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Saturday, November 26, 2005

NJ Star Ledger's Prediction

Here's Clay's birthday horoscope from the Newark Star Ledger.

From the CB's lsdollylovesclay:

There's a small picture and Clay mention in the Your Stars Celebrity Profile section of the The Newark Star Ledger.
It reads:

"American Idol" runnerup Clay Aiken has taken second place to new heights with his multi-platinum career. I predict another chart-topping record in 2006, and Aiken could also parlay his showbiz ambitions into the film world with a cameo appearance in a block buster . The job comes through channels so random that Aiken can only chalk it up to luck. But such is the Sagittarian way of life!

My good Clay buddy, JNLPRECIOUSCLAY, who sent me the information, says the picture is small and looks like it's from the fashion show shoot.

Let's hope the predictions are true!!

Jay Leno Mention 11/25

Negative mention about Clay on last night's Leno.

From the CB:

Last night during the opening dialogue Jay said "Clay Aiken, reportedly hired his hair dresser to be a back up dancer on his tour, well now that should clear up all the rumors"

A little confused as to what that means but just thought I'd share it...

Solitaire Cover Mentioned In Neil Sedeka Article

Clay's cover of Solitaire, Neil Sedeka's classic 70's song was mentioned in this article posted by Scripps Howard News Service (this article will be syndicated through the news service's various affiliates)

Sedaka still singing
And other artists are scoring big hits with his songs
By Wayne Bledsoe
Scripps Howard News Service

Neil Sedaka is best-known for his hits from the late 1950s and early '60s – and his comeback in the mid-1970s. But, while the only radio airwaves that his voice is currently gracing are oldies stations', Sedaka's songs continue to find new life.
Clay Aiken recently revived Sedaka's song "Solitaire."A 1971 Tony Christie recording of Sedaka's "Amarillo"was recently revived to become a No. 1 hit in the United Kingdom. A new musical comedy called "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: The Neil Sedaka Musical"recently closed after two months of sold-out performances in Albany, N.Y., and a new production of the play is scheduled to open in Coral Gables, Fla., in early 2006.

One thing that bothers Sedaka is that his music is referred to as "bubblegum music."
"I find that very offensive,"he says in a telephone call. "I thought my songs were a step above that. I thought my singing was a step above."

Sedaka was, in fact, training as a classical pianist long before he was a singer or a songwriter. The son of a New York taxi driver and a housewife, Sedaka was enrolled in piano studies at the Juilliard School of Music at age 8. His non-classical experience began when he was 13.

"Howard Greenfield was a 19-year-old poet,"Sedaka says. "His mother (Sedaka's neighbor) had heard me playing classical piano downstairs. One day she knocked on the door and when I opened it she said, 'Did I want to write songs with her son?'

"I had no idea how to write pop songs!"

Sedaka and Greenfield soon learned together.

In 1958, Connie Francis recorded the Sedaka-Greenfield number "Stupid Cupid"and had a hit. (The duo's "Where the Boys Are"was another Francis hit two years later.) It was also 1958 when Sedaka signed a recording contract with RCA and began an eight-year string of his own hits that included "Calendar Girl,""Stairway to Heaven,""Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen,""Next Door to An Angel"and "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do."

Sedaka says a doctor once told him that one of his vocal cords is slightly paralyzed, which might be the key to his distinctive sound.

"I can go in a taxicab and the driver won't even turn around and he'll say, 'You're Neil Sedaka. I can tell by your voice,'"Sedaka says.

By the mid-1960s, Sedaka's style was out of vogue in the United States, but continued to sell in Europe. In 1973, Sedaka fan Elton John signed the pop icon to his Rocket Records. The resulting album, "Sedaka's Back,"contained "Laughter in the Rain"– a song that would become Sedaka's first No. 1 hit in the United States since 1962.

"I wanted it vehemently,"Sedaka says. "I had heard Carole King's 'Tapestry,' and I said, 'I could do that.'"

Suddenly, it seemed as if he was everywhere. Elton John sang backup on Sedaka's hit "Bad Blood,"which went to No. 1. The Captain and Tennille recorded the "Sedaka's Back"track "Love Will Keep Us Together"and went to No. 1. He and Phil Cody wrote English lyrics for the song "Ring Ring"by the Swedish group Abba. The Sedaka-Cody song "Solitaire"was a hit for the Carpenters in 1975 and became a pop standard.
"Elvis did 'Solitaire' very poorly,"Sedaka says. "He changed the beat and the melody. But, of course, it was an Elvis record, so I was thrilled. Sheryl Crow did it beautifully, though."

"I'd like another hit album," Sedaka says. "I still feel like there's one more in me. If Carlos Santana can do it..."

Clay Having Fun in Louisville

We now know how Clay spent his Thanksgiving in Louisville... with tour dancer Patricia Kent (and the other members of the crew). Clay's onstage interaction with Patricia has been increasing, observed Claymates at recent concerts. Read this hilarious commentary ("Denver Flirt") from LBFCA.

From Clayversity:

He didn't go home and came to Louisville directly from Chicago.

Took everyone to the movies (saw Rent) and had the whole front section roped off for him. Hooped and hollered for Patricia when she was on the screen.

Some went bowling with him. He spent Thanksgiving with his former professor, now teaching in Louisville, Dr. Priscilla Brame.

Picture: Clay with JNT dancer Patricia in Denver (courtesy Scarlett)

11/26 Update from CH's TOTLAK:
I mentioned before I left that I had found out they were here since Wednesday morning. One of our member's son works downtown in 4th Street Live area (big entertainment area). He told her Clay was down there having lunch that afternoon at Hard Rock Cafe. Don't know who all was with him. Then she got a phone call from a friend Wednesday night that he and a whole entourage of people were at a movie watching Rent---which just opened here.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Clay In New Trivial Pursuit: DVD Editon Game

Clay is in the new DVD edition of Trivial Pursuit's popular game, Pop Culture 2! Thanks to the CB's thudclayz for these scans!

The question reads: "What Olympic ice skating champ adorned her Yale dorm with photos of Prince William and Clay Aiken?". The answer was "Sarah Hughes"

Click to enlarge scans.

Vote for JNT has a poll currently asking "What's the best upcoming concert?". Clay's Hollywood, FL concert at the Semicole Arena @ the Hard Rock Cafe is among the options. Click here to vote.

Stream Clay on AOL

Please support Clay on AOL by streaming Clay video/audio. New additions include the Mary Did You Know video from last year's Clay Christmas special. Click here to access the AOL media page for Clay.

CNN Paula Zahn Now 11/25

Clay was briefly mentioned/shown on yesterday's edition of Paula Zahn Now.

From the CB's clayrevolution:

The whole segment was about Taylor Cross (a BAF Award receipient) and his life--it discussed how he deals with autism, his childhood, etc. His mom was on and talked about him being picked on and physically attacked in school. I didn't see the beginning of it, but it seemed like a pretty lengthy segment. The Clay clip was towards the end.

ETA: The Clay clip was just a few seconds long--no sound, just Taylor getting the award.

Clay Mentions Across The Internet Today

Here is a selection of mentions of Clay on the internet today.

New "Best of American Idol" DVD Review

Packaging 'Idol's' high and low notes
Calendar Live

"The Best Of" disc contains some of the more memorable moments, including Fantasia Barrino's "Summertime," Kelly Clarkson's "Respect" and Bo Bice's "In a Dream." It focuses primarily on the top two finalists from each season, so there's lots of Clarkson (the most successful post-"Idol" performer), Justin Guarini, Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, Fantasia (she's dropped the Barrino since winning in Season 3), Diana DeGarmo, Bice and Carrie Underwood.
Another review of the same DVD
The good, bad, and inconsolable
Nov. 24, 2005. 01:00 AM
Toronto Star

There are two new releases featuring compilations of American Cultural Imperialism at its very finest. One wants you to know you're a remarkable human being who can accomplish whatever you set your mind to; the other wants you to know that you suck.

The Oprah Winfrey Show: The 20th Anniversary Collection from Paramount and The Best & Worst of American Idol from Capital, are both different from your run-of-the-mill release in that the sets do not contain any actual episodes (small mercies ... ) but are more like massive collections of extras and highlights and featurettes and, importantly, people who cry a lot.

Both releases are slick and immaculately produced; both tell us uncomfortable things about the quest for fame whether shepherded by good, supportive mommy Oprah or stern, disapproving daddy Simon Cowell.

The three-disc, 9 1/2-hour Idol set, which has Paula Abdul hosting, starts out with a 15-minute overview, just in case you'd been stuck on Pluto for the past five years. The "Best of" disc is chaptered into a "Season 1, 2 and 3" section with "Here Come the Judges," "Auditions," featuring the likes of Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken, "Performances" and music video thingy, "You're a Sta," as well as a very creepy Simon/Paula promo thing called "Cuddles."

Rating ***/*****
Rent movie review from Rent fans "Rent rats" -- comparing Rent fans to Claymates

A "Rent" rat rates the movie version
Denver Post
Say what you want about the film adaptation of "Rent." Pick it apart. Question the characters' motives. Pithily call the movie awkward and forced.

But unless you've seen the musical at least 10 times - a modest number by serious devotees' standards - then your argument carries only so much weight with "Rent" rats.

The beauty of the "Rent" rat is the unconditional love they - er, we - have for the musical. Like a Deadhead, a Parrothead or a Claymate (the latter being a member of the odd group of mostly middle-aged women obsessed with Clay Aiken), "Rent" rats travel with the show, wait in painfully long lines for prime seats, and are willing to forgive the musical for its cheesy indulgences, its overdramatic tendencies, its lackluster, unfinished second act.

Mention in Survivor TV Show recap:
Survivor Guatemala: Recap
Everything Is Personal
By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis
November 25, 2005

Gary Hogeboom isn't going down without a fight, though. At Tribal Council, Judd isn't content to simply vote off his mortal enemy. He wants to be sure to point out what a cheat and liar his chief competitor is before the elimination. Judd eagerly notes that Gary Hogeboom has lied, but gets in trouble when he tries to describe the "lie". Gary Hogeboom had said before that Lydia and Cindy didn't deserve to make it to the end, but he was still willing to form an alliance with them to further advance himself. In Judd World, this is a lie. Gary Hogeboom takes this opportunity to point out that in Our World, a lie is when someone says that the super duper secret immunity idol is hidden somewhere on the ground, when in fact it is hidden somewhere up high. "All right, I lied about the damned idol. Okay." says Judd. What did he say about Clay Aiken? Oh, he's going to get cards and letters!

Happy Birthday Clay!

Clay turns 27 on November 30!


Click here to leave a birthday greeting for Clay using our CDD Commenting System.

Due to the overwhelming response to this call, we are no longer promising that comments left after this time will make our printed 'birthday book' that will be delivered to Clay at the Baltimore, Camden and Raleigh concerts (we're doing it 2-3 times to make sure it gets to Clay). However, you may still use the link above to leave Clay a birthday greeting and we will include provide a link in the booklet so Clay can check out any additional birthday wishes online.

Merry Christmas With Love @ Target

Christmas is only one month away. Target has Merry Christmas With Love onsale for only $8.99! Go and get them, Claymates!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

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Clay Doesn't Mind Being Called A Nerd

Fantastic pre-concert article from the Cincinnati Post. Clay plays the Cincinnati Music Hall November 26.

Aiken here for Christmas show
By Rick Bird
Post staff reporter

Clay Aiken brings his holiday show to Music Hall on Saturday.

Go ahead. Call Clay Aiken a nerd. He won't mind.

"I'm not trying to be cool, and I don't expect to be any time soon," Aiken says with a laugh that can only be described as, well, nerdy.

The issue came up in a recent interview with the "American Idol" star, because a newspaper headline this month dubbed him a "Pop Nerd."

"I've always wanted to just be myself. So it's not an insult at all," he said about the reference. "It's a label I carry proudly."

Aiken may be the most famous second place finisher of any competition. And his geekiness obviously helped drive his fame.

On "American Idol" he narrowly lost out to Ruben Studdard in 2003, but his boyish grin, lack of pretense and choirboy voice earned the Raleigh, N.C., native millions of teen fans who launched Web sites and gobbled up a few million copies of his debut album becoming part of "Clay Nation." It was the overnight success story for the boy next door.

Aiken, 26, likes to think his self-deprecating demeanor has been the secret to his success.

"I think that's a mistake a lot of people do whether it's performing on 'Idol,' or just life - try to be something they are not, try to fool the world and make people think they are not a nerd or a geek."

For the second year in a row Aiken is out with a Christmas tour that comes to Music Hall Saturday. Called "Joyful Noise," it is more than just a concert. There are actors, dancers and special effects in a loose holiday story.

Aiken wrote the show himself.

"It became a favorite (last year) and we wanted to do it again, but the issue was how do we make it different? How do we keep it from being just a bunch of holiday songs? I wanted to try to string all the songs together with some sort of connective tissue. I thought, let's get someone to write a story line. Then I sat down one day and said, 'Wait a minute. I can do this.'"

Aiken even hired his high school choir teacher to come out and perform in the production.

Aiken and the singers play guardian angels, sort of a Greek chorus, that comment on the story through holiday songs. Aiken says it's a reverent show with part of it set in a church.

But that raises another small problem for the "Idol" star. Girls often do scream through it.

"Of course on a regular tour that's what you kind of want. When they come to this show and scream I kind of get a little bothered by it. This is a theme, where we are in church. It's like, 'Please don't scream in church,'" Aiken said.

"But some nights when they don't scream I get upset, too."

Aiken may be the perfect post 9-11 star. He's non-threatening, a true family act that parents can enjoy and don't mind if their young daughters scream at. Aiken says he's the last person to ask to explain the phenomenon.

"I hope the public is growing tired of negativity and trashiness. I am," he said. I can't say why people like me. It's flattering, but I can't really comment on that question."

Aiken released his multi-platinum selling "Measure of a Man" months after the "Idol" competition and has been almost constantly touring ever since. He also cranked out a best-selling autobiography, hosted his own Christmas TV special last year and raises money for his Bubel/Aiken Foundation, which benefits children with disabilities.

He says he's taking his time working on a new CD, carefully selecting the right songs. He acknowledges the first album came out pretty fast.

"That's the nature of the beast. There is a lot of push to get it done quickly, to get product out after the show," he said. "But I don't think it was done poorly. Had we spent more time on it maybe we could have found (material) we were happier with."

Aiken doesn't buy the argument some make that the "Idol" pop stars are rushed onto the scene, winners of a contrived event who haven't paid their "dues" in the music business.

"I felt prepared to record," he said. "I would venture to say that those of us who have been through the beast, been through that machine, have paid plenty of dues. Different dues. It was quite a boot camp really."

Aiken says he's learned what his strength is and that is as a vocal stylist, not a songwriter.

"Again, it's go with what you got and don't try to be something that your not. There is a lot of motivation these days to try and be a songwriter because it may look good or you make a lot more money that way. To be honest there are a lot of artists out there today who have their name written on the song. And the truth is they've maybe written two or three words of it. I'm not going to say I wrote a song if I didn't."

Clay Aiken brings his "Joyful Noise 2005" tour to Music Hall at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets, $69.75, $62.75, $49.75, $29.75. Ticket-master.

Clay Mentions Today

Here are a few mentions of Clay on the internet today, not worthy of a entire news posting.

The Wrath of Tito - Why is Vince McMahon getting blamed for wrestler deaths?
OK, that was the main course... here are some TIDBITS:
Same idea applies to winners of say Survivor and American Idol, with the exception of Clay Aiken (and I'm glad he's popular so that Conan O'Brien can rip on him). Who cares?

Bring Me My Figgy Pudding and While You're in There, Turn Off That Awful Racket: An Indispensible Guide to Holiday Music
There's a copious amount of holiday music out there, a plethora of the stuff released just this year - from Clay Aiken and Regis Philbin to Kenny G, Mariah Carey, and Brian Setzer, proggy symphonic abominations and snore-inducing solo piano treatments — which would be confusing, given its inherent expiration date, if our country's proclivity to spend didn't escalate at the tail end of the fourth quarter. So, as a favor to you, I'll go through the (few) highlights and (many) lowlights of the 2005 holiday album market, in hopes that I can save you from a disastrous impulse purchase in the checkout line.

Reading Eagle Article

As promised, here is the Reading Eagle's pre-concert article. Clay plays the Reading Soverign Center next week. This article is featured in the Eagle's weekly "Weekend" arts section's cover page.

Christmas Clay's way
Clay Aiken puts together a holiday showcase called "Joyful Noise" that is based on his own writing and features performers from his hometown. The end product is everything he'd wished for and more.

By Tracy Rasmussen
Reading Eagle Correspondent

As if singing, dancing and idol status weren't enough, Clay Aiken has added writing to his resume.
"I did a Christmas show last year and it was so much fun," Aiken said. "I thought I'd love to continue to do it, but I wanted to do something different."

That something different is his new "Joyful Noise" tour, which comes to the Sovereign Center in Reading on Wednesday (which happens to be Aiken's 27th birthday).

Aiken said he tried to come up with an idea that could join all the different songs he sings together, when he hit on the idea of having an older woman talk about her Christmases past with a young neighbor.

"Then I just sat in my pajamas and wrote it," he said. "I thought, Golly, I can do this. I'm not Arthur Miller, but this story works."

The story revolves around a little boy who is annoying his parents and they send him outside to get him out of their hair. He goes next door and meets one of his neighbors a woman who has recently lost her husband.

"She starts talking to him and telling him stories," she said. "And there are dancers who sort of show the back story."

Aiken sings in between and throughout the stories, pulling the show together.

"I'm sort of the guardian angel," he said.

And staying in line with the guardian angel theme, he hired his choir teacher from high school, Alison Lawrence, to play the part of the elderly woman. And since his teaching certificate is up to date he hired Gregory Ellis, a child from his hometown, to play the child in the show.

"I figured I could teach him on the road," Aiken said.

Still, he admitted to being a bit nervous about having so much input into the show.

"But it ended up being so much bigger and better than I thought," he said. "You usually have a vision in your head about what something is supposed to be and then you hope for the best, but this is everything I hoped it would be."

Although the subject matter is poignant, Aiken promises a Christmas ending.

"Everyone dies," he deadpanned. "No, really, it's a Christmas show, of course it has a happy ending."

Aiken said that for him this show portrays one of his own wishes.

"Sometimes I wish that life had a soundtrack," he said. "That's what this show is."

The show includes many of Aiken's songs from his Christmas album, "Merry Christmas With Love."

If Aiken's life did, indeed, have a soundtrack, it would likely be solid gold.

He's perhaps America's best known runner-up, as he came in second to Rueben Studdard in the second season of "American Idol."

Aiken used that notoriety to promote his first CD, "Measure of a Man," which has sold more than 600,000 copies, and he's found himself playing to sold out venues and basking in the adoration of the "Claymates" who follow him from venue to venue.

He said he's particularly looking forward to the Reading show.

"This is the first time I've ever done a show on my birthday," he said, laughing. "So I'll expect lots of presents."

Aiken has used his own gifts to help others, too. His teaching degree allowed him to work in special education, including a part-time job as an aide to a child with autism. That child's mom, Diane Bubel, convinced Aiken to audition for "American Idol." Together they now have a charity that supports children with autism.

Education is still important to him, and he keeps current with the field while traveling the country.

And he said he never imagined that his life could be as good as it is.

"Right now I'm at a friend's house in Vancouver," he said. "She lives on a cliff overlooking the bay and all I can see is water and these majestic mountains. I'm never going to expect things like this to happen."

He said that prior to "American Idol" he hadn't gone far from his Raleigh, N.C., home.

"Myrtle Beach is about as far as I had traveled," he said. "But now I've been to places like Indonesia and Uganda (as a UNICEF Ambassador)."

He will be home for Christmas, though.

"We'll be in Raleigh with the tour around Christmas," he said. "So I'll be home."

Clay Mentioned on ABC's Portland Affiliate

From the CB:

Well, PIGS ARE FLYING IN PORTLAND!!!!!! I'm sitting here at 5:45am on Thanksgiving morning catching up on e-mail before stuffing my turkey, and they had a little clip on the ABC local news about Thanksgiving being eclipsed by Christmas that seems to start earlier every year. So, they showed some stores decorated early in November etc., and what to my wondering eyes should appear but Clay singing from the Portland show, and they mentioned his name, and showed a clip or two of his show.........especially interesting because this wasn't FOX, and there was nary a peep from this station about his show........wonder where they got the video???? I hope that they show this clip again tonight for the news.....

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Carrie Fails to Dethrone Clay

Carrie Underwood's new album, Some Hearts, sold 315,000 copies in the first week, well below Clay's opening bow of 613,000 back in 2003 with Measure Of A Man, reports Billboard.

How does Underwood compare to other "Idol" winners? Kelly Clarkson's "Thankful" opened at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 with 297,000. Ruben Studdard's "Soulful" also debuted at No. 1 (417,000). Third-season winner Fantasia saw her "Free Yourself" glide in at No. 8 (240,000). Who has the biggest "Idol"-related haul? Second season runner-up Clay Aiken. His "Measure of a Man" bowed at No. 1 with 613,000 in its first week Humor Blog's daily humor blog mentioned Clay... Personally, I think Clay is a lot thudlier.

Celebrity Lookalikes???
The Funny Site of the Day -- Separated at birth? Sharp eyes at Cosmic Tribune have been looking for public figures' impersonators or, perhaps, those possessing an evil twin. Sure, we knew Lt. John Kerry and Pvt. Gomer Pyle were lookalikes, but Kerry and Herman Munster and Shrek's Donkey? Then there's Clay Aiken and Ed Grimley, Larry Flynt and Jabba the Hutt, (Faye Dunaway as) Joan Crawford and Michael Jackson, and numerous others. Check out this doubly indubitable photo gallery.

Clay Mention in Article About New Movie "Rent"

'Rent' could do with new landlord

Still, intermittently, the light bulb goes off and shines ever so brightly. An expanded version of the number "Tango: Maureen," in which budding filmmaker Mark (Anthony Rapp displaying a Clay Aiken adorability)

Clay Signed Leno Motorcycle Sold

The motorcycle Clay and 74 other celebrities signed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno has been sold for an astounding $500,000. All profits went towards the Red Cross' Hurricane Katrina fund. Clay appeared on the Tonight Show back in September to sign the motorcycle.

(PRLEAP.COM) ST. LOUIS – St. Louis got its first peek at the 2006 Harley-Davidson Road Glide, signed by more than 75 celebrities, when it was wheeled off a United Van Lines trailer at Doc's Harley-Davidson in Kirkwood, Mo. John Tlapek, a local private equity investor in St. Louis, Mo., purchased the motorcycle in an auction to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina. United loaded the motorcycle in a specially designed crate and transported it from Glendale, Calif., to the Midwest for delivery to Tlapek.
Tlapek appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" to pick up the keys to the motorcycle after winning it with his bid of $505,100. Proceeds from the auction went to the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Fund.
Signatures on the "Tonight Show's" Harley-Davidson tour motorcycle include Billy Crystal, Reese Witherspoon, Adam Sandler, Cameron Diaz, Chris Rock, Ellen DeGeneres, Denzel Washington, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Dr. Phil, Jodie Foster, Mel Gibson, Matthew McConaughey, Geena Davis, William Shatner, Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Charlie Sheen, Joaquin Phoenix, Bill Cosby, Adrien Brody, Matt LeBlanc, James Caan, Heather Locklear, Clay Aiken, Aaron Neville, Nicole Richie, Shaggy, Bonnie Raitt, Tracy Chapman and more.
United Van Lines transports electronic equipment, trade show exhibits and displays, works of art, and specialized freight, in addition to household goods. United, with headquarters located in suburban St. Louis, maintains a network of 1,000 affiliated agencies in 135 countries around the world. More information about United and its services can be obtained through the company's Web site at

Denton Hosting MAP, Article Mentions Clay

Short, positive Clay mention towards the end of the article about Clay's appearance on 2004's Miss America Pagent. 11/25 Update: This article is appearing everywhere since it is an Associated Press wire story and most media outlets syndicate the AP wire.

Denton to host Miss America pageant
Desperate Housewives actor James Denton arrives for the 33rd annual American Music Awards in Los Angeles in this Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2005 file photo. Denton will host the 2006 Miss America pageant in Las Vegas, show organizers announced Wednesday. Denton, a Nashville, Tenn., native who plays a hunky plumber on the ABC melodrama, will be the first to host the 85-year-old beauty pageant outside of Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, FILE)

LAS VEGAS -- James Denton, who plays a hunky plumber on ABC's "Desperate Housewives," will host the 2006 Miss America pageant, which is heading to the Las Vegas Strip in hopes of boosting ratings and updating the contest's image.

Country Music Television, a Nashville, Tenn.-based cable channel, will air the contest live from the Aladdin Resort & Casino on Jan. 21.

"As a star on TV's hottest show," Denton "brings excitement and class to the pageant," Art McMaster, chief executive of the Miss America Organization, said in a statement Wednesday.

The beauty pageant announced last week that it was moving to Las Vegas after 84 years in Atlantic City, N.J.

In recent years, the event has been dogged by financial troubles and slipping viewership. ABC dropped the show last year, leaving Miss America without a network TV contract for the first time since 1954.

Last year's Miss America master of ceremonies was Chris Harrison, host of reality TV show "The Bachelor." "American Idol" heartthrob Clay Aiken serenaded the winner with "There She Is" during her runway walk.

Clay Returing To Insider for Behind-The-Scenes Look at JNT

Clay's official fanclub says Clay will appear on The Insider next Tuesday, November 29 to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the tour. The segment was taped yesterday in Chicago.

11/22/05 / Clay on "The Insider"
The Insider takes a behind-the-scenes look at a day-in-the-life of Clay Aiken on the Joyful Noise 05 tour which should air on Tuesday, Nov. 29. (Pending breaking news, it's possible the story could get bumped back a day or two). If you think Clay just leisurely loafs around all day until it's time to show up on stage and sing, you'll be quite surprised to find out how busy he is before he hits the stage. On the day of his Chicago performance, he even served as a guest-hosted a segment on a behind-the-scenes look at that Clay Aiken guy on his Joyful Noise 2005 tour! The man never stops....if you don't believe, just tune in!

Clay's Birthday Mentioned in Associated Press Wire Story

The Associated Press mentions Clay's birthday in its weekly celebrity birthday article. This article is being distributed to media outlets around the world.

Celebrity Birthdays
Nov. 30: Actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr. is 88. Actor Robert Guillaume is 78. TV personality-producer Dick Clark is 76. Director Ridley Scott is 68. Singer Rob Grill of the Grass Roots is 62. Singer Luther Ingram is 61. Bassist Roger Glover of Deep Purple is 60. Actress Margaret Whitton is 55. Singer-actor Mandy Patinkin is 53. Guitarist Shuggie Otis is 52. Singer June Pointer of the Pointer Sisters is 52. Country singer Jeannie Kendall of The Kendalls is 51. Singer Billy Idol is 50. Guitarist John Ashton of Psychedelic Furs is 48. Comedian Colin Mochrie ("Whose Line Is It Anyway?") is 48. Rapper Jalil of Whodini is 42. Actor-director Ben Stiller is 40. Actress Sandra Oh is 35. Country singer Mindy McCready is 30. Singer Clay Aiken is 27. Actress Elisha Cuthbert ("24") is 23.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Merry Christmas With Love Charting on Billboard Again

Merry Christmas With Love has been on the Billboard 2005 Holiday's chart for 9 weeks now and made a huge leap from #31 to #12 this week. See the chart here.

Regis & Kelly Mending Fences

After the disastrous Clay-immitation this past Halloween, which angered many Claymates, Regis & Kelly mentioned Clay in this morning edition of their show, Live With Regis and Kelly.

From the CB:

Gelman was going over the ranking of R's album. They started with the Top 200 list, where R has gained...moved up about 10 or so slots.Regis was happy, natch.

Then they looked at the Holiday albums list. Last week when they looked at that, R was gloating that he was beating Clay Aiken ( made a joke of it, but R is sometimes serious behind the jokes, is he not?

So today Gelman had to tell R that Clay is now beating R on the Holiday list. I did not actually hear Gelman say Clay was #8 [maybe I missed that little bit.]

Anyway R joked in mock horror that that is the last time he will ever have Clay Aiken on the show (He WAS kidding, milking the moment!) and then Kelly joked that would be the last time she ever impersonates Clay Aiken on the Halloween show. They were playing it for laughs.

I saw it as all good. Go, Clay!

Clay Shown on Today Show 11/22

Clay participated in the Today's Show's 2004 Christmas toy drive.

From the CB:

A very brief glimpse of Clay & Susan Lucci is shown at the segment 8:30a start - shows some of previous "Santa's Helpers" who collected toys on the TODAY Show plaza!

Clay Has A "Whoopass" Bus

This was the plate seen on Clay's tourbus at last night's concert in Minneapolis. Hilarious!

Minneapolis Concert Mentioned on Weather Channel

From the CB's DigginClay:

Last night, around 7:30 pm est, as I'm flipping through the channels trying to find something to watch, I turn to the Weather Channel. I glanced at the tv, but continued my flipping. Then, I thought, wait....I know I just saw Clay's name on there. I quickly flipped back and see that they have this list of concerts and the weather for them. Top is U2, then Bruce Springsteen, then Clay Aiken in Minneapolis. They then proceed to mention the concerts and the weather forecast. (Finally some publicity! ) It was the coolest thing to see, first, Clay mentioned on the Weather Channel, and second, to see him in such great company. I was so happy! It was a wonderful Clay mention. I hope others saw it.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Watch Mary Did You Know Video from 2004 Special on WHAM-TV's Website

WHAM-TV Rochester uploaded last year's MDYK performance from A Clay Aiken Christmas and made it available on its site. This article accompanied the video.

Clay Aiken's DVD and CD

To the list of "Years Clay Aiken Will Never Forget," you can add "2004." As great as 2003 was for the singer born in Raleigh, North Carolina, 2004 has been even more spectacular, topped off with the release of a new Christmas CD and his first book. As the year comes to a close, Aiken embarks on his fourth tour of the U.S. in the last 18 months - this time it's a holiday tour to support his new album, "Merry Christmas With Love."

There's also his first network hour-long special. "A Clay Aiken Christmas", that airrf on NBC-TV Dec. 8th. Showcasing holiday songs from his CD, it featured special guest stars Barry Manilow, gospel singer Yolanda Adams and “Will & Grace” star Megan Mullally.

Clay's Christmas tour began Nov. 21 in Pasadena, Calif. In some locales, like Atlanta, Clay was accompanied by a local symphony or Philharmonic.

Clay's first book, "Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life," was published in hardcover by Random House. Asked to write a book, Clay declined to pen his biography at age 25. He opted for telling inspirational stories about people who had an impact on his life, either positively or negatively, and the lessons he learned from those experiences.

Clay's Christmas CD features some of his favorite holiday songs, including "O Holy Night" and " Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." The album was produced by Walter Afanasieff and Phil Ramone. This is the follow-up to Clay's debut CD, "Measure of a Man," called "the best pop album of 2003" by Billboard. Certified triple-platinum, that first album includes "This Is the Night," the best-selling single of 2003, and "Invisible," an airplay hit at top 40 radio.

One song that didn't appear on "Measure of a Man" was the Neil Sedaka/Phil Cody-penned "Solitaire," which was released as a commercial single in 2004, backed with "The Way." The single has sold over 320,000 copies to date, making it the second-best selling single of the year. It was No. 1 for nine weeks on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Sales chart.

Aiken's awards and achievements make for a very long list. Among the highlights: he won an American Music Award and a Billboard Music Award; he was musical guest on "Saturday Night Live" and appeared as himself in an episode of NBC-TV's "Ed"; he graduated from UNC Charlotte with a degree in special education; and he still managed to devote a lot of his time to The Bubel/Aiken Foundation, which he created to foster inclusion of children with special needs.

Clay's amazing journey began at home in Raleigh, where his musical talent was evident as early as age three. His mother, Faye, worked at a local Sears, and Clay would stand up on the carpet samples and sing a song for a dollar. He joined the Raleigh Boys Choir and then his own school choir and was cast in high school musicals like "Leader of the Pack," "Oklahoma!" and "The Music Man." One summer he landed a role in a dinner theater production of "The Sound of Music."

When he enrolled in college, music took a back seat. He studied special education and worked with individuals with autism. Clay planned his life out: he would teach for six years and then go to William & Mary to get a Masters Degree. He figured by the time he was 50, he would be a high school principal. It didn't quite work out that way. Clay was assigned to the Bubel family in Charlotte, N.C., to take care of their 17-year-old autistic son, Mike. It was Mike's mother, Diane, who insisted Clay try out for "American Idol." Clay preferred "The Amazing Race" but said he would follow Diane's suggestion if she would stop nagging him. It turns out that Diane had the right idea, but the television series was just the beginning of Clay Aiken's career. He is a bona fide success on the charts, on the road and in the hearts of millions of devoted fans.

Braiken News From JFL Regarding Sophomore Album/Back For More

The CB's SngBrd1980 bumped into executive producer Jaymes Foster-Levy in a B&N store in Kansas City today and offered new info to us.

I was blessed enough to run into Jaymes Foster Levy in Barnes and Noble in Kansas City today. She was gracious enough to take time out to talk with me and wanted me to pass along this information about the new CD. She says that it will come out in late spring but definitely before summer. And that BFM is definitely on it. SO, it sounds like we have a little while to wait but that it will be WELL worth it!

New Info About FOX Special "Dear Santa"

As we've reported on various occasions this month, Clay will be appearing on a new mini-reality-Christmas-series called Dear Santa.

The New York Daily news offered us some more information on the show today.

Fox plays Santa with new Christmas special

Snow, rain, heat or gloom of night may be no match for the courageous couriers of the U.S. Postal Service, but lack of a zip code is.
So every year thousands of "Dear Santa" dispatches addressed to the "North Pole" end up in the Dead Letter Office.

This holiday season, the Postal Service teams up with Fox to make wishes come true for little letter writers. "Dear Santa," premiering Dec. 9 at 8 p.m., answers some of the more altruistic "All I want for Christmas letters."

"The whole spirit of Christmas is giving," said executive producer Robert Riesenberg, "so we were looking for stories and letters that were selfless, No. 1, and where the kids were asking to help others and not themselves - and there were a lot of those."

For instance, Hannah, 10, writes that she wouldn't mind meeting Hilary Duff, but what she really wants is to make the holiday special for sick kids. Anika, 7, wants her dad, who is fighting the war in Iraq, home for Christmas. Anastasia, 7, dreams of being a doctor, but her family's dire economic straits makes paying for higher education a long shot.

Hannah does get to meet Duff - at a party for the kids at Shriners hospital in Chicago. Anika's dad is given a holiday leave and a party on a Seattle Army base complete with a live performance by Clay Aiken. And Anastasia is awarded a college scholarship and a surprise visit from "That's So Raven" star Raven Simone.

There will be a companion CD featuring new and classic holiday tunes from Alicia Keys, Nick Lachey and "American Idol" finalist and erstwhile postal employee Vonzell Solomon.

The goal, said Riesenberg, is to make "Dear Santa" an annual television offering. "I think my whole life I always felt bad for the [kids] who wrote those letters," said Riesenberg. "This is one of those pull- at-your-heart-string stories that was perfect for the holidays."

3rd Grader Shares Her Story About Being On Stage With Clay

Published by the North County Time's Californian Edition today. Chelsea Doyle was part of Clay's backing choir at the San Diego concert earlier this month.

Menifee girl performs with Idol Clay Aiken
By: CRAIG SHULTZ - Staff Writer

MURRIETA ---- When Clay Aiken took the stage in San Diego earlier this month, 8-year-old Chelsea Doyle of Menifee was standing right behind him.

Chelsea, a third-grader at Calvary Chapel School, was joined by Murrieta's Troy Huffman, 11, and adults Monica Iverson of Temecula and Angela Sanicola of Lake Elsinore as backup singers during Aiken's San Diego Civic Theatre stop of his "Joyful Noise" holiday tour.

Chelsea hopes to someday have a career like Aiken has forged since being the runner-up in the 2003 "American Idol" competition.

Aiken is selecting local back-up performers during the stops on his national tour and Nonie Hilgesen, Chelsea's music teacher at Calvary Chapel and private voice coach, got word of the project and signed up her protege.

Chelsea pushed a sled onstage during a winter scene and was also in a church scene as part of the three-hour performance in the 2,967-seat theater.

The performance is not a typical concert. It was set up like a Broadway show and has a Christmas theme.

" I ... decided to write some scripted dialogue that links these songs together to keep me from looking like a fool up there on stage," Aiken told an entertainment reporter before the show. "It's sort of like a pageant. There's no deep character development, but it tells a traditional Christmas story."

Chelsea said Aiken was friendly, chatting and joking with the backup singers. She took home an autograph on Aiken's "Merry Christmas With Love" holiday CD.

"Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, it's him, it's him," Chelsea said of the reaction by the performers when they saw Aiken backstage.

She said she was a bit nervous before the show, but that went away once the curtain rose.

Chelsea, who said she has been singing "since I was born," has a deep voice that belies her blonde hair and blue eyes.

"She's a little girl with soul," Hilgesen said. "She has incredible potential. She has a natural vibrato. She's very teachable musically."

Chelsea has performed in recitals and shows at churches and school and she will have a solo in Calvary Chapel's Christmas production on Dec. 13.

The Cole Canyon Fine Arts Club presented 'A Tribute to Broadway' Wednesday and Thursday. It was a student production with children from the Cole Canyon Fine Arts Club singing and dancing, a performance by principal Karen Michaud, and backdrops painted by parents at the school.

Steve Thornton /Staff photographer

Cole Canyon Elementary School students dance to the music of the 1950s during the school's 'A Tribute to Broadway' Thursday.

Cole Canyon students perform a percussion production called 'Stomp' during 'A Tribute to Broadway.'

Another Interview To Be Published Thursday By Reading Eagle

The Reading Eagle will publish another new interview with Clay in its Thursday edition, according to the CB's scrpkym:

I was Wrapping for Inclusion at Toys R Us last night, and we had a very interesting customer. A woman came up to our table. She didn't want anything wrapped, but she wanted to give a donation "if she could find any cash" So, as she was digging through her purse, she told us she was a journalist and that she interviewed Clay a couple weeks ago.

Well, that sure got our attention! She said her article would be in the Reading Eagle on Thursday, so we have to make sure we look for it! And then she went on to tell us a couple tidbits.

She said that she's interviews a lot of people, and she can tell who the genuine ones are. She said Clay is definitely one of them, and then added "you know, he's VERY funny!" She also said that he was a chatterbox, and that his publicist had to get on the line and tell him to wrap it up, to which he said, "I just have to tell her one more thing!"

Apparently Clay also told her that it was his birthday the night he would be in Reading, and that he is "expecting presents" We said, "don't worry -- he'll be getting PLENTY of presents!" My friend showed her the birthday light we had made, and she thought that was pretty neat.

It was so fun talking to her, and hearing her impression of Clay. She seemed very impressed, and was very generous in her gift to WFI, even though she didn't have anything wrapped.

As she was walking away, she said, "So are you guys all Claymates?" to which we all responed with an enthusiastic "YES!"

So, look for her article on Thursday in the Reading Eagle, She said it would be on the cover of the Entertainment section, and would most likely be on their website as well. We told her that we would be sure to read it. She was a very nice lady. She told us her name, but I'm sorry to say that I forget it. But, I'm sure she's written a very positive article! I can't wait to read it!

William Joseph Article

William Joseph is a pianist and is currently on tour with Clay.

LDS piano virtuoso a rising star
By Valerie Chapman Daily Universe Staff Reporter - 21 Nov 2005

William Joseph is currently on tour with Clay Aiken, promoting his album, "Within."Opening for Clay Aiken at the Delta Center to an audience full of screaming, crazy fans would feel out-of-place for most classical pianists, but not William Joseph.

Joseph's repertoire extends from classical pieces such as "Ave Maria" to rock classics like Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" and Kansas' "Dust in the Wind." calls Joseph "blessed with a forceful technique and an ear for drama that recalls [Roger] Williams in his prime, and approaches his material with a …crowd-pleasing verve that occasionally invokes 1970s prog-rock excesses without apology."

Joseph is a 25-year-old LDS piano virtuoso from Phoenix. He is currently on the "Joyful Noise" tour with Clay Aiken promoting his debut album, "Within."

Along with Joseph's renditions of classic rock hits, "Within" also includes four original songs Joseph co-wrote with his producer, David Foster. Joseph said his inspiration to write is a combination of perspiration and inspiration.

"It's God-given, but it's still me expressing myself," Joseph said. "I've always had a passion for [song-writing]."

Joseph said he began playing piano when he was 4 years old. His parents told him he was watching the show "Fraggle Rock" and when the theme song came on, he grabbed his toy piano and began playing the song with both hands. His parents immediately knew they needed to get him lessons.

The first person they called from the phone book happened to be a graduate from Leningrad Conservatory in Russia, one of the best music schools in the world. He studied classical piano with her for 13 years, and at age 8 received a national scholarship through the Boys and Girls Club which helped pay for all the lessons and music camps he needed to improve his skills.

When he was 18, he decided he wanted to serve a mission, despite his heavy involvement in music and his rising career.

"I knew I had to go on a mission," Joseph said. "Forget your music, forget your career, just do this. That was the spiritual turning point in my life."

Joseph served in the Perth, Australia Mission where he had the opportunity to participate in and organize many musical meetings and firesides. He was even able to record "Seeds of Hope," a peace-anthem song raising money for the Kosovo refugees living in refugee camps in Australia.

Despite the many musical opportunities Joseph had on his mission, he said he tried to keep things in perspective.

"I always wanted to be the missionary who played the piano, instead of the pianist who played the missionary," Joseph said. "So I always wanted to make sure that it didn't get out of hand."

After his mission, Joseph picked up right where he left off. His career began to take off when he was introduced to legendary producer David Foster at a charity event in Phoenix. Foster is the producer for artists Josh Groban, Michael Buble and Renee Olstead, so when Joseph was given the chance to play a song he had written for Foster, he knew it would make or break his career.

Foster was impressed by Joseph's talent and invited Joseph to open the charity event, which featured performances by Rod Stewart and Reba MacIntyre. Foster remains impressed with Joseph's musical skills today.

"I love William's musicality, his writing and the magic he weaves on the piano," Foster said. "He has a unique gift the whole world should hear."

The "Joyful Noise" tour will not extend to the whole world, but comes close. Between Nov. 3 and Dec. 30, Joseph will travel through 21 states and play 31 concerts. Joseph said he enjoys touring but admits it is hard to be away from his wife and two boys, ages 1 and 3, for such a long time.

"I try to make it as comfortable as I can for them while I'm gone," Joseph said. "My biggest challenge in my career will be figuring out the right balance. The Lord and my family come first."

Though the "Joyful Noise" tour will most likely skyrocket Joseph's career, he said he eventually wants to settle down and perhaps go to a university to study music composition.

"I want to be in a position where I can spend as much time with my family as I can," Joseph said. "Ultimately, I would love to be a writer so I can stay home with my family."

Sunday, November 20, 2005

AD: Raleigh, NC

NC Republican Party Uses Clay as It's "poster child" -- Democrats

Clay Aiken not a good GOP poster child, Democrats say
Winston-Salem Journal

Democrats said last week that Republicans might want to be more careful choosing the poster child for their fundraising efforts.

As part of a silent auction to raise money for the state GOP, Republicans offered two tickets to a Clay Aiken concert Dec. 22 at the RBC Center in Raleigh. The opening bid for the two seats was $120.

But Schorr Johnson of the N.C. Democratic Party saw a contradiction. "Interesting way to raise money - Clay Aiken's a registered Democrat!" Johnson said in an e-mail to reporters.

Johnson had registration records to show that Aiken is registered as a Democrat in Raleigh.

NJ Star-Ledger: Don't Watch "Best Of American Idol" DVD

NJ Star Ledger article on why we should not watch Clay and Kelly and Ruben, etc on the new American Idol DVDs coming out on Tuesday... Hmmmm... not a totally negative column, but it is a pointless one. Abridgement provided below.

'Idol' fun at others' expense
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Star-Ledger Staff

"The Best & Worst of 'American Idol': Seasons 1-4," (Capital Entertainment) Three discs. $34.98.

Some of these kids are just tone deaf and dumb.

If you buy the three-disc "The Best & Worst of 'American Idol': Seasons 1-4," skip the first, "best of" disc, with Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino and Carrie Underwood -- the winners, respectively, of the first four seasons of the Fox series -- runners-up Justin Guarini, Clay Aiken, Bo Bice and others.

Go directly to disc two, the "worst of" compilation. That's where the real action is, a perp walk of self-deluded singer after singer committing musical crime after musical crime, then compounding matters by insisting they were wronged.

Talented singers such as Clarkson et al. have always had a TV forum to prove themselves, whether "The Original Amateur Hour," a first collection of which appeared on DVD last week, or "Star Search."

Merry Christmas With Love Continues to Impress

Clay's 2004 Holiday disc, Merry Christmas With Love continues to perform well this holiday season after its record breaking first season, when it splashed onto the music charts as the bestselling Christmas CD in the first week in Billboard/Soundscan history as well as 2004's bestselling holiday album.

The CH's 43dudleyvillas updates us on the current situation:

Interrupting the discussion to confirm that MCWL's official Soundscan tally for the week ending 13 November 2005 is actually 8,400 exactly! That's an increase of 64% over last week, according to the chart. The cumulative Soundscan tally (not including sales at Christian retailers) is 1,026,152 copies sold, but the album has sold at least 1,053,992 copies (plus no more than a few hundred copies sold at Christian retailers between 2 January and 30 October 2005, in all likelihood). As hockeydonna posted at CV yesterday, MCWL retained the #11 ranking on this week's Billboard Top Holiday Albums chart.

New Interview with Louisville Courier-Journal

As promised to us last week, the Courier-Journal published this new interview in its arts section today.

Clay Aiken's 'joyful noise'
'American Idol' singer heralds the holidays

By Angie Fenton
The Courier-Journal

Clay Aiken won't be home for the holidays -- he'll be in Louisville.

The 26-year-old singer's "Joyful Noise 2005" tour stops in the River City this week on "Black Friday," the biggest shopping day of the year. While Aiken wasn't sure whether he'd take some time to check off a few names on his gift list while he's in town, the "American Idol" standout didn't mind sparing a few moments for an interview with us.

Q: Prior to your celebrity status, what did you look forward to most about this time of year?

A: We had family traditions not in the sense of, you know, strange things that nobody else does, but we had family traditions of getting together and spending time with family and friends and whatnot, like most of the country does. But we didn't go out and cut down our own Christmas tree or anything excitin' like that. My aunt always cooked for Thanksgiving, and she was pretty good. Other than that, the thing about Christmas as a child it was like, "Hello: present time."

Q: How have things changed?

A: I think as I've gotten older it's more about reflecting on the past year.

Q: What is the most favorite gift that you've ever given?

A: My father passed away the summer before I was on "American Idol." Right before he died, he had bought a car for my younger brother that he'd wanted for years. When he died, we weren't able to keep it (because of financial difficulties). …So, when I finished ("American Idol") and I was able to, I bought the car back for my brother. That was probably my favorite one.

Q: What about one that you've received?

A: When I was younger, my mom gave me a, like a little -- this isn't my favorite gift, but it's a funny story -- my mom gave me a clip-together model space shuttle or whatever it was. And I remember the next year -- I got that in, say, 1991 or whatever -- and then in '92, I opened up for Christmas a shuttle that was exactly the same and I said, "Mom, you gave me the same thing last year." And she said, "No, I gave you that very one last year." … I had never opened it, and she wrapped it again and gave it back to me.

Q: What is your favorite Christmas song?

A: It's tough because it changes, I guess, every 15 minutes. When I started recording this album, "Mary Did You Know?" was really one of my favorite ones, and last year during (his first holiday tour), "Don't Save It All for Christmas Day" kinda became my favorite, and this year, "Merry Christmas with Love," has such a significance to the show that it might be my favorite now. But who knows, tonight I might change my mind again.

Q: Do you have a least favorite?

A: Sometimes the hokey ones -- like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" -- for me, were great as a kid, but now I think I've outgrown 'em.

Q: Your fans aren't just enamored with you -- they really like you, and they admire your character….

A: Why? (laughs) They don't know me.

Q: They seem to think that they do, and they're not exactly subtle -- and I know this from personal experience -- when defending you to anyone who even appears to criticize you.

A: What did you do? C'mon, fess up. (laughs) … My fans, they get not only protective, but sometimes they get overly defensive, which is a good thing sometimes and not so good sometimes. I kind of have to take it as flattering that somebody is that interested and cares enough to do or say something like that. And they are very active. They're very active.

Q: When did you realize the Claymates were becoming such a powerful force?

A: I don't know when it happened. I guess when all of this kind of started for me it was so new and I was very sequestered and very closed away from the outside world. When I finally did get a chance to be released into the wild, it was a big surprise. Where did these people come from? I guess I always assumed it would go away. They'll be excited about me for a minute, and then they'll change their mind and move on to somebody else. Well, I guess maybe some part of me is still thinking that it's gonna happen, but it hasn't happened yet. It's all an enigma to me.

Q: Do you believe -- as author Terry Piper asserts in her book "The Invisible Revolution: Clay Aiken and the Fans Who Made Him a Star" -- that The Clay Nation is, in part, responsible for your success?

A: I think without a doubt. … Anybody would have to say they are where they are because of their fans. I think to a much greater extent for me because they're just that active.

Q: Have you measured up to your own expectations?

A: Yes. Because first of all, my expectations were not to be a celebrity or to be a singer. I didn't not want to, I didn't plan on it. …To the world's? I don't know. When you come out and the very first thing you do is successful, it sets you up for very high expectations. We'll see what happens with any future projects and hope that they do at least half as good, but my goal has been to do what I want to do and stay true to myself. That's what's important to me.

Q: Will you be kissing anyone beneath the mistletoe this season?

A: Oh, don't make me cry! (laughs) Probably not. My dog (Raleigh, a female border terrier) will probably lick my face, that's about it.

Clay Nation Sends Good Vibes to Clay, Band at Kansas City Concert

After the unfortunate events of the past few days (see Backup Singer Jacob Quits Tour, Nov 19), Claymates choose a very fitting way to cheer Clay and the rest of his band up. The KC (Kansas City) Claymates did the Clay Nation proud last night at the Midland Threatre in Kansas City by organizing a beautiful 'candle holding' segment during last night's Don't Save It All For Christmas. Clay and the crew were visible shaken, as they held back tears.

Also to be noted: Clay re-organized the show slightly, including expanded roles for Angela and Quiana, Clay's 2 remaining back-up singers and some stage shifting (read susandavis' fantastic Kansas recaps for more info).

MCWL in Circuit City Weekly Flyer

Merry Christmas With Love was advertised at $11.99 in this week's Circuit City flyer.

Thanks to ClayMountain for this scan (click to enlarge)

CDD supports:

Bubel Aiken Foundation GoodSearch for TBAF UNICEF