Monday, May 01, 2006

Just when I thought I couldn't like Taylor Hicks more...

...out comes the story from Star magazine that he was busted in '98 for possession of reefer. Taylor was still in college back then, and the charges were ultimately dismissed. Nevertheless.

Not only does it make me giggle for him, but the timing of this story being released now just makes me even more suspicious of the AI machine. Certainly the AI producers knew about this, because Taylor had to report it to them, same as Bo had to disclose his cocaine arrest. But why let the media finally get hold of it and try to punk Taylor?

They really, really don't want him to win this thing, do they?

Taylor's an easy target to make fun of with all his ticks and gyrations and such. And, admittedly, he has been inconsistent on the show. But people love him.

One of the criticisms I've heard about Taylor is that he seems so strange and stiff when he's not performing. Strange doesn't bother me in the least. Plenty of performers/artists/writers(cough)/actors are plenty strange. Unless they eat babies or rape puppies I don't think "strange" equals "bad". That said, I have noticed a touch of that strange about Taylor, but it could be wholly attributed to the fact that he's perhaps not comfortable in front of a camera unless he's perfroming. But beyond being maybe, slightly, tightly wound, what I've noticed about Taylor is that he's pretty much inscrutable.

Try as I might, I can't really get a "read" on what he's like offstage. And, frankly, I like that about him. Maybe part of that is because of how the producers have subtly tried to de-pimp him over the course of the show, but maybe part of it is because Taylor truly is most alive when he's performing. He seems fearless up there.

As the weeks tick by on this show, it's a fairly long span to "get to know" the contestants. Granted, I don't think we can ever really know them as human beings, but we formulate opinions about their "character" anyhow. For example, everything I see about my favorite, Elliott, makes me like him more. He's got one of the rare personalities that hasn't revealed any negative cracks for people to seize upon. To the contrary, he gets more likable as time passes, always somehow behaving classy when put in the pressure situations. By contrast, it's those same pressure situations that make Katharine and Paris come off kind of poorly. I don't think it's really fair to judge their personalities based on those few seconds when they're being publicly humiliated, but that's what we do anyhow. "She looked smug" or "she looked bitchy" runs through people's minds and *poof* just like that, they can lose a few thousand votes. So the length of the competition along with how they put these people on the spot really works to bring about negative reactions to lots of them.

I haven't seen Taylor "fuck up" like that in any way. But I also haven't gotten any sense of "him". Maybe it's because he hasn't been in a pressure zone on the live results show yet, so we haven't seen how he'd react to it. But I know he takes Simon's barbs really well. Other than that, here's the sum of what I know of him: I now know he got high in college, and that's not exactly a shock. I know he likes turnip greens and barbeque. I know his one bandmate thinks Taylor is funny. That's all I know.

Well. I know all those things, and from watching him, I also know that he was born to entertain.

That's plenty for me to know, and plenty for me to vote for him -- if I wasn't so gung-ho pushing Elliott already.

I guess I don't really "know" it as a fact yet, but I'm definitely thinking that the machinery at AI doesn't want Taylor entertaining us as the winner of this show. I find that odd, and maybe ungrateful on their part. I mean, the show is aging. And Taylor stood out in his auditions and grabbed a lot of people's attention and kept their asses in the seats. Sure, that still doesn't mean he'll translate into hard sales later, but he's partly, largely, responsible for putting some new life into this season and keeping the ratings high.

Maybe I'm reading things into situations that aren't there, and maybe they're being subtle about Taylor so that we don't get a force-fed, rebellious, knee-jerk, bad reaction to him the way some of us do when something is stuffed down our throats. (Mr. Daughtry) Seriously, like I speculated before, maybe they are trying to build a "surprise" season by letting someone emerge slowly. That wouldn't be Taylor, that'd be Elliott. But by not thrusting Taylor upon me, I'm not getting sick of him, either.

I'm still not fully convinced Taylor wants to be the winner of this thing. But if he does, and if he's been getting dogged as much as it seems he has by the producers, I sincerely hope he holds his shit together this week and brings his A game. I may not be able to know him or read him as a person, but I do know that he IS a person. He's not just a cog in their big machine this year. He's one of the major reasons a lot of viewers kept watching. A cog is made to serve the machine. The show is built (and the contracts are written) so that the contestants serve the AI purpose. A cog can't rebel. But as a person, as a performer, Taylor can go out there and kick ass and get people to pick up their phones and vote for him.

That may not be a rebellion, but it's how he can toss the proverbial, beautiful monkey wrench into the well-worn machinery of this show.


Ellen said...

"For example, everything I see about my favorite, Elliott, makes me like him more.*

Funny, that's exactly how I feel about Susan DiPlacido.

Another smart, insightful AI entry, Susan. Thanks!

SusanD said...

Oh shucks, Ellen.

dennis mahagin said...

Soul Patrol! ;)

Sherry L said...

Great post. I read about the dismissed posession charges weeks ago, I hope no one is trying to bring him down for it now.

Go Taylor!

Elliott is my second favorite. I would love to see them in the top 2.

Don Capone said...

It always shocks me to hear that college kids smoke pot. I mean, what's next—alcohol? Hey, if our prez can smoke dope and do coke, so can our American Idol!

I like Taylor, but I think this is the week he goes. He's a bit of a one-trick pony, and the others are better singers than he is.

SusanD said...

Dennis -- Whoo!

Sherry -- thanks for stopping by! A Taylor and Elliott top two would be the best. The. Best.

Don -- call me crazy, but I tend to think our president isn't bound to the same moral code us mortals are. I'd be scandalized, SCANDALIZED if Taylor left this week. What would be the phone equivalent of Florida's Hanging Chads as an excuse?

Don Capone said...

You're crazy.

The phone equivalent of a hanging chad is if AI puts up the wrong phone #s again, like last year. Paris and Taylor bottom 2 this week.

meep said...

AI is definitely a guilty pleasure, but as I said when I pointed my sister in your blog's direction yesterday, there certainly are an awful lot of smart, interesting and busy people getting WAY into this ridiculous show. It's head scratching. Thanks for being our poster child, and for so eloquently phrasing exactly - and insightfully - how I feel about the whole embarrassing thing.

This is the first season (I’m a viewer since AI3) that I've latched onto one contestant in Hollywood Week and ridden his wave all the way through. My Tuesdays are wrecked. I'm out of my office at quitting time rallying co-workers to vote for Elliott. That’s the mission after a day of reading five forum sites simultaneously (thanks firefox) over coffee in the morning and lunch at my desk in the afternoon. Then again, at dinner at home I’m looking up last minute spoilers and prepping for a Tuesday night of “Where's Meep?” No incoming calls taken after 7. See you this evening? Sorry, that just doesn't work for me. And I have tivo! But nothing's keeping my fingers away from the redial button for two hours. Not even phone sex with my long distance romantic interest. He can hold it till 10:01.

Long live Elliott and, my #2, Taylor. May they pass that monkey wrench like a carefully handled baton.

SusanD said...

Sing it, sister Meep! It's at least comforting to know we're not crazy all alone, right?

meep said...

Only slightly loony (which we know as a good thing), but thinking the gleam of my hipness is getting tarnished. Could an Elliott win make AI cooler, you think? There's just so much cheese to rise above.

SusanD said...

No way an Elliott win could make AI "cooler". It's way too far gone. But it could give it, and the viewers/voters, a touch of credibility. We are lost.