Radio and TV Talk

Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

Life after 'American Idol': Taylor Hicks interview (City Winery 4/8) & ticket giveaway, 'Idol' return delayed

This was posted Wednesday, April 5, 2017 by Rodney Ho/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Taylor Hicks won the most popular season of "American Idol," the prematurely gray "Soul Patrol" singer who brought Elvis hip swiveling action and a melding of Michael McDonald and Ray Charles vocal swagger.

Since then, he has played Teen Angel on a national tour with "Grease" and spent 18 months in Las Vegas doing a residency at Bally's and Paris. He is now hosting a TV show on INSP channel called "State Plate" where he visits a different state each episode and spends time learning about iconic foods from that state. In Georgia season one, for instance, he samples boiled peanuts and shrimp, Vidalia onions, grits and pecan pie with peach ice cream.

"The plan is to do all 50 states, then if the show lasts longer, revisit some states," he said in a recent interview. He is currently shooting season two. He likens the show to a merger of "Dirty Jobs" and "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives."

"This is something I've really enjoyed," Hicks said. "I am glad I'm learning how to host a TV show. It's a food and travel show. The food comes easy but so does the travel. I've been traveling ever since 'Idol.'  It's another piece of the puzzle that keeps people interested."

He is currently on tour and coming to Atlanta Saturday April 8 at the City Winery at Ponce City Market. Tickets available here for $26 to $34.

If you'd like to go for free, City Winery is offering TWO pairs of tickets to give away. Please email me at by 3 p.m. Thursday if you'd like a pair. I will pick two winners randomly from all entries. Please place in your subject title: "Taylor Hicks ticket giveaway."Only those who type that in will qualify. Include your name and phone contact in the body. You just have to show up Saturday to City Winery and your names will be at will call. 

Thanks to all his touring, he has visited 49 of the 50 states already. The only state he has never performed in is Alaska.

Hicks fashions himself a foodie. "I'm from the South," he said. "How can I not be?" He has co-owned a restaurant for several years, Saw's Juke Joint in Birmingham, a barbecue and blues eatery.

"It's smart to reinvent yourself as much as you can," Hicks added. "The music will always be there." He plans to release new music this fall, using Zac Brown's Southern Ground studios in Nashville, where Hicks resides.

"Zac Brown is one of those musicians like me," Hicks said. "We played in the same places. We kind of new the same folks. We're kind of the same age. He's a true artist and true musician."

His current music, he said, is "as if Zac Brown and Jackson Browne had a kid. That's be me. It's an old school Southern soul kind of vibe."

Hicks never sold a huge number of CDs back in the mid-2000s when people still purchased CDs. But that matters less now. "Now it's about gaining new fans and working hard and staying out there, staying true to your art," Hicks said. That means touring and getting on TV.

Last year, he did 200 concerts, some public, some private and corporate, some charity. He'll do Van Morrison and Joe Cocker covers for companies such as Conoco and Minolta. He has played at multiple City Winery venues across the country. "I love wine," he said. "I'm not a wino." His favorite: Caymus red wine.

He isn't close to Katharine McPhee, who now stars on "Scorpion" but he has enjoyed the show. Small world: one of his guitarist's sons plays McPhee's character's son on the show. He one time helped Chris Daughtry book a corporate gig. "We'll throw each other gigs every now and then," he said.


Taylor Hicks

8 p.m. Saturday, April 8


City Winery

Ponce City Market, 650 North Avenue NE #201, Atlanta

Buy tickets here


HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 7: Judge Ryan Seacrest (L) announces American Idol Season 15 winner Trent Harmon (R) with runner-up La'Porsha Renae, onstage at FOX's American Idol Season 15 Finale on April 7, 2016 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ryan Seacrest; La'Porsha Renae; Trent Harmon

TMZ reports fighting between the two owners of "American Idol" scuttled a deal that could have re-booted "American Idol" as early as the summer of 2018.

Core and Fremantle couldn't agree on a proper counteroffer from NBC and Fox. Fremantle was pressuring Core to take the NBC deal since it also owns "America's Got Talent." Core felt Fremantle had a conflict of interest, TMZ reported.

My guess is we'll have to wait til next year to see if anything new bubbles up on the "Idol" resurrection front.


Chart update

Lauren Alaina still has a shot at her first No. 1 country song with "Road Less Traveled." Mediabase 24/7's daily tracker has her just 200 spins behind new No. 1 Luke Bryan's "Fast" over the preceding seven days. Her song is on an upward track while Bryan is losing steam so she has a shot. One problem: Jason Aldean's 'Any Ol' Barstool" is only 279 spins behind Alaina and it's rising quicker. (Jon Pardi slipped from 1 to 4 with "Dirt on My Boots.")

Trent Harmon's "There's a Girl" peaked at 16 but holds at 18 for a second week.

Keith Urban's duet with Carrie Underwood "The Fighter" is climbing steadily, now up to No. 19.

La'Porsha Renae holds at No. 9 on the urban AC chart with "Good Woman."

Fantasia's "When I Met You" falls to No. 24 after peaking at 20 on the urban AC chart.

Again, four "Idol" finalists are in the top 20 on the Christian AC top 20 chart:

Danny Gokey's former No. 1 "Rise" is now at No. 2 on the Christian AC chart. He announced on "Harry" that his wife is pregnant with their third child.

Jasmine Murray edges up from 12 to 11 with "Fearless" on the same chart.

Mandisa with "Unfinished" is right behind her at No. 12.

Colton Dixon holds at No. 19 with "All That Matters."


Trent Harmon sang the National Anthem  at the Arizona Diamondbacks opening game:


Amusing Clay Aiken tweet of the week:


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About the Author

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

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