‘American Idol’ Winner Recalls ‘Scary’ Time After Show

American Idol

ABC/Eric McCandless "American Idol"

“American Idol” season 5 winner Taylor Hicks recalled his time immediately after finishing the competition and heading home to be somewhat “scary.”

“American Idol” has been on the air for 20 years, and Insider conducted interviews with runners-up and winners from past seasons to catch up and reflect on their time on the show.

Taylor Hicks, who won season 5 of the show, had never really watched it before his time on it, and he didn’t know what to expect.


Hicks Had a Bodyguard for Months

Hicks told Insider that his experience on “American Idol” was “special” and that the crew was able to capture his own “pure and honest reaction.”

After winning, however, his life was completely changed when the paparazzi followed him for “about two weeks” in a helicopter when he was done with the show.

“I had a bodyguard for six months, it was very intense for me,” he shared with Insider. “It’s very scary when you get let out to pasture, as I like to say.”

Hicks also recalled being in the bathroom a lot during his time on “American Idol,” but not because he had to use the restroom.

Instead, he said that he would go there to save his vocal chords because it was the “most humidified place” on the whole set.

“It was like I had a giant case of diarrhea the whole time, but actually it was just me trying to keep my voice,” Hicks told Insider.


A Runner-Up Was ‘Frustrated’ After ‘American Idol’

In interviews with Insider, runners-up season one’s Justin Guarini, season 11’s Jessica Sanchez, season 14’s Clark Beckham, season 13’s Jena Irene Asciutto, season 16’s Caleb Lee Hutchinson, season six’s Blake Lewis, season three’s Diana DeGarmo, season 15’s A.S.E., formerly known as La’Porsha Renae, and season nine’s Crystal Bowersox.

While many of the finalists said they weren’t necessarily upset that they didn’t win the show, some were upset about how they were treated after the show.

“When you’re on the show, you are the center of the world,” DeGarmo told the outlet. “And we didn’t fully grasp that.”

She said she was completely cut off from the outside world while on the show.

Afterward, it was “frustrating” for her while trying to figure out what she wanted to do “as an artist.”

“No one from the show was by your side anymore,” DeGarmo said, telling Insider that she finished high school after her time on the show.

Asciutto told the outlet that she began being upset when everyone immediately connected her with “American Idol” even years later.

“After the fact, like two or three years after, I was pissed,” she told the outlet. “Is that all I’m f***ing known for?”

She also said she was not offered any record deals following the show.

“All anyone cares about is this ‘American Idol’ title, which is dope, but it’s a reality-TV show,” she shared. “And it’s also not the music industry, which is a complete fact.”

“American Idol” is expected to return in the spring of 2023 for season 21 of the show. Each of the three judges and host Ryan Seacrest are expected to return.

READ NEXT: ‘American Idol’ Runner-Up Frustrated Following Show

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