Taylor Hicks signs record deal

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Taylor Hicks, the season-five winner of reality competition American Idol, has signed a record deal with 19 Recordings Unlimited, the label managed by music legend Clive Davis and Idol cocreator Simon Fuller. Two singles, the original song "Do I Make You Proud" and a cover of the Doobie Brothers "Takin' It to the Streets," will be released June 13, with a full-length album coming later this year.

Hicks' soulful crooning earned him the Idol crown and a legion of fans calling themselves The Soul Patrol. The Birmingham, Alabama native beat out LA's Katherine McPhee in the season finale last Wednesday, May 24.

"He definitely has his own sound. He does have that gift, you know who it is when you hear him," Davis told the Associated Press.

Runner-up McPhee is reportedly in talks with big-name Hollywood filmmakers, including Steven Spielberg and Joss Whedon, to appear in movies. Whedon is readying a big-screen version of Wonder Woman.

Past Idol winners and runners-up who have gone on to release successful albums include Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard, and Carrie Underwood. Season one winner Kelly Clarkson enjoyed a hit with her song "Since You Been Gone," selling seven million units. By contrast, season one runner-up Justin Guarini sold only 100,000 copies of his CD.

American Idol reached series-high ratings this season. The show averaged 30 million viewers a week, and the finale reached 42 million people in the final half hour.

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