Deal with devil means puppies for dinner and Taylor in Tampa

By Rick Gershman
Published February 16, 2007

I need to warn the receptionist. I need to warn the mail carrier.

And I'll really need to make room in my e-mail inbox.

Because the moment we've all been waiting for finally arrived:

It's Taylor Hicks vs. the Navigator.

[OMG, u have an inflated ego, like any1 knows or cares who u r, stupid reporter, barf!]

Granted, not all the hate mail I'll receive - and there will be a lot of it - will read that way. I'll get some in complete sentences:

[Mr. Gershman, you're not half as talented or handsome as Taylor. May you choke to death on a large piece of metal. Like my Kia Sephia.]

Last season's American Idol winner plays a sold-out Tampa Theatre on Thursday. For poking fun, I'll receive the sort of criticism I have in the past. I'll be called moronic, ugly, fat, tone-deaf and useless. Which I honestly feel went too far, Mom.

With the Internet, rabid fans know everything that's written about their idols in seconds. Some don't handle that well.

Consider my buddy Alexandra Zayas, who wrote an article in August that called 5-foot-6 Idol contestant Elliott Yamin a "leprechaun-looking heartthrob." The e-mails poured in fast and (decidedly) furious.

One e-mailer called her story "disgusting." Another told Alex, "I can only hope that you are extraordinarily beautiful and have no flaws of your own."

Which might have worked if Alex wasn't actually quite beautiful, and certainly a whole lot hotter than Elliott Yamin. (No offense, Lucky Charmer.)

I still can't fathom that this guy won American Idol. No one could find a single performer with the potential to be a true musical sensation?

I mean, what were those judges drinki - oh, sorry. Never mind, Paula.

The person we crowned Idol is a solid-but-unspectactular crooner who needed two attempts to kick over a flimsy microphone stand.

And really, Hicks looks a lot like a younger version of my Uncle Charlie, who sells cars. Well, they'd look alike if Charlie adhered to a strict diet of Ding Dongs, Funyuns and puppies.


Oh, come on. If you sell your soul to the devil, as Hicks obviously has, you'll have to prove your servitude by eating at least a puppy or two.

(By the way, go to YouTube.com and search for "Taylor Hicks Mic Stand." It makes puppy eating look attractive by comparison.)

To be fair, Hicks seems like a very nice, humble, hardworking guy. The single Do I Make You Proud has done well, and allmusic.com gave his self-titled debut album four stars.

Honestly, though, I'm not impressed with his singing ability. Neither is my editor, who practically demanded I note that in this column. (Then again, she's built a Chris Daughtry shrine out of gingerbread, so I'm not sure she's entirely objective.)

Still, Hicks probably will carve out a decent little career for himself. But I don't see him ever becoming a superstar. And I'll eat my words (and a newborn Schnauzer) if I'm wrong.

Really, this isn't Hicks' fault. It's our fault for celebrating a cheesy contest that prizes popularity over potential. And I hate how it kicks off every season by relishing Simon Cowell's cruelty toward contestants.

[but u said taylor eats puppies! that's hurtful too!]

It's not the same. First, I'm joking. Second, on the off chance that Hicks even sees these words, I don't foresee them prompting him to spiral down into a deep, dark hole of depression.

But if I'm wrong ... hey, at least he'll suddenly become a lot more interesting.

[That's horrible!]

That's Hollywood.

Rick Gershman can be reached at rgershman@sptimes.com or 226-3431. His Times blog, the Ill Literate, is at www.sptimes.com/blogs/tampaarts/.


. if you must go

Taylor Hicks

Plays Tampa Theatre on Thursday at 8 p.m. The show is sold out.