American Idol winner Taylor Hicks almost missed out on a place in the TV talent show's finals thanks to a pot bust. The soulful singer, 29, almost became the latest subject of a scandal to mar the Idol stage, but producers discovered a drugs charge against Hicks when he was 21 was dismissed. Hicks even confessed to driving under the influence of marijuana, according to the arresting Alabama police officer's report, but the case was delayed two years and then dismissed in 2000 for "want of prosecution". Idol producers have been tough on contestants with police records and those who try to hide past misdemeanours have been routinely disqualified from the show. Grey-haired Hicks became the fifth American Idol winner when he beat fellow finalist Katherine Mcphee in Wednesday night's (24MAY06) end-of-season showdown.