Friday, August 31, 2012

Taylor Hicks Rockin' the RNC, Keeping the Slate Clean

Taylor Hicks is an entertainer first and foremost. He said so again this week after his memorable performance at the Republican National Convention in Tampa Thursday night.

He told HuffPost Celebrity:

“I’m an entertainer; that’s what I was invited to do. Seeing everyone being excited about the American political process is great. I’d go to the Democratic National Convention too if I was invited.”

It was a busy and, undoubtedly exciting, week closing his summer run at Bally’s in Las Vegas on Saturday night, then opening a week’s run at Harrah’s in Reno on Tuesday night, traveling to Tampa and performing “Takin’ It ToThe Streets” just before Clint Eastwood’s appearance and Republican Presidential Candidate, Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech.

At first, it was assumed to be an endorsement. Then Taylor Hicks declined to make it that and opened an interesting concept of celebrating the American political process while holding close his vote.

Isn’t that the way it is. We are all alone in the voting booth. It is the place where we voice our ultimate choice, made with soul searching, trying to gather facts, separating the important and not so, and looking at our own values.

But can a celebrity only entertain?

The Season Five American Idol told Fox and Friends Friday morning that his job was to “light some sparks” at the RNC and again sidestepped a question of support for the candidates. He said he was “keeping his vote” and “If you don’t like what you see, use your vote to change it.”

That’s the way it is. We all have a vote.

I respect Taylor Hicks’ decision to celebrate the importance of the event. He sincerely expressed how honored he was to be a part of it.  He’s alone in the voting booth just like the rest of us.

His job is to entertain. As Americans with precious freedoms, it is our job to be informed, make the best decisions based on what we believe, and vote.

I think that’s what he has been saying. He chooses not to use his celebrity to endorse political candidates or try to influence our decisions.

It begs the question is a celebrity a rightful spokesperson for political views and persuasion? Now, they absolutely have the same freedoms we do to speak their minds and work for whomever they choose, and Taylor Hicks may choose to at another time. And we choose where we gather our information and who influences our decisions.

While I respect many celebrities as great people and Americans, I choose not to be influenced by their endorsements.

While celebrating the political process from which we all choose our leaders, Taylor Hicks kept the slate clean.

I think he deserves our respect and admiration for doing what he does best—entertaining.

Here is his performance at the RNC captured by PBS: 

Speaking of entertaining, he is back in Reno, NV tonight at Sammy’s Showroom in Harrah’s doing what he does best! If you think he rocked the RNC, wait until you see him and his band on stage for 90 minutes. He appears through the weekend with two shows Saturday night and shows Sunday and Monday nights.

For tickets and information:

“Taylor Hicks On Performing at the RNC, Taking Risks”

Fox and Friends:

Photo Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP via People Magazine: Taylor Hicks' sound check before RNC performance 8.29.2012. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Taylor Hicks and The Vegas Gig: The Unexpected~That's Life!

The Vegas Gig turned up an unexpected gem!

Here’s the back story:

When Taylor Hicks won American Idol a wonderful group of fans gathered on fan boards across the internet. Many talented ones made beautiful montages with music in the background and photos of Taylor and his journey.

One of these was made by talented Canadian fan, KarinP who also did the much viewed “Nineteen,” with the amazing graphic contributions of a long-time fan, Allyn from Georgia.

When Karin read our Vegas blog, she sent me a montage she created in April, 2008 called “That’s Life.”

Yes, a Taylor Hicks montage called, “That’s Life!”  Taylor now sings “That’s Life” in his headlining show at Bally’s in Las Vegas; Karin features Michael Buble’s version as background for a beautiful collection of vintage Taylor Hicks photos from those years.

“At the time I did that video, I was feeling really bad for Taylor with respect to some unkind press. Taylor has always done it "his way" and sometimes that can make the road a less than ideal ride. It was just something I felt that I wanted to put out there because I knew that he would weather the storm and come out smelling like a rose. I think there is a lot more in that ‘little engine that could’ and I am excited to hear what his new album is going to sound like.”

Early 2008 saw Taylor joining a host of the famous for the NBA Playoffs Celebrity Basketball Game in New Orleans in February. He was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in March. And there was the charity event outside Birmingham for Hannah’s House and a seemingly unusual choice on the setlist: “On Broadway.”

Two months after “That’s Life” was created, Taylor was landing on the New York stage from a giant ice cream cone and his picture was on a five-story billboard outside in Times Square. He was starring as Teen Angel in “Grease” on Broadway and would take it on the road for 18 months for a very successful national tour!

He opened on Broadway…in June!

Here’s the Vegas back story:

Both Karin and Allyn were supposed to be in Las Vegas for our weekend in July. I was looking forward to Taylor’s meeting the creators of “19,” “West Texas Sky,” “Trip Around the Sun” and other beautiful visuals. I didn't yet know about "That's Life!"  But it turned out that neither of them could make it. They had both seen Taylor in concert and knew what a show it would be. Karin reminded me that she had run into him in Niagara-on-the-Lake at the Dan Aykroyd Niagara Wine Auction in June, 2007 and welcomed him to Canada!

I wish they could have come to Las Vegas where Taylor opened in the Indigo Lounge at Bally's ... June!

It would have been very fitting for them to see “That’s Life” done Taylor’s way!

That is life…charming with its twists and turns, both disappointing and exhilarating, and mindful that picking ourselves up is just a part of it…

And that you really can be “back on top”…in June!

Just like the song says…

We are pleased to share this endearing montage from KarinP, Allyn, and a host of fans who contributed to it.

From KarinP (@Magnoliabreezes): “That’s Life,” April, 2008


Quote from Karin is shared with her permission.

We proudly showcase Allyn’s banners and graphics on TTHC including her special “Vegas” above!