Luxe Life Blog
Taylor Hicks: ‘I plan to make Las Vegas proud’ with new Bally’s deal
Even when singer Taylor Hicks was at the lowest point of his life stripping and waxing nursing home floors, he never stopped believing that his showbiz break would eventually happen. Even when Taylor’s flight home from New Orleans was canceled because of Hurricane Katrina, he never stopped believing, and instead he used his free flight voucher and traveled to Las Vegas for an “American Idol” audition.
“There was never any doubt in my mind. I was convinced that one day I would make it happen. It never was an if; it was always a when,” he told me as Bally’s today officially confirmed our earlier Vegas DeLuxe reports that he would be re-signing to stay on the Strip.
One of the most beloved “American Idol” winners of all time will now continue to bring the roadhouse to Bally’s with a yearlong extension through 2013 starting Wednesday, Oct. 17. Taylor is the first “American Idol” winner to secure a long-term residency on the Strip and has quickly become one of the most popular acts in the city. It’s an exclusive commitment to Caesars Entertainment, and he’ll perform at other Caesars properties throughout the year with dates and locations to be announced at a later date.
Here’s our conversation:
Robin Leach: This entire Las Vegas experience for you coming here from the South for the first run at Bally’s had to be mixed. Was there fear mixed in with the excitement of your dream finally coming true?
Taylor Hicks: All I worried about was not failing! Being an entertainer in the South, you obviously dream of Los Angeles, New York, but Las Vegas is such a class all on its own. To be a part of history and to be a part of the entertainment folklore as a headliner is an honor.
Whatever the endeavor as an entertainer and every leap of faith in our world, there is a sense of fear and excitement. Think about it -- following in the footsteps of the great entertainers who have gone before in Las Vegas. The fear still hasn’t gone away, but there is really no other place for an entertainer than Las Vegas.
R.L.: Were your audiences what you expected for the first run of shows?
T.H.: After traveling so much and touring as much as I have, you do kind of understand who your fan is, and it didn’t surprise me. You just have to keep cultivating as many different kinds of fans in Las Vegas as you possibly can.
I think first of all you have to create, you have to obviously reinvent yourself as much as possible. You have to be creative in that aspect. I think doing this residency for me has been one of the reinventions, hopefully of many that I’ll have in a career. People who don’t reinvent themselves are the people from such talent reality TV shows that end up with only those 15 minutes of so-called fame. The people who do reinvent themselves end up being a career artist, and that is what I hope that I can be.
I hoped we’d win a renewal and a year’s extension, but getting here I was completely sold on Las Vegas and wanted to do everything to make that happen. I think being as live as an entertainer that I am, this is the perfect place for me. Las Vegas is the perfect outlet for me to be a showman. The reaction has been so great to what we’ve done at Bally’s. I am blessed and honored to hear those things. … I am very happy that it has been this successful so far, and very blessed.
R.L.: Does this give you an opportunity to do more with the Indigo Lounge?
T.H.: From a progression standpoint, yes, it does. Obviously we want to produce the show as much as you can. You definitely have to make sure that everything is as good as it can be. There’ll be new changes once we get the show back up and running, hopefully as soon as possible. I would be lying if I didn’t say I wanted to add some dancers. Why not have some showgirls?!
R.L.: Have you stopped pinching yourself and finally accepted that this all happened and an amazing journey and dream came true? Or do you still marvel at it?
T.H.: This has put me in such an amazing position, and I still pinch myself. I have a pretty rigorous work ethic about my business and what I feel like I was put on Earth to do, and that is to entertain people. I am pretty intense, and I believe in hard work and that opportunity creates the luck.
In this morning’s official statement, Taylor said: “It’s an honor to follow in the footsteps of the legends who have headlined in Las Vegas over the years. I’m thrilled to extend my relationship with Caesars Entertainment so that I can continue to entertain fans not only in Las Vegas but nationwide.”
Bally’s President David Hoenemeyer added: “Taylor was enormously successful in his first headlining engagement here at Bally’s this summer. Locals as well as tourists from around the nation flocked to see him perform on the Strip, and we look forward to continued success here and at some of our other properties.”
Taylor will perform in the Indigo at 7 p.m. Oct. 17-Nov. 12 and Dec. 3-16, with 2013 performances to be announced at a later date. The show will be dark Tuesdays and Fridays. Ticket are $39.99 and $69.99, which includes a meet-and-greet and go on sale Monday, Sept. 24, at 10 a.m.
From the start, Taylor’s material on Season 5 of “American Idol” set him apart, with a unique take on Southern soul, R&B, country and blues. More than 63 million votes were cast and nearly 37 million viewers tuned in to crown him the winner of “American Idol” over Katharine McPhee, making it one of the most watched TV events of the decade. Less than three weeks after the win, his debut single, “Do I Make You Proud,” entered at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, Pop 100 and Single Sales charts. His self-titled album, “Taylor Hicks,” debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 and was quickly certified platinum.
Taylor and I agreed to have his first celebration lunch together when he arrives back here for the new residency. He summed up: “It’s still hard to believe and harder to accept we have come so far so fast with Las Vegas. My promise is to work even harder to make it even more successful and rewarding for the fans. I plan to make Las Vegas proud and will work hard to prove it.”
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.
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