Although Taylor Hicks easily won American Idol 5, he now “faces a more difficult challenge ahead as he tries to make the leap from reality television sensation to established hitmaker,” the AP reports. Among other challenges, their report cites his age, his dancing, and his clothing choices.
There’s also his voice. Grammy award-winning songwriter Devo “Springsteen” Harris says, “I think his personality and his sound is a little bit mature. I just don’t see Taylor Hicks sound right over hard drums or bright production, which I think are prevalent in pop music.” But Clive Davis, who signs the winners, says “He definitely has his own sound. He does have that gift, you know who it is when you hear him.”
In a New York Daily News column, Jim Farber says “[t]he music Hicks specializes in — a boomer-style take on ’60s soul — does not fit current radio’s vogue. Hicks’ sound (let alone his look) has a lot more in common with foggies like Michael McDonald or Michael Bolton than with current favorites like the young romantic James Blunt.”
And in an MSNBC.com essay, Linda Holmes says “there is a lot working against any winner, and it’s not Taylor’s fault that it’s going to be an uphill battle to get back the harmonica-playing, soul-singing, glorified bar-band guy that he was born to be. Unlike several smooth, inoffensive singers who have come before him, Taylor will never sell himself as a fresh-faced upstart rendered wide-eyed and baffled by the great big world of fame.”