Taylor Takes Over Birmingham

5/15/2006 11:26 AM PDT

Taylor Takes Over Birmingham

'American Idol' frontrunner Taylor Hicks visited his hometown in Birmingham, Ala. on Friday and received a hero's welcome.

The trip home included a parade, a performance at Alabama's largest shopping mall and a meeting with the governor. Fans swarmed Hicks for pictures and autographs at every stop.

Hicks performed the song 'Will It Go Round in Circles' for thousands of screaming fans at Linn Park and was given the key to the city by Mayor Bernard Kincaid.

During a trip the Governor's Mansion, Gov. Bob Riley reminded the crowd to watch 'American Idol' on Tuesday and vote for their local hero. "Don't forget," Riley said. "You know what they've always said about voting in Alabama: Early and often."

One previous 'Idol' winner, Ruben Studdard, and one runner-up, Bo Bice, both came from Birmingham.

The winner of this season's 'American Idol' will be announced on May 24.