Taylor Hicks won America's hearts, and votes, on "American Idol." He's been on a rocket ride ever since, with a new album out Dec. 12. But it's remarks he made outside the recording studio that are stirring up some controversy.
Hicks gave a candid interview to a music magazine recently where he was quoted as saying, "'American Idol,' for me, is fizzling out."
"They can't package me, man. ... I'm an artist that's created this concept but used the 'American Idol' machine as a marketing tool," he told Relix magazine.
Hicks, who performed today on "Good Morning America" at the Hard Rock Cafe, told Diane Sawyer those words were misconstrued.
"Well, you know, what I meant, I'm giving my crown to the next season six winner," Hicks said. "For for me, you know, the new season is starting, and, it was completely taken out of context. You know, the media -- I'm just learning how the media can misconstrue words, definitely."
'Idol' Winners Walk Fine Line
The silver-haired soul man isn't the only "Idol" winner who has been seen as trying to distance himself from the powerhouse show.
"I think certainly for the winners of 'American Idol' there comes a point where they feel hemmed in," said "Rolling Stone" executive editor Joe Levy. "The more successful they are, the more they wanna get away from 'American Idol.'"
Kelly Clarkson made her break from "Idol" when she didn't mention the show in a Grammy acceptance speech, which riled up at least one of the show's judges.
"The only advice I can give is don't forget the people who picked up their telephones to vote for you," Simon Cowell said. "Look, solo artists by nature are selfish people. It's not us. It's the people who vote who are going to make the difference in your lives."
Carrie Underwood may have taken note. The season four winner made a point of showing proper respect during her Country Music Award moment.
She thanked the show, saying, "There's no doubt about the power of the mega-hit show."
Even several runner-ups who have gained recognition and opportunities after the show give "Idol" props.
"Idol" also-ran Jennifer Hudson is generating Oscar buzz for her role in "Dreamgirls."
Third season finalist Diana Degarmo is lighting up Broadway now, but she knows navigating life beyond the show can be tricky.
"The contracts for 'Idol' are definitely very intimidating at first," Degarmo said. "There's lots of fine, fine details that you have to read through."
And like every "Idol," she's learned from the growing pains.
"I really do believe that we love and thank 'American Idol' for what it's gotten us, but you have to be able to stand up on your own two feet," she said.