Taylor Hicks Wins American Idol

Birmingham, Alabama’s Taylor Hicks has won the fifth “American Idol” competition. He joins Rueben Studdard as 205 area code winners.

Finalists Katharine McPhee, left, and Taylor Hicks, celebrate after they each were given a new car during the season finale of American Idol on Wednesday, May 24, 2006 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian) A couple of amazing stats:

  • More than 63 million votes were cast, “more than any president in the history of our country has received.”
  • This edition of “American Idol” was the most-watched yet. Compared to last year, the show was up 14 percent in total viewers with an average weekly audience of 30.3 million — impressive growth for an established program.

I watched several episodes of the 2nd season, which pitted Studdard against Clay Aiken, because it was on at the gym at the townhouse complex where I was living at the time on my workout nights. Otherwise, I’ve totally missed this phenomenon. That it’s still getting more popular five years into its run is impressive indeed.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. arky says:

    {More than 63 million votes were cast, â??more than any president in the history of our country has received.â?? }

    Of course, in most districts, you can’t vote more than once (per election) for president. And you have to be 18 years old.

    Methinks the underage vote was significant.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Fair points both.

  3. Fersboo says:

    More than 63 million votes were cast, �more than any president in the history of our country has received.�

    Next on FOX, ‘American President’, watch them play the sax, answer questions about their preference for boxers or briefs and debate about gay rights, ANWR and national security. You decide who will be the next President.

  4. Al Gore says:

    Of course in a “perfect” world the President would be elected in this manner, and the time period wouldn’t end after 4 hours, but would be extended until the Democratic candidate had a substantial lead.

  5. Rodney Dill says:

    Ok, so Al Gore didn’t really enter that last post.
    Nyuk Nyuk.

  6. Just a minor quibble. Yes 63 million votes is more than any American president has received (62 million for Bush in 2004), but you are comparing apples to space ships. As noted above, you are drawing from a different pool of voters. Also, the 63 million was to total vote for American idol. The 122 million total vote in 2004 was considerably higher. This would be like comparing the 62 million votes for Bush in 2004 to the 62 million votes for Ike and Adlai combined in 1956.

  7. We actually watched the last three weeks (TiVo recorded it as a suggestion, we watched, and decided to ride it out).

    It is actually moderately interesting–but the only way to watch it on the nights that they announce the winners (1 hour last week, 2 last night) is with TiVo so you can fast-forward through some of the duller/sillier bits.

  8. Rodney Dill says:

    In past competitions, my daughters have voted numerous times for one contestant. Even with multiple votes the 63 Million votes is still an impressive benchmark.

  9. How about anyone who votes for an American Idol candidate is prohibited from voting in the next presidential election?

  10. Faith Chatham says:

    If Political Candidates were televised for two hours a week for many weeks, with many other tie in interviews on various talk shows, as the contestants on American Idol are, more people would turn out and vote for them too! Right now media doesn’t cover political campaigns because they DON’T THINK AMERICAN IS INTERESTED. They give time to fluff rather than to hard news stories. They cover the same thing over and over and ignore most important topics. People don’t go out to vote unless they UNDERSTAND the differences between the choices. Media is so expensive that few candidates can afford to buy much media. Large metropolitan markets are as ignored as smaller markets. In Texas, this year we saw a number of challenger candidates in the run-off purchases media in smaller markets and have to ignore the densely populated markets because they simply couldn’t afford to pay for the more costly markets. Voters didn’t understand the differences between the candidates. We had the lowest voter turn-out in many election cycles. Folks just don’t feel comfortable voting for people they know very little about.

    We need to roll back the changes voted in during the Reagan Administration which removed the fairness clause. The discussion that American can get access to enough information on cable to make informed decisions is simply not true. Many do not have access to cable but are registered voters. All media should devote a percentage of their air time and media space to public service and governmental affairs. Congress needs to revisit some of the premises upon which media is regulated.

  11. floyd says:

    so… how could presidential candidates be even more entertaining?