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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Taylor Hicks Takes A " Blue Sky Holiday" !

Being an avid golfer, Taylor Hicks enjoyed a few days in beautiful Palm Springs, California last week playing in the Bob Hope Classic Golf Tournament. Taylor’s Angels’ good friend, Pay the Devil, was fortunate enough to have attended this prestigious event and spent several days observing Taylor and his amazing impact on this Palm Springs community. She graciously offers her unique perspective on Taylor Hicks’ Blue Sky Holiday and shares that “no other celebrity received the amount of admiration and affection from the locals” as Taylor Hicks. Read and enjoy her first hand account, watch her exclusive video and feel the pride that surrounded Taylor last week in sunny California!

If you are a Taylor Hicks supporter/fan then over the last few weeks your Google Alerts inbox has been inundated with snarky comments from television pundits and people that sat too close to the television as children. Most comment on album sales and current television ratings, however many make personal attacks against Mr. Hicks.

I just don’t get it.

I watched every episode of American Idol Season Five. I watched each week in bars, hotels, and pubs across America. I saw it in Boston, Seattle, and Los Angeles. I watched “In the Ghetto” in a small family-owned Vietnamese restaurant in Niagara Falls, Canada.

“Hand to God” as my Pentecostal pastor aunt would say, at every stop Taylor had supporters. They didn’t refer to him by his last name, like some other contestants that season. He was always just “Taylor”.

If you read too many Google Alerts you begin to forget that “Taylor Hicks” is a television phenomenon. (For those of you camping at Area 51, I agree with you. It all can’t be a coincidence.) Taylor Hicks is a lightening rod for discussion and a true pop culture icon.

Consider these facts:
· In the last half hour of the finale of Season Five, 42.9 million people watched Taylor take the prize (Hollywood Reporter).

· The Season Five, 59-date cross-country tour was 2006’s 12th largest in box office gross, pulling in $35.2 million, according to Billboard Boxscore. Nearly 650,000 fans attended, filling 96% of available seats.

While the naysayers would suggest that the other eleven contestants had something to do with these successes, I would just add that the ratings went up after the other contestants left the show and Taylor garnered more air time.

Did I mention I was Taylor Hicks fan?

Needing a blue sky holiday, I headed over to Palm Springs last week to watch Taylor play in the Bob Hope Classic. After being admonished to wear sensible shoes and carry sunscreen, I headed out to links to catch some good golf and to do some serious celebrity watching. I was not disappointed.

Jimmy Fallon, George Lopez, Luke Wilson, Alice Cooper, and Meatloaf were just a few of the celebrities playing in the five-day tournament. While each celebrity team had their own trailing fans, it was Taylor that brought Palm Spring’s wealthiest out of their million dollar condos that lined the courses in hopes of getting an autograph. On the 6th Hole at PGA West, a doyenne of Palm Springs society was hosting a cocktail party on her patio that overlooked the course. When Taylor’s team started to tee-up, she and a server from her own patio party ran to the yellow ropes in hopes of getting a better look at Taylor. Both women, ages 20 and 65 blushed bright red when Taylor came over to the rope and signed their programs. I saw this scene repeated many times. A group of men representing the Ohio State Alumni Organization begged for a photograph and a ten year veteran of the tournament said she had never asked for an autograph before, but she would be honored if Taylor would sign a picture taken from last year. If this happened once or twice, most fans would beam with pride. The fact that there were public displays of adoration at EVERY hole and even afterwards while the golfers were turning in their score cards, was amazing. I was confounded and prideful that seemingly everyone in Palm Springs wanted to adopt Taylor Hicks or at least invite him in to have a drink and dinner. No other celebrity received this amount of admiration and affection from the locals, which are usually jaded (another Hand to Heaven moment). When you are used to seeing Arnold Palmer and US Presidents walking in your backyard, your skin gets a little thick.


So how was he you asked? What struck me immediately was Taylor’s light-hearted affability. He strode across the links like a 12 year-old boy with a pocket full of money headed to the candy store. His loose gait and relaxed demeanor provided a bit of an insight into Taylor away from the stage. He seemed to appreciate the fact that he was playing on some of the best courses in the country. He joked with everyone and was supportive of his other teammates. Gone was the weariness that eight months of touring brings. Unguarded and happy would best describe his disposition.


Cameras are expressly forbidden by the PGA unless you carry press credentials. One tournament marshal told someone standing next to me that she was breaking PGA law by taking a picture. I wanted to shout back, “So write her a PGA ticket”. I made the video below using images which I clandestinely captured, coupled with images that someone took using my camera and others from my friend Ken. Please enjoy the video and I hope you remember to do something today that makes you happy.

“I've always made a total effort, even when the odds seemed entirely against me. I never quit trying; I never felt that I didn't have a chance to win.” Arnold Palmer

Written by Pay the Devil
Published by : Tina Shaddix
Pictures and video by Pay the Devil

Taylor's Angels offers our heartfelt thanks to Pay the Devil for sharing this uplifting account, complete with pictures and video, of Taylor's Blue Sky Holiday! We sincerely hope that you enjoyed her unique and often humerous insight!


RagsQueen said...

Love the clandestined review from a clandestined activity!

c4tay said...

Wonderful article. I'm so happy that he had this golden opportunity to be praised and adored and to have a lot of fun. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

KarinP said...

Wonderful recap of your Palm Springs experience, PTD!

I really enjoyed the video too. The words that really caught my eye were "unguarded and happy". Isn't that something that we all crave from time to time? A well deserved break for Taylor.

Thanks very much for posting the play by play and the video.

Anonymous said...

that was so nice to read, and I agree I don't understand the things I read, cause they just don't compute with what I have seen. Loved the video. thank you so much.

medolark said...

Superb job! Thanks for this glimpse of our guy relaxing. Positive vibes....I appreciate it. Ü

claireb7tx said...

thanks...I needed that!

cochem said...

Thanks PTD and Claudia for the pictures/video and your perspective...Just because the media didn't "cover" Taylor as much this year as opposed to last year doesn't mean that the "average public" doesn't know who he is...I'm glad he was loved in Palm Springs...and I'm glad we have Taylor Hicks fans like you to bring back news/pix/vids to the fan boards...

Sallyannlady said...

When I read some of the "Google Alerts" I get, I can't understand how people can write those things about Taylor. They need to see him in a setting like this. It was a great recap, and wonderful to see him just out enjoying himself. I loved the idea of people coming out of their homes to see him. Great video too- thanks for posting it...who sang the song, by the way?

Jax said...

Thank you PTD.


Very nice to read good news about Taylor. I hope he had a blast.

PBoyers said...

Thank you PTD & Claudia. That was a wonderful surprise for me. I admit that sometimes I do get a little brow-beaten by all the personal attacks on Taylor. I don't get it either. He is such a sweetheart and a great artist. He always has a smile for his adoring fans, he helps children and he can sing his soul out and make grown men and women - kids and teens - weak in the knees.

I'll never forget his plea during his AI audition: "Give me a chance - give me a chance!" I wish that the PTB in the press and music industry would just do that. This is the beginning of his career and I am confident that over the long haul the sleeping masses will wake-up to the siren that is Taylor Hicks.

The video you made of the stills and video clips was 3 minutes of pure bliss coupled with that song!!!! That says it all.

Your words warmed me in a way I can't quite express - thank you - thank you - thank you. This makes me very happy!

tishlp said...

That made my day :)

shelovesmodernwhomp said...

Thanks so much to Pay the Devil for this! I really enjoyed it. It is good to hear how popular and well received Taylor is. So many people don't realize that with all the negative publicity out there. I am glad to see him happy and enjoying himself. Can't wait to see what he has in store for us on his new CD and upcoming tour!

DidNotExpectThat said...

It was great to have you as the "embedded" reporter for the Soul Patrol! We caught a glimpse of him that we would not have otherwise had the opportunity. Thanks so much for sharing that Taylor is happy and relaxed...and adored by the elite in Palm Springs! The video is fantastic as always. On behalf of every fan of Taylor, I send you a huge "Thanks You", PTD!

AH said...

Thank you PtDfor your great report - and to everyone who helped bring it to us. Nice to know that others are seeing what we see about Taylor.
And maybe the crowd reaction to him and the gossip columnist's piece illustrates that the percentage of people affected by entertainment gossip is in reality pretty low. Wonder how many of us ever watched shows like ET or even knew the names of the magazines just 2 years ago ?
Seems like "It's all good."

sisymay said...

Thanks so much for this, it just confirms my perception of Taylor which is just a good ol boy, very nice!
I don't really know if there is a 'conspiracy' about why there is so much negativity in the media about Taylor. But to me, this is the only logical explaination.

I really believe that TPTB of AI DID pay off the media to write everything about Taylor to be negative.
If you notice, all of the reports and such that DO portray Taylor in a positive light are from small sources and probably got overlooked by AI's people.
I don't know any of these things for a fact, but I can't help but wonder.
Taylor has truly been thru some horrible things in this respect and it makes me love him that much more for still being the nice person he is.
I just not could have handled it.

makeitdo said...

Thank you so much for sharing the pics & video with us, but most of all for letting us know that Taylor was happy and having fun. It is nice to know he was so well received in Palm Springs. Treated like the shining star that he is.

DJinKC said...

Thanks for the Soul Patrol report of the happenings at the BHCC!! Loved listening to and watching the video!!
Taylor’s happy, I’m happy, we’re all happy!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for being who you are PTD. You appreciate and support this man in the best way. This is such a positive strike on his side. Way to go!

Teri :)

justwatchin said...

Tks PTD...that was great you got a little video and pieced together the photo video (tks to Claudia as well)...Glad to hear Taylor had supporters there (I was supposed to go, but could not at the last minute). So,

Thanks a bunch for sharing with those of us less fortunate!!!

Taylor's Angels said...

PTD!! That was fabulous to hear!!! Thank you for reminding us just how successful his tour was last year, too.
As for the golf tournament, you were so fortunate to be there and witness how everyone treated him! I'm so glad to hear this!
Thank you for your wonderful insights and thank you for the fabulous video and pictures!