Taylor Hicks wins American Idol 5

Taylor Hicks has won American Idol 5, becoming the second male to claim the title, and at 29, the oldest.

The results may have been predictable, but even just three weeks ago, Chris Daughtry seemed to have the whole thing wrapped up, and during the auditions, Taylor seemed like he would make an early exit. Then again, no one really thought Katharine would make it this far, either. After making it to the final two, Katharine didn’t walk away a loser; she received a Ford Mustang, although Taylor got one too.

Tuesday night, 63.4 million votes were cast, which Ryan Seacrest annoyingly said is “more than any president in the history of our country has received.” Um, assclown, you can’t vote 470 times in a presidential election (unless you live in Florida, of course). Will this fallacious comparison never die?

Perhaps not, just as American Idol will never air an efficient results show. The pointless delaying got so bad that even Coke commercials were telling the show to stop with the bullshit: “Now tell us the winner, Seacrest,” a message on a Coke commercial said. Just before then, Ryan tried to fake everyone out, even though there were still 15 minutes left, saying, “that does it for all of the guest stars tonight, no more surprises.”

The surprise was Prince, who finally showed up after earlier refusing to appear because he’d have to talk to the contestants. Clay Aiken also appeared, showing off his scary new hair which was both plastered to his forehead and hanging in front of his eyes. More awkward, however, was the way he surprised and delighted Michael Sandecki (the self-described “new Clay Aiken” who had to go to the bathroom during his initial audition), who moments earlier Ryan Seacrest had asked to sing. Clay interrupted Michael’s horrific performance and Sandecki basically became so giddy to see his idol that producers cut his mic and Ryan Seacrest made him sit down. Apparently they couldn’t just let Clay sing on his own.

Before that odd duet, we witnessed a bunch of other duets: Paris Bennett with Al Jarreau, Chris Daughtry with Live, Katharine McPhee with Meat Loaf, Elliott Yamin with Mary J. Blige, Taylor Hicks with Toni Braxton, Clay Aiken with Michael Sandecki (one of the rejected auditioners), the entire top 12 with Dionne Warwick), and Taylor and Katharine together. Carrie Underwood also performed, and there were a bunch of group numbers, most of which featured a big teleprompter in the audience, which undoubtedly made Bucky happy.

Because I was bored, I counted the time-wasting minutes that weren’t musical performances, and they totaled almost 30 minutes. High/lowlights:

  • 1:30 on video packages of the judges’ finer/drunker moments
  • 4:30 on a segment called “Puck ‘n’ Pickler,” where Wolfgang Puck introduced Kellie Pickler to new foods and she introduced him to the concept of losing his dignity
  • :45 on yet another Ford-whoring ad
  • 15:00+ on the “Golden Idols,” faux awards that featured everything from a performance by the “Brokenote Cowboys” to an awards for and appearances by the most annoying people from the auditions

Alas, the season is now officially over; roughly 34 weeks to go until American Idol 6.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.