‘American Idol’ notes: Taylor Hicks, Carrie Underwood, Scotty McCreery

Originally posted Friday, June 21, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

“American Idol” season 5 winner Taylor Hicks loved his time as the lead of “Shenandoah” in April at Serenbe Playhouse. It was a huge challenge and he felt like he was able to use that as a launching pad for a bonafide acting career.

“I have started the process of putting auditions on tape,” he said in a recent interview. “I’ve started auditioning for small roles.”

Hicks compared it to his mindset doing his Las Vegas residency a few years back. “It was just theatrical as opposed to musical,” he said. Once he got past the memorization and grew into his role as the father figure protecting his land in the midst of the Civil War around him, he said he got better.

>>RELATED: My preview of Hicks’ performance at “Shenandoah”

Not that he’s stopping his musical journey. He continues to do spot dates, including an Atlanta City Winery stop July 11. He’ll highlight some of his favorite covers from his “American Idol” season in 2006 as well as cuts from his new yet unreleased album. (Tickets available here for $24 to $32.)

Random “Idol” tidbit: he said some producers on “Idol” tried to convince him at the time to dye his prematurely gray hair when he was just 28. He refused and it became part of his appeal. “I wasn’t going to upset the apple cart,” he said.

Now at age 42, he said he is completely snow white on the head. 

“I started going gray when I realized I was going to be in show business. I went totally white when I had to stay in it,” he cracked. 

On the latest season: Winner “Laine Hardy has the tools to be successful. He needs to stick in his niche and stay in the right avenues. He has the look. [Runner-up] Alejandro Aranda is just really cool with that EDM vibe. For him, it’s about the art.”

On hosting ‘State Plate’: “It’s now available on Amazon Prime. And they’re kicking around a spinoff.”

On his new album: “It’s a roots record. It’s like Zac Brown and Jackson Browne had a baby. It’s be me. It’s like an old Jackson Browne album with Zac Brown nuances and modern touches.” He also gives a nod to Chris Stapleton


A country artist filed a lawsuit against Carrie Underwood accusing her of plagiarizing her NFL "Sunday Night Football" theme song from 2018. 

Heidi Merrill claims in the lawsuit that she approached Underwood’s team about using her song for that “SNF” theme. Underwood passed. 

But Merrill was appalled when she heard what Underwood did end up recording because she felt it was substantially similar to her “Game On” song from 2016.

Compare the two:

"This is a blatant attempt by a celebrity singer to rip off other artists' work and it won’t be tolerated," said Merrill’s attorney Sam P. Israel this week, via CNN. "It's indefensible to steal music created by hard-working songwriters and then broadcast that theft on national television."

There are some similarities but I don’t know the legal threshold for plagiarism. 

<<RELATED: Here are 10 major cases of music plagiarism. 

In related news, the new “Sunday Night Football” show open this fall will be filmed inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Underwood will perform on the field accompanied by NFL stars. The video will debut during the NFL Sunday night opening Sept. 8 between the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

“We’re grateful to NBC for their excellent partnership with our league and thrilled the network chose Mercedes-Benz Stadium as the backdrop for the iconic ‘Sunday Night Football’ opening in 2019,” said Falcons owner Arthur Blank in a press release. “Being the first stadium featured in the lead-in to television’s number one show is another great recognition for MBS, our team and our city that makes us all very proud.”

People magazine also featured a cover story on Underwood where she talked about her miscarriage and being a mom. 
Her current single “Southbound” is at No. 22 on the country airplay chart. 


And look at Diet Dr. Pepper spokesperson Justin Guarini’s latest venture:


Ryan Seacrest was recently caught by nosy photographers kissing an unknown woman in the south of France

He broke up with long-time girlfriend Shayna Taylor in February. 


Scotty McCreery’s current single “In Between” isn’t doing particularly well on the country charts but he did release a single that might help give it a boost:

He has a heavy summer touring schedule. Check it out here


And here is season 7 Brooke White’s country-inflected latest single “Calico.”

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.