May 24, 2006 09:08 PM by Joe Blackmon
The State of Alabama would not be denied again. After watching Bo Bice lose out to Carrie Underwood in American Idol 4, Alabama came back with a vengeance. Alabama first struck Idol gold with Ruben Studdard in American Idol 2, and with Taylor Hicks win of American Idol 5, Alabama can now lay claim to the statistic that 40% of all American Idol winners are from Alabama.
During the opening segments of the American Idol finale, Ryan Seacrest visited via video conferencing celebrations for the two American Idol finalists. In Birmingham, Alabama, it appeared as if the entire state turned out, even the children, many of whom were clad in Taylor Hicks’ gray hair wigs.
Before Seacrest got around to announcing the winner, a bevy of stars appeared to perform with the American Idol top twelve finalists. For his duet, Taylor Hicks peformed "In The Ghetto" with Toni Braxton. Perhaps, the biggest surprise star appearance of the evening though was Prince, who appeared to give a performance shortly before the results were announced.
While Taylor Hicks was often the target of the sharp tongue of British judge Simon Cowell, he quickly became a fan favorite. After his performances, Taylor Hicks would often cock his head and yell out “Soul Patrol” in tribute to his legion of fans, who helped keep him safe from elimination throughout the entire competition. And as Ryan Seacrest spoke the words “The winner of American Idol season five is Taylor Hicks,” it was only fitting that the first official words out of Taylor’s lips were a shout out to his “Soul Patrol.”