07:28 PM EDT 10/16/2013

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Taylor Hicks

Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Taylor Hicks: Not Easy Opening for Clint & Mitt

Taylor Hicks: Not Easy Opening for Clint Eastwood & Mitt Romney

Originally posted 08/31/2012 02:05PM

Thursday night's performance at the Republican National Convention in Tampa was a first – and a tricky one – for American Idol singer Taylor Hicks.

He was opening for some very tough acts to follow: surprise guest speaker Clint Eastwood and presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

"I've worked many stages in my life, but never, ever have I had to weave in and out of a lectern," Hicks, 35, told PEOPLE while laughing and downing a draft beer at the bustling CNN Grill after the convention adjourned. "And the Teleprompter was definitely a stage hazard – having to dance with that thing."

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