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Taylor Hicks, American Idol, and the Weather Forecast

During a May 2010 visit to Cleveland’s FOX 8 News Taylor Hicks was invited to deliver the weather report.  His charming take on the forecast was a hit, and Taylor subsequently joked “When you’re a musician, you always have to think of a back-up plan; who knows…”.

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Let me say upfront that Taylor Hicks will never be your local weatherman, and later I’ll make clear why that back-up plan is not an option.

On the other hand, I do believe that future American Idol hopefuls should consider a stint as a weatherman before standing in the audition queue.  Let me explain.

1) Learn to manage unreasonable fan/media expectations

We’re rarely satisfied with the weather report.  The accuracy is limited, and the farther into the future the weather is predicted, the less likely the forecast will hold true.  One recent article suggested that we hold the weatherman accountable for his/her reports.  Run a comparison in the newspaper or on TV, says the writer, between the previous week’s forecasts and what actually happened.  Give the weatherman a grade.*

A good start, I think, but go further.  Run that comparison, and then consider the accuracy of forecasters in Cleveland versus those in Birmingham, or in Boston.  No matter that the complexity and uncertainty of the weather patterns in those cities may vary.  It doesn’t really matter whether the comparison is fair or appropriate.  I just want the numbers, and I want to report them over and over again.

In this way the aspiring American Idol contestant will be well prepared for unreasonable fan/media expectations, and for newspaper reports that focus on inapt comparisons of units sold, rather than on artistic merit.

2) Practice and perfect vocal performance skills on television

Here is an opportunity for Idol contestants to practice in front of a camera, to acclimate themselves to the glare of the lights and to deliver a memorable performance to the home television audience.  Don’t speak the weather report – sing, or beatbox, or rap it.

3) Establish your own brand

Shifts in the music industry mean that relatively few artists will be able to sustain a career solely based on album and concert ticket sales.  Many Idol alumni have found opportunities on Broadway (Taylor Hicks and Jordin Sparks among others) and in the movies (Jennifer Hudson and Carrie Underwood).  Use the weather report to brand yourself as a multifaceted entertainer; develop your acting, dancing and/or comedic talents.

The weather report could offer a platform to American Idol candidates who need to refine their entertainment skills while building confidence in front of a camera.  For experienced entertainers, that platform isn’t wide or long enough.

During his 2007 post Idol national concert tour, Taylor Hicks celebrated the fact that he was no longer limited to “two minutes of performance time” or interrupted by television commercials.  Take a good look at the length of the televised weather reports shown above.  Yes.  They’re just about two minutes in length.  The average length of a single Taylor Hicks song, performed live in concert?  Oh, I’d say about six minutes.

On any given concert night, several of the songs performed are presented jam band style as the Taylor Hicks band mixes songs within songs.  That simply does not work when delivering the weather report; mixing rain in Birmingham and snow in Boston would produce slush in Washington, or at least a good deal of confusion.

Finally, Taylor does not have the time to devote to satellite weather maps, not while his fans await a new album, and anticipate appearances on screens both big and small.  So I say, and I’ll say it twice, stick to your day job, Taylor Hicks.  Stick to your day job.

 Taylor Hicks Helps Scott with the Weather, posted with vodpod

*Fiction, Fact and the weatherman

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Louise #

    Thanks for the great memories! Taylor did a great job with the weather map and clicker. And living in weather obsessed NJ, I would watch Taylor do the weather any old time.

    Thanks for a funny read!

    December 1, 2010
  2. tishtx #

    I’m with Louise, I would watch Taylor do the weather any day…..but Mickey Ferguson really cracked me up! I agree with you, Taylor won’t be doing the weather anytime soon.

    December 1, 2010
  3. I think you meant to say, “Taylor, keep your night job”, but I won’t split hairs. 🙂 This was a terrific article; kudos to THN for publishing this.

    Fame in the entertainment industry does not come easily, but when it does come knocking, it is often fickle. Only those artists who are as focused, dedicated, genuine, business-savvy, and of course, as talented as Taylor Hicks have a shot at surviving and thriving in this industry — as Taylor himself has done and will continue to do.

    December 1, 2010
    • Thank you, kaitlin45. We stand corrected. It is his night job (or is that his early morning job?) that Taylor needs to keep. Very funny!

      December 1, 2010
  4. NolaMar #

    LOL! Thanks for wake up smiles. Love the Mickey Ferguson style of weather reporting! Haha! Cute article. I,too, don’t think Taylor will ever need to “fall back” on any other job. 🙂

    December 1, 2010
    • No, he won’t be “falling back”. Think he’ll “spring forward” to some new and different opportunities, though!
      Thanks for your comment.

      December 1, 2010
  5. juliegr #

    Taylor (as is the case with most men) doesn’t want to give up control of the “clicker”! 😀 Good work on a standup unrehearsed appearance! How handsome he looked !!

    December 1, 2010
  6. carole #

    aww so sweet. Taylor can do anything. He is so cute, he could just stand there.

    December 1, 2010
    • Then you will enjoy the “Celebrating 2011 with Taylor Hicks” calendar. I don’t think he moves at all.

      December 1, 2010
  7. Remember when he did the weather way back when…I think it was right after his win? That was pretty funny.

    Thanks for sharing this with us! You make some good points. LOL!

    December 1, 2010

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