It wouldn’t interest me so much that Taylor Hicks’s show at the House of Blues on Thursday is sold out if Kevin Federline hadn’t had to give tickets away at the same venue last year. The real genius of American Idol was not merely to create compelling television and find the occasional legit talent but to give us, the American viewing public, some investment in the product so even if it sucks we’ll shell out $31.50 (!) to hold up our end of the bargain. 

When my grandchildren ask me to describe the era in which I came of age, I’m going to show them this picture: 

Update: Peter Margasak reports that Hicks, or at least his webmaster, is giving props to Neal Hemphill.