Untrained American Idol Winner Taylor Hicks Proves Raw Talent Can Beat Competitor's Conservatory Training

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Idol loser Katherine McPhee admits to 'overthinking everything' that comes with extensive performance training. Meanwhile, Hicks -- who never had a music lesson in his life, but has been performing for the last ten years -- wins.

Taylor Hicks, newly named this season’s American Idol, is a 29-year-old college drop-out who has never taken a music lesson in his life. A fan website quotes his grandmother, Joni Hicks, as saying Taylor came running up to her at age twelve, yelling ‘Grandma, you’ve got to hear this,” then singing Otis Redding’s, ‘Try a Little Tenderness’. His father remembers a similar incident with a harmonica about the same age.

Taylor, who is 29, has been playing in front of audiences since college, hitting the ‘chitlin circuit’ and the Florida panhandle primarily, with his own Taylor Hicks band. Hicks has also played venues such as The Playboy Mansion.

This season’s Idol Finale loser, Katherine McPhee, is an LA native and she’s all about training. She did three semesters at the elite musical theater program of Boston Conservatory, and has studied extensively at the knee of her mother, Peisha McPhee, a vocal coach. McPhee’s professional experience is limited to leads in two musicals in the LA area, as well as a TV pilot and an independent film.

McPhee admitted in an msn.com interview that professional training can be overrated. She said, “.. if I start getting advice from other vocal coaches, whether it be my mother or a friend, then I overthink everything instead of going out there and being me,” she said.

Creativity expert and author Suzanne Falter-Barns, whose website, http://www.howmuchjoy.com coaches aspiring artists how to live their dreams, agrees. She attributes Hicks’ triumph over McPhee to his extensive performing experience.

“There’s no substitute for being in the trenches, actually performing. You can train and study all you want, but until you’re in the moment with an audience, learning how to build that relationship with your songs, you’ll never grow as a performer.”

America voted and the vote went to the seasoned pro.

For immediate information or interview, please contact

Suzanne Falter-Barns

For immediate information or interview, please contact

Suzanne Falter-Barns

518 963-8927

518 569-6649 (cell)


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