HOTTEST BACHELORS

"Your article on Taylor Hicks made my day, week, month and year. You have made the Soul Patrol so happy!"
Allison B. Mills
Bridgeport, Conn.

My thanks to your staff, who saw what millions of us see in Taylor Hicks: a man whose eyes could melt butter because they truly are the windows to his soul. That he is a songwriter, musician and singer is just sugar on the grits!
Julia Dixon
Ponte Verde, Fla.

Taylor Hicks—yummy! I watched American Idol from the beginning, voted for Taylor each time. And I'm a grandmother! Taylor is handsome, cool, talented, nice and, according to your article, a real southern gentleman. I'd love to get one of those hugs that he's been giving out.
Jean Kelly
Fremont, Calif.

I cannot believe you named Taylor Hicks as the hottest bachelor. Ew! I can't even see him making the list. What were you thinking? Get a grip. Taylor Hicks is not, I repeat, not, hot.
Cathy Colburn
Braintree, Mass.

How could you leave out American Idol contestant Elliott Yamin?
Lori Parker
Batesville, Miss.

... Joaquin Phoenix?
Alice Goodfellow
Falls Church, Va.

... New York Yankee Derek Jeter?
Janet Madden
via e-mail

... Soon-to-be single Paul McCartney?
Linda Dore
Sykesville, Md.

BRITNEY'S INTERVIEW

Does anyone else see the irony of Britney Spears doing a nationally televised interview with Matt Lauer in order to complain that she gets too much media attention? Memo to Britney: You've been courting this kind of fame since you were a teenager. You can't have the fame without having the media attention. If you're so concerned about your privacy, retire from show business.
Mary Helen Sprecher
Catonsville, Md.

What the public and press have done to Britney is no different than what mean children do in the schoolyard. It's called bullying. Everyone who has taken a shot at her should be ashamed. What does the girl have to do to get a break? Leave her alone to raise her child and make her own mistakes. She's only asking for what we all take for granted—a little privacy.
Mary Yep
Aurora, Ill.

UNSOLVED MYSTERY

Our issue featuring Taylor Hicks on the cover generated the most mail ever for a Bachelors Special with more than 800 letters. Some 370 of these were from women wishing they were the blonde "mystery woman" Hicks told PEOPLE he had locked eyes with on a recent flight. "I am absolutely not the mystery woman, and I wouldn't even say that I was necessarily a fan," writes Nicole B. of Fresno, Calif. "But after reading your interview, Taylor seems like a very sweet guy and probably worth a second thought." Others were swept up in the romance of Hicks's gesture. "Wow, what a great guy to tell that story for a second chance at meeting this woman and finding true love," writes Molly Hurley of Greenville, S.C. Unfortunately, we may never know if the mystery woman has been located. Says Hicks's rep: "He wants to keep the mystery woman a mystery."

Correction: In our July 3 issue we misidentified the woman in the photograph on page 100 as actor Vince Vaughn's mother, Sharon. We regret the error.