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For Every Phillip Phillips, There’s a Taylor Hicks

Scene Writer | Thursday, January 17, 2013


We all remember when “American Idol” was extremely popular, right? We all remember what it was like being in school in 2005, asking each other on Wednesday morning, “Did you see ‘American Idol’ last night?” Heck, even your teacher would take away from the lecture Thursday morning just a bit to allude to and discuss Wednesday night’s results. Everyone believed that becoming an “American Idol” was nothing short of the American dream, what with prominent names like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Clay Aiken.

            Wait a minute, Clay Aiken? As in the runner-up in the second season to “American Idol” winner Ruben Studdard? Now, if you answered “Yes” or “Who’s Ruben Studdard again?” to the previous question, therein lies the interesting predicament with the currently 12-season strong TV show “American Idol.”  And since we are fortunate enough to get to see Phillip Phillips, winner of the eleventh season and best known for the song “Home” live at Legends tomorrow night, it begs the general maxim: for every Phillip Phillips, there’s a Taylor Hicks (who?).

            Yes, unfortunately winning “American Idol” yields wildly inconsistent results and absolutely no reassurance of fame (see: Fantasia Barrino). As a matter of fact, after a quick search of “American Idols: Where Are They Now?” E! Online reports that Hicks starred in a Broadway production of “Grease,” although on the flip side of things “[h]is Snow Patrol fan base largely abandoned him afterward, however: he was dropped from his record label and his follow-up album, on his own label, bombed”.  Studdard, as reported by the same site, was dumped by his record label along with Hicks. Though, in Studdard’s defense, he scored a Grammy nomination and is the fifth-best-selling American Idol winner. Not to mention Mama Malabute always used to tell me that even if Kelly Clarkson seemingly pops up every now and then on the radio, it’s hard to attribute it to much other than the fact that she was the first “American Idol” winner.

            Now no one loves to laugh at hard times or struggles, but it is quite interesting to see exactly how volatile the life of an “American Idol” must be. Because, after all things considered, there have been many largely successful “American Idols” – some not even winners or runners-up.  There are many examples of success, such as the aforementioned Aiken, the runner-up in season two who released a few platinum albums and even took his talents to Broadway. Next was Underwood, winner of season four, arguably one of the most popular country artists in America, and part-time actress, appearing in shows such as “How I Met Your Mother.” Jordin Sparks was the winner of season six and released one of my personal favorite songs, “No Air,” with Chris Brown.  Even an absolutely horrible audition tape by contestant William Hung in season three netted him his fifteen minutes of fame, turning him from a nobody to a somebody, even if he completely mangled Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs”. Finally, there is Phillips, who is coming to Legends this Saturday night and was the winner of the latest season by a record 132 million votes.  He also has the best-selling coronation song “Home” which is largely well-known for its use in the NBC coverage of the 2012 London Olympics.

            Phillip Phillips will be performing live at Legends of Notre Dame on Saturday, Jan. 19at 10:00 p.m