Luxe Life Blog
Taylor Hicks begins eight-week summer run at Bally’s
When “American Idol” Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks takes the stage at Bally’s tonight to start an eight-week summer run, not only does a dream come true for him, but he also becomes the first winner or finalist of the Fox hit to also have a Strip residency. Until now, the kid who purchased his first harmonica for $2 when he was 16 has only played one-night guest gigs here for corporate parties.
Incredibly, it also marks a homecoming, as Las Vegas is where his journey to fame and fortune began. Nearly seven years ago, in August 2005, the deadly and destructive Category-5 Hurricane Katrina -- one of the five deadliest in U.S. history -- roared into Louisiana.
Now 35, Taylor was in New Orleans the night before Katrina, and his flight was canceled. He was given a voucher and eventually used the ticket to travel to Las Vegas for the “American Idol” auditions in October 2005. He went on to win after 63 million votes were cast.
Nearly 37 million viewers tuned in to watch him crowned champion over Katharine McPhee, and, within three weeks, his first single “Do I Make You Proud” debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. People Magazine simultaneously named him Hottest Bachelor of the Year with a cover story, and, at 29, he had become the oldest contestant to win.
Taylor’s take on Southern soul, country, blues and R&B hasn’t slowed. His self-titled album debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 and was quickly certified platinum. His Alabama tornado relief benefit concert raised $2.2 million.
Taylor will play the Indigo at Bally’s five nights a week for eight weeks, and insiders tell me that if Taylor and Bally’s are happy with the results, the run could be extended. He promises some “American Idol” hits and some Las Vegas show tunes for his “Soul Patrol” fans.
Expect many to fly in regularly over the next two months from his hometown of Birmingham, Ala., where he has his own ORE Drink and Dine restaurant voted Best New Restaurant in 2011.
“It’s not every day that a Strip property can announce an ‘American Idol’ winner as the headline act,” said David Hoenemeyer, Bally’s president. “We are very excited to welcome him. Taylor won the hearts of fans across America, and I am sure he will have just as many among our guests.”
Taylor appeared last week on “The Choice” and selected a brunette over blonde Las Vegas beauty Hope McBane. He says that he hopes Las Vegas is the steppingstone for a long, legendary career.
“A residency in Las Vegas is one of those opportunities an entertainer dreams about. Vegas is where Sinatra’s Rat Pack and America’s greatest talents make musical history. To join those ranks is both humbling and thrilling. My goal is to live up to that legacy of live showmanship.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.