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Taylor Hicks Talks Extended Vegas Residency, Harmonica Magic

The "American Idol" season five winner also tells THR about his upcoming country album and performing at an Oscars gig on Sunday.

Taylor Hicks American Idol P 2014
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Taylor Hicks

Taylor Hicks, who has been headlining a residency in Las Vegas for the past 18 months, will perform for an audience he's never courted before: Academy Award winners and nominees. The American Idol season five winner will perform after the Oscars at the fourth annual Salute to the Stars party at the W on Sunday night, which benefits the Actors Fund.

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“I jumped at the chance because I’ve been touring so much and I have this Vegas gig, I haven’t been able to really sink my teeth into the Oscar scene, so to speak," he told The Hollywood Reporter.

Hicks' Vegas residency has been extended through March -- a great stage for him, as he was calculated as one of the top-earning Idol alumni by Forbes.

"In this business, if something is going good, you keep up with it, and my show in Vegas is healthy and it’s thriving," he said of continuing the show. “The way as I look at it, you have to be willing to work really hard. If you don’t turn down the gigs, you can have a substantially successful career. I am coming up on a decade in show business.”

But the Sin City stage is also “a bridge to a possible new and exciting deal that will be announced pretty soon," he teased. “You got to keep the ball rolling."

Also on tap for 2014 -- a new country album on the "soulful side of country" and with "rootsy music,” eyeing radio play in the spring. As for a new label, Hicks was mum. "I’m not at liberty to say right now but soon I will be very happy to announce it," he said.

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Hicks said he's happy to hear his main instrument -- the harmonica -- utilized in today’s hits, like "Timber" by Pitbull and Ke$ha. He has "kicked around" the idea of performing the hit with them in the future, as he did in 2006 with Snoop Dogg on 'Gin and Juice."

'They have been able to incorporate that country blues harmonica sound into a top 3 hit -- I never thought in a million years that that would happen again, and they pulled it off in a big way," said Hicks.

As for this season of Idol, Hicks is pulling for Dexter Roberts, CJ Harris and Jessica Meuse -- the trifecta of Alabama contestants competing for the title.

"I don’t think that’s ever happened on the show where you have three contestants from the same state in the top 12," he said. "I think that is a testament to the new executive producers of Idol, because I think 60 percent of households watched me win American Idol in the state of Alabama. So the South is very strong when it comes to numbers and ratings."

Twitter: @MicheleAmabile