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205 Flava inks deal with Idol star Hicks
Los Angeles (JM) - Willi Jenkins, co-owner with his brother Frederick of the Southside clothier 205 Flava announced today that they have struck a deal with 'American Idol of FOX' finalist Taylor Hicks. The 29 year old soul singer, known to fans of the show as 'Gray Charles', will appear in each of the next six episodes sporting a different style of the famous '205' jersey first made famous by Ruben Studdard during the 2003 season.

"We're excited about our new styles,' said Jenkins, "and about working with Taylor, because he's a little more fit, know what I'm saying? We can use regular-width bolts of cloth instead of that ripstop parachute stuff. That s--- gets pricy." Hicks could not be reached for a response to the announcement, but a spokesperson from [Idol producers] 19 Entertainment said that they had changed the rule forbidding contestants to enter into sponsorship deals. "As long as they're not directly competing with any of our on-air advertisers, and as long as we get our 40% cut, we have no problem with it," said Tashlynn Adair by cell phone.

Hicks has become a fan favorite for his earnestly humble manner and enthusiastic renditions of soul and R&B standards accompanied by jerky 'dance' moves. Brian Trager, 30, a forum administrator for one of Hicks' 'Soul Patrol' fan sites said that what appeals to many viewers is how Hicks is "one of us. ...He puts his jeans on one leg at a time, you know? Plus Simon [Cowell, one of the American Idol judges] absolutely hates him, which is a big plus."

American Idol airs in the Birmingham area Tuesday evenings at 7:00 PM and Wednesday evenings at 8:00 PM on WBRC Fox 6.