Taylor Hicks Talks Food, Britney, and the Addition of Harry Connick, Jr. on American Idol — Exclusive
Credit: Frank Micelotta/FOX © 2010 Fox Broadcasting Co.    

American Idol

Taylor Hicks Talks Food, Britney, and the Addition of Harry Connick, Jr. on American Idol — Exclusive

American Idol Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks isn't just an accomplished crooner — he's now a published author! Well, in a way. Two of his own recipes recently passed a stringent test and made it into Taste of Home's new cookbook, Recipes Across America. The tome encompasses top recipes from each section of the country, including Taylor's homebase — the South. (Recipes included below.)

While chatting with Taylor about the honor, we couldn't help asking a few more burning questions, including how his Las Vegas residency is going, if he'll go see Britney Spears when her show opens, and what he thinks of the new Idol judging lineup. Here's what he had to say:

How did you end up getting involved with Taste of Home?

Well, in addition to my Vegas residency, I have a barbecue and music venue in Birmingham. So I ended up meeting with the folks from Taste of Home and sending them a few of my recipes. You have to pass their food test, and not one but two of my recipes made it in. I'm very excited.

Which two recipes?

My Baked Oysters with Tasso Cream and my Jalapeno Poppers.

Have you tried any of the book's other recipes yet?

I've been meaning to, but between traveling to Las Vegas, Birmingham and my hometown of Nashville, I haven't had a chance yet. I will, though.

Speaking of which, how do you like Vegas?

I've been there for about a year, and it's a neat gig. To be a part of history and all the entertainers who have performed there… It's a hot spot to do shows. I'm honored.

Will you go check out Britney's show when it opens?

Yes, I will be at a table having bottle service watching Britney. You bet.

What are your thoughts on the new AI judging lineup: Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and now Harry Connick, Jr.?

I love Harry Connick, Jr. He's a true musician like me — and he has an amazing career. You can tell he's genuine. I feel like, now, all the judges are genuine. They're not there for themselves; they're there to help launch the careers of some really great artists.