Show tallied 63.4 million votes
LOS ANGELES — Taylor Hicks, the mop-topped manic dancer who wooed TV audiences with his raw singing style and boisterous personality, was named the new “American Idol” Wednesday.Hicks, 29, of Birmingham, Ala., became the latest in a string of Southern and Midwestern contestants to win the Fox talent contest and a record contract. In a final viewer voting poll he bested runner-up Katharine McPhee, 22, of Los Angeles. “Soul Patrol!” Hicks shouted, acknowledging his avid fans by their nickname. Hicks, whose thatch of prematurely gray hair made him a contest standout, seemed a longshot winner at his first audition after judge Simon Cowell gave him a thumbs-down and predicted that he didn’t have a chance of advancing to the finals. McPhee and Hicks weren’t as odd a finals pairing as second-season finalists Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken, but close. McPhee attended the prestigious Boston Conservatory for a semester; Hicks has been a fixture on honky-tonk stages. McPhee skillfully played to the cameras, all calculated seduction; Hicks stomped across the set, with Cowell comparing him to a drunken dad at a wedding.
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