- The Washington Times - Monday, December 21, 2009

Taylor-made

“When you get into the music business, you get into the germ business as well,” laments recording artist and season five “American Idol” winner Taylor Hicks in a phone interview on Friday with G2.

The 30-something Mr. Hicks has been under the weather with strep throat but soldiered on to chat with us about his upcoming stint in the District when the musical “Grease” rolls into the National Theatre for a two-week engagement beginning Feb. 9.

Mr. Hicks has been on the current U.S. tour of the Broadway musical — which he describes as “an American staple” — since 2008 playing the Teen Angel character. He says he’s looking forward to being back in the nation’s capital, which has always held a special place in his heart “since I visited the Smithsonian on a Safety Patrol trip” when he was in grade school.

In addition to the tour, Mr. Hicks released his latest album, “The Distance,” in March and tells us its single “Seven Mile Breakdown” will be included in the production.

Still, we couldn’t let Mr. Hicks slip away without asking about politics.

“I’m purple. Red and blue. That’s the politically correct answer,” he responded when asked about his personal political stance.

When we suggested that he might segue into politics as a career, Mr. Hicks quipped: “Well, you have to do a lot of politicking on ‘American Idol,’ ” referring to the votes that viewers cast on selecting the winner.

Mr. Hicks, 33, also volunteered that he’s been impressed with President Obama since meeting him in California when both were guests on “The Jay Leno Show.”

“He’s very calm and measured,” Mr. Hicks says of the president, who’s sometimes called “No Drama Obama.”

The prematurely gray performer also played it safe when commenting on the sudden departure of “Idol” judge Paula Abdul.

“She will be missed, but Ellen DeGeneres will make a fine judge,” Mr. Hicks said.”

Between now and February, though, he’ll be nursing his throat while home for the holidays in his native Alabama, where, he told us, he’ll be watching football. He’s a Crimson Tide fan (natch) and will be providing “free entertainment” for relatives around the Christmas tree, singing “White Christmas,” one of his favorite songs.

White Washington

Speaking of “white,” we sure did see a lot of it this past weekend, as Washington was deluged with an early winter snowstorm.

So, with so many people holed up inside, where can you find notables in the middle of a crisis?

Why the Four Seasons bar, of course!

It was emergency crisis central.

The luxury hotel was one of the few places in Georgetown to get a drink or a hot meal, since the usually bustling M Street was a virtual ghost town.

We saw former congressman and newlywed Harold E. Ford Jr., Tennessee Democrat, pecking away at his BlackBerry, while enjoying a late lunch at the bar.

Dressed casually in a baseball cap, Mr. Ford, 39, was later joined by his new wife, Emily, a petite 20-something blonde dressed in chic winter attire.

The two lingered at the bar cuddling and smiling at each other.

Sitting right behind Mr. Ford, also in a baseball cap, was Sen. Herb Kohl, Wisconsin Democrat, who we imagine was getting some sustenance for the health care debates gripping the Senate over the weekend.

Perhaps if they weren’t wearing caps, the two Dems would have recognized each other and done some back slapping, the most common activity in the Four Seasons bar … next to drinking, that is.

Portrait for a cause

Elsewhere in Georgetown, Christian Serratos — of the “Twilight” films fame — was on hand at the Govinda Gallery’s retrospective of PETA’s (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) “Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” campaign and for the unveiling of her addition to the collection of celebrity portraits in the buff.

At 19, she’s the youngest person to be photographed au naturel for the campaign that has also included such notables as reality television star Khloe Kardashian and actress Pamela Anderson.

G2 caught up with Miss Serratos at her hotel on Friday, and she told us about her trip to the White House that day.

“The White House was great!” she exclaimed enthusiastically. “I got a private tour — that was pretty cool. I think the most exciting thing for me was seeing the china, all the presidential china.”

Her favorite collection?

“I think it’s going to be the Obamas’ china because apparently Michelle Obama has decided that there won’t be just one pattern; she’s going to have a few.”

To contact Stephanie Green or Elizabeth Glover, e-mail [email protected]

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