‘American Idol’ Winner Speaks Out About ‘Very Scary’ Time When He Needed a ‘Bodyguard for Six Months’

by Emily Morgan

When voters named Taylor Hicks the Season 5 winner of “American Idol,” he was riding high. But, sadly, in the wake of his win, he needed to hire a bodyguard for several months during his ascent into fame.

As fans know, that season, Hicks ousted runner-up Katharine McPhee and other memorable Top 10 contestants like Chris Daughtry and Kellie Pickler. He also became unforgettable for his distinctive voice, which fans couldn’t get enough of. However, as it turned out, one fan took it too far.

At the time, the 29-year-old received glowing praise from the show’s original batch of judges: Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Paula Abdul. 

He wowed them and viewers at home with his renditions of “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry to “Jailhouse Rock” by Elvis Presley. Then, in May 2006, America dubbed Hicks the winner and sang the “Idol” favorite “Do I Make You Proud.”

In the following months after his win, Hicks tried to get back to some semblance of everyday life. But he quickly discovered he was no longer just an ordinary guy from Alabama. 

Although much of the newfound attention was friendly, this wasn’t always the case. During a recent interview, Hicks admitted that his “Idol” fame ushered in borderline stalkers, including the paparazzi following him in a helicopter for weeks. 

“I had a bodyguard for six months. It was very intense for me,” Hicks revealed. “It’s very scary when you get let out to pasture, as I like to say.”

Yet, Hicks didn’t let this keep him from making music. By the end of 2006, he released his self-titled debut, featuring the single “Just to Feel That Way.” 

The stinky spot Taylor Hicks rehearsed for ‘American Idol’

Later, he released his sophomore album, The Distance, in 2009. In the years following, he released other hits such as 2017’s “Six Strings and Diamond Rings” and 2021’s “Stars Fell on Alabama.” 

Now, 16 years after his win, Hicks is still performing for his loyal fans. Fans might catch him doing a solo show or singing alongside his fellow “Idol” colleagues like Ruben Studdard. 

Additionally, at the time of Hicks’ “Idol” audition, he had never watched the show. However, while on the show, Hicks remained true to himself and discovered a unique trick to help him during his performances. 

According to Hicks, in between rehearsals for “American Idol,” he’d casually hang out in the bathroom, which he called the “most humidified place” on set. “It was like I had a giant case of diarrhea the whole time, but it was just me trying to keep my voice,” he said in an interview. 

It seems those long hours in the bathroom paid off. Now, over 15 years later, he’s still performing for his loyal fan base.