Q&A with Taylor Hicks

As far as American Idol winners go, Taylor Hicks was one of the most ridiculed, but now the reality TV star has reinvented himself as a theater actor.

You came from out of nowhere to win American Idol four years ago and then you wound up on Broadway. Did you have any kind of acting background?
I never thought in a million years that I would be on a Broadway stage. It was mostly music for me. Now, with the experience of having a musical background, and a live stage performing experience, it’s really successful, it makes perfect sense.

How long are you actually on the stage?
Well, I do "Beauty School Dropout" and the "Megamix." And what’s really cool as a bonus for the audience, a single from my new album.

The reviews for Grease have been pretty good, specifically about your performance. Do you feel a sense of vindication from all the haters in your Idol days?
For every success story, there’s the positive and negative sides, but for me in my career, this is just the beginning. For me, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Obviously, after four years, still exercising the idea of being an entertainer with now the Broadway experience and the records, I’m just trying to build longevity.

Is there an artist, living or dead, whose career path you’d like to mirror?

Elvis Presley comes to mind.

Hmm. Hopefully you’ll live longer.
Yes, hopefully. As far as what he was able to do with music, we have a similar background. Sinatra. Those kind of throwback entertainers are versatile and do film and TV and music, I think music was a wonderful starting point for me. I studied the Van Morrisons and the Bob Segers. I studied what entertainers were.

Why did people hate on you so bad? You were easily the most ridiculed winner.
People in the business try to [long pause]… I think people hope to create a bi polar idea of [long pause]… When you get to the point where you love him or hate him, you’re doing a pretty good job. I take that back. I don’t want you to print that. I need to think of a good answer that kind of reflects what I feel [long pause]… I’d rather talk more about Grease, man, instead…

We can talk about Grease as much as you want. That’s fine with me.
[PUBLICIST INTERRUPTS AND SAYS TO END THE INTERVIEW]
I’m really not worried about people that don’t like me. I’m worried about the people who do.