Will Yucca be the Taylor Hicks of the Herd?
I thought it was just idle conversation as we walked from the Herd tailgate to Camp Port-a-Potty outside the Rose Bowl around 11:30a.m. on January 1, 2007, when Big Yucca said to me, "What did you think of Taylor Hicks? You know, Taylor Hicks, the Soul Patrol...?" No, this wasn't idle conversation, it was Idol conversation, American Idol conversation to be exact.
I continued towards the bathrooms, thinking, "USC was playing Michigan at the Rose Bowl in approximately 150 minutes and this guy's asking me about Taylor Hicks? In this venue? After USC had lost on December 2, 2006 to the lowly Bruins? After USC had lost to the Vince Young led, Mack Brown coached Longhorns on January 4, 2006? And I'm being asked about some wanna-be dreamy pop star?
I pointed out a dual exhaust Churro cart, and Yucca's attention was drawn away momentarily as I slipped into the nearest Port-a-Potty. That was the last I saw Yucca until recently. Who knew that our seemingly innocuous conversation, or lack thereof, about Taylor Hicks would've meant something.
La Academia, the Mexican "American Idol" Starts Season Four
MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) February 6, 2007 - 18 year-old Yuridia Garcialita may be American, but she hopes to make out like a bandit in the Mexican version of "American Idol." (photo right: Big Yucca kneeling with other contestants of La Academia) Yuridia said, "I don't know what I'll say. I'll be so ecstatic if I win, I'll donate a kidney to the needy." Erasmo Castro Gonzaga, a 27-year-old professional rodeo clown, hopes to also take the top prize of La Academia #4: a used sport utility vehicle and 1.5 million pesos, "No other clowns own a car on the rodeo circuit, " Erasmo said.
Now in its fourth season, "La Academia," is a mix of "Big Brother" and "American Idol." Broadcast in the United States and Central America, it features 18 contestants who are sealed off in a Mexico City talent academy for five months. This year, the producers of La Academia will be adding some celebrity spice to the show, making it a Spanish version of "The Surreal Life." Joining the amateur cast will be such former luminaries as Charo, Erik Estrada, Big Yucca of the Thundering Herd and Father Guido Sarducci.
The former stars will be competing with the amateurs to sing in front of a packed bullring of 10,000 screaming fans and millions of television viewers. If you've been out of touch with pop culture the last forty years, here's a quick recap of this year's celebrity contestants: The choochy-choochy spotlight on Charo has been shining brighter than ever since her acceptance of the "Female Pop Album of the Year" award which she received at the Billboard International Latin Music Conference for her 1995 flamenco inspired platinum album, "Guitar Passion." Father Guido Sarducci has spent the past thirty years living and working in the United States as gossip columnist and rock critic for the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano. Americans became familiar with Father Sarducci during the golden years of "Saturday Night Live." Big Yucca wowed the producers with his rendition of his version of the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" and his impression of Sonny Bono on skis. Big Yucca is also known throughout the Central American and South American continents for his quality Churro products but the timing wasn't right for him to do a cooking reality series. And the biggest star of this year's La Academia is Erik Estrada, who captured the hearts of millions of fans world-wide as a result of his six year run starring as highway patrol officer Frank Poncherello in the highly successful television series, "CHiP's".