his death. During the fifth season of AI, in the summer of 2006, Taylor had already recorded his third indie album, Live at the Workplay Theatre, with the Little Memphis Blues Orchestra.

Audiences cheered Taylor during the summer American Idols Live! tour, and he went on to thrill audiences across Asia.  Back in the U.S., Taylor went on the road performing with Willie Nelson, Widespread Panic, The Allman Brothers and Jackson Browne.  Adding publishing to his list of growing accomplishments, Taylor’s memoir, Heart Full of Soul: An Inspirational Memoir About Finding Your Voice and Finding Your Way (Random House), was released in July 2007.  It’s clear that Taylor Hicks continues to find his way to success, at a level that a young boy from Birmingham may not have imagined. 



New CD & DVD Coming Soon!

The Soul Patrol is anxiously awaiting the soon to be released new CD, The Distance. Taylor has been working with some giant names in the music business and is eager to share his latest effort with the world.

Taylor Hicks
January 21, 2009 12:22 PM ET
Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
Former “American Idol” champ Taylor Hicks returns March 10 with a new album, “The Distance,” the follow-up to his lone major-label release.

The album is preceded Jan. 27 by the digital single “What’s Right Is Right” and will be released on Hicks’ own Modern Whomp Records, with distribution from independent artist services company Artist to Market.

Hicks enlisted Eric Clapton producer Simon Climie for “The Distance,” and longtime Clapton collaborators Doyle Bramhall II and Nathan East play on the album. Paul McCartney drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. mans the kit.

Hicks left J following his 2006 self-titled debut for the label, which sold 703,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Here is the track list for “The Distance”:

“Wedding Day Blues,”
“Seven Mile Breakdown,”
“What’s Right Is Right”
“Woman’s Gotta Have It”
“New Found Freedom”
“The Distance”
“I Live on a Battlefield”
“Maybe You Should”
“Once Upon a Lover of Mine”
“Keepin’ It Real”

Taylor also has a DVD coming out in March called Whomp at the Warfield,filmed live in San Francisco at the famed Warfield Theatre. It can be ordered on Amazon.

Taylor Hicks performs a roster of his biggest hits and favorites before an enthusiastic “Soul Patrol” of fans. Mixing R&B, rock and blues into one incredible package, he’ll knock you out with one show-stopping performance after another!

FEATURED SONGS: Gonna Move, Give Me Tonight, Heart and Soul, Just to Feel That Way, My Friend, The Deal, Hold on to Your Love, Wherever I Lay My Hat, Soul Thing, Heaven Knows, The Maze, Right Place, The Runaround, The Fall, Badge, Naked in the Jungle


Louisville, Kentucky 1.21.09

Louisville, 1/21/09

Tight Black T

I had high hopes that Churchill Downs would produce some thoroughbreds. Well . . . I can say that Louisville was significantly better than San Francisco, but I’m just not feeling it this week.

Before I start my review/recap, I’d like to take a moment to talk to all the parents out there. I know ya’ll love your kids and think they’re the greatest – well mine is, but that’s quite another story. Wink But let’s be realistic people, telling your kid they’re a great singer when they clearly are not is not being a good parent – that’s child abuse. Being a good parent is telling your kid the truth and not allowing them to make a fool of themselves on national TV. If someone could forward this to the parents of Tiffany Shedd I’d appreciate it. Thanks.

I’m not even going to talk about the ugly from Louisville because that is starting to wear on my nerves already. Hollywood week can’t come soon enough as far as I’m concerned. I’m just going to touch on singers of interest here.

There was a curious moment when Joanna Pacitti entered the audition – Kara knew that at one point she had been signed to A&M Records. Is this Kara chick that good, or was she prompted? Anyway, Pacitti was good, but a bit hesitant. She had mentioned in her package piece about having lost a lot of confidence in the past year, and it showed. But I think she has the voice to make it to at least the top 24.

Musician Brent Keith Smith will be a big hit with the girls. But while he has a good voice, his song choice and the almost screaming performance kind of turned me off. I do hope he can redeem himself in Hollywood.

Simon thought Matt Giraud, the dueling piano player sounded like Elliott. Matt only wishes he sounded like Elliott. The only similarity was the vibrato. There is something about Elliott’s voice that soothes me, while this guy grated on me a bit.

Alexis Grace, the 21-year-old stay at home mom grabbed me with her big voice. I usually don’t root for female singers, but she’s got me in her corner already.

Four other golden ticket winners, Kris Allen, Felicia Barton, Ryan Johnson and Shera Lawrence got short shrift in the visibility department. They were all lumped together and we didn’t get a feel for who they are or what they can do. Ryan Johnson sang “A Change in Gonna Come,” which seems to have become an AI audition staple since Taylor sang it. Ryan is no Taylor.

Lenesha Young was our pull at your heartstrings story from Louisville. The 18-year-old spent much of her childhood homeless, but has a very strong family. She performed an original song, which never goes over well with the judges. But Lenesha hit it out of the Idol ballpark on every level – this kid has commercial success written all over her. She’s not my cup of tea, but I can already hear that voice on the radio singing the next Beyonce-like song.

Next week, onto Florida, where it looks like they leave Seacrest out in the swamp somewhere. Hmmmm.

Lil’ Dawg

Brent Keith Smith: Puffyheart

Ross Plavsic: Reminded me of some creepy ghost movie . . . the “woohing ghosts . . .”

Alexis Grace: Such a big voice out of such a little girl!!!

Aaron Williamson: Trying to be Taylor with all that wooing. NEVER!

Kris Allen: Mmmmm, I like guys who wear hats like that. Wink

Seacrest’s Hair

We found Louisville slightly more entertaining than San Francisco, thank goodness. That doesn’t mean, however, that the contestants were any better. Diving right in…

Tiffany Shedd looks like the “Leave Britney Alone!” guy from YouTube, and we were distracted by her huge boob mole until she started singing… her voice sounded roughly like that voice-altering thing Cher uses, but without any sense of pitch. Ew.

Joanna Pacitti is lucky from the start, Kara recognizes her from A&M Records, where she was signed several years ago. She’s Carly Smithson 2.0! She’s also good; we found her voice a bit strident but then again she was singing Pat Benatar. Perhaps she can persuade us with a softer sound?

Mark Mudd, Jr. sounds like those old recordings of hillbillies in the National Archives. His family has a history of bad luck, and it’s not stopping here.

Next to walk in is generic “soap opera bad boy with a heart of gold” Brett Keith Smith, who sends Paula and Kara under the table but does absolutely nothing for us. Yawn.

Then we get a montage of losers: a woman who’s gotta be 40, a goat girl, a longhair, a plain ol’ weirdo, and fat Michael Jackson.

Matt Giraud is a dueling piano player that Simon compares to Elliott Yamin. No. He’s just karaoke to us, so that dueling piano player/comedian personality had better show up fast.

Ross Plavsic is pimped for at least two commercial breaks, and looks vaguely like Ashton Kutcher, so we are prepared to be Punk’d. Closer inspection reveals that he looks like Ashton only if Ashton put his head in a vise for a few days. He’s a dedicated nerd, which is nice for him, but despite the… interesting resonance in his voice, he has no sense of pitch and spends too long being rejected.

We get a Golden Ticket montage set to “Shout”, another commercial break, and then Alexis Grace, a little girl with a baby and a military fiance… and a big voice. She’s cute, but as Paula said, needs to “dirty it up” a bit before she gets to H’wood.

Then a yawn montage, after which we’re woken up by Aaron Williamson, another one of those lanky, loud, super-energetic black guys. He yells his song, gets everyone else in the room yelling as well (and Kara is, apparently, testifying), and Seacrest mutters “What the hell?” and heads in to investigate. Yeah, he’s totally not making it through. And his energy disappears almost immediately thereafter!

Rebecca Garcia is a nice girl who gets interviewed by the local Fox affiliate, then comes in with serious pitch and lyric issues… despite having a cheat-sheet on her arm. Kara oopses and accuses her of being a joke contestant. Oh well.

We get a montage of four yeses that don’t stand out for us.

And finally, it’s time for Luh-vlle’s sob story, the formerly homeless, possibly high school dropout (that’s unclear) Leneshe Young, who is a cute, funny, less-precious Paris Bennett with a decent original song that makes Simon see dollar signs. She’s gotta bring it, though, because I think last week’s tornado lady is our sob-story winner thus far.

Us, cynical? Nah…