Like many, many people in the U.S., last night Earl and I watched “American Idol”, where 12 guys did their best to earn a spot in the final dozen contestants (six girls and six guys). Going into last night’s episode, I wasn’t really sure what to expect of the guys and while there were some really bad performances (Bobby Bennett’s rendition of “Copacabana” was absolutely dreadful), I was thoroughly impressed by four performances. They would be Ace Young’s “Father Figure” (he makes Earl swoon), Chris Daughtry’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” (he gets a “woof”), Elliott Yamin’s “If You Really Love Me” (excellent performance) and my absolute favorite, Taylor Hicks’s “Levon”. While this was not Taylor’s best performance of the show thus far, it was an excellent, entertaining and memorable rendition of the Elton John classic. What I especially enjoyed was Taylor’s banter with the ever-present Ryan Seacrest after the performance. Taylor is absolutely consumed by his passion for music. It is a mighty rare thing to see someone so engulfed by what they love. His body is ever-moving to his own rhythm. He feels joy while he sings and he conveys that to those that he’s performing for. It’s obvious that he loves being in front of an audience. And he’s great at it.

I don’t know if Taylor is going to be the next American Idol. In many ways, he doesn’t fit the image painted by today’s pop music demands. He’s all real, there’s no façade and he’s extremely talented. I would hate to see the pop music machine get it’s hooks into him and try to cookie cutter him into something he’s not.

He’s too good for that.