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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Another Clay Mention in Candorville

There's been another Clay mention in the Candorville comic strip today... (see the first mention here). We'll have to see whether this will be a recurring 'role' for Clay, like Luann throughout much of 2004 and 2005.

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American Idol Magazine's Superb ATDW Review

American Idol Magazine published a wonderful review of ATDW in their latest issue, with runner-up from season 5, Katharine McPhee on the cover. The issue (Volume 3, Issue 1) is now available on newsstands nationwide.

I picture two different groups of songwriters lining up outside Clive Davis' office, begging for a chance to be covered by Clay Aiken: those who have written new sterling ballads that deserve masterful delivery, and those who wrote classic pieces in another time that Clay can carry up the charts again in 2006.

These two groups feed right into Clay's third album, A Thousand Different Ways. This 14-track collection of memorable love songs from the past 30 years receives the classic Aiken touch of tender rearrangements, lilting melodies, and a voice from heaven that continues to grow and dazzle. Which is a good thing: For this effort Clay leapt off the cliff to cover songs by icons (Celine Dion, Elton John, Jon Bon Jovi, and Dolly Parton) and a host of former chart-toppers by familiar names among the over-35 crowd (Foreigner, Bryan Adams, Paul Young, Harry Nilsson, Richard Marx and Mister Mister).

Numerous songs stand out on this CD. Clay's rearrangement of "Everything I Do, (I Do It for You)" caught my ear because instead of trying to emulate Adams' raspy voice, he deepened the feeling with a wonderful Celtic sound. His rendition of Dion's "Because You Love Me" serves the song very well, while he gives us plenty of range in terms of both sensitivity to material and vocals with "Everytime You Go Away", "When I See You Smile", and "I Want to Know What Love Is". These songs might have started out in your parents' collections, but Clay just made them your songs. Buy them now.

- Mitch Velez
There were a few other mentions in the magazine too. Here's a summary courtesy the CB's JesBen:
  • "They had one page showing "other" career paths some of the idols have taken - from being on Broadway, being in a reality show, etc. Under the heading of "Authors," was Clay - along with Diana and Fantasia."
  • "They had a survey and one of the questions was, "Who is your favorite runner-up?" - listing the five runners-up."
  • "They asked who should be the next idol to be on the cover of the magazine."
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Faye Parker Helps Make Over Raleigh House on Popular ABC Show

Clay's mom, Faye Parker, recently put her home designer background to work, helping decorate the interior of a home built by ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in downtown Raleigh.

The Raleigh News & Observer mentions:

Some walls in the large master bedroom are papered with a black paisley design. The draperies are white satin with a 21-inch black border around the bottom, said Faye Parker, who helped with the home's window dressings. (Yes, Clay Aiken fans, Parker is the "American Idol" runner-up's mom, and no, Parker says, he will not be featured on the show. "He was excited I was doing it," she said. "He said, 'Go for it, Mom.' ")
No word on whether Ms. Parker will be featured during the actual show itself, but make sure you tune into ABC TOMORROW AT 8 PM in most regions.

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Tidbits 1/20

Dig Clay's video for "Without You" at Yahoo! Music.
  • Clay jumps up to #10 on the Lycos50! Woohoo! Keep searching, Claymates!
  • Clay bloged last night to congratulate the winner of the fanclub wallpaper design contest. If you are a fanclub member, go check it out!
  • Associated Press wire - I think they have their dates wrong here since Clay appeared on the Miss America Pagent in 2003... anyhow....
    Others note that Miss America has been here before. In 2001, after the "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" craze, producers introduced a quiz show segment. Coupled with a casual wear competition and a Clay Aiken performance, pageant watchers frequently described this as the dark period. The makeover didn't keep Miss America from being dropped by ABC.
  • Radar Magazine Online - celebs inundate Africa... "Clay Aiken in Uganda"
  • Foxes on Idol - Idol sales slump continues.

  • American Idol Worship on American Idol 6's poor results in Minneapolis and Seattle:
    Since Clay Aiken’s version of “Unchained Melody” stands as a shining moment of AI history, hearing it butchered two nights in a row has made me run for my iPod to hear Clay blow away the audience once again.
  • The ConCLAYve talks about Clay's radio dilemma and the world of music not heard on radio.
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Friday, January 19, 2007

Clay to Be on The Jimmy Kimmel Show on Valentines Day

According to, Clay will be a guest on the Jimmy Kimmel on Valentines Day, February 14!! Now this is some extremely exciting news!! It does not say whether or not Clay is singing, but I wouldn't be surprised if he does. In fact, I'll be surprised if he doesn't sing!

Click on the iota link above and you can get your tickets for the show. Better hurry, though, because you know how quickly Clay's shows sell out!

Mark your calendars in big bold letters so you won't forget to watch and video Clay on Jimmy Kimmel's show on February 14.

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People: Revenge of the Runner Ups!

Clay's featured in a People Magazine photo special on American Idols:


Season 2 Runner-Up
Ask the "Claymates" and they'll tell you 2003's real Idol was not Ruben Studdard but Aiken, 28, who recently released his third album A Thousand Different Ways. Despite some bumps in the road (his Kelly Ripa encounter!), Aiken continues to hit the right notes. But there's something else he'd like to accomplish: starting a family. "I want to be a father so badly," he told PEOPLE in September.
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Tidbits 1/19

Miss the shirt tug? We do too... the above is just a random picture to keep CDD decorated during this drought. :)

  • Clay mention on TRL! - From placl8 at Clayversity:
    TRL was doing a piece on AI and Sungen Park said that AI5's finale was better than the actual show was (or something to that affect). They showed Clay's part in the finale first and mentioned his name!....Very Nice!!
  • Clay was mentioned on Rosie O'Donnell's blog today:
    Q: Hey Rosie! I absolutely love you. Im addicted to ‘The View’ now. Who’s your favorite American Idol winner?? I think it’s a tie between Kelly and Carrie. What do you think?

    A: love kellie
    love clay
  • American Idol related mentions today:
    • Associated Press wire article - "But "American Idol" can legitimately claim to mint new pop stars, like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Clay Aiken and "Golden Globes" winner Jennifer Hudson."
    • Buffalo News -
      On "American Idol," the winner of the contest is chosen by you, the viewer. No offense, television-watching masses, but "New Pop Visionary" is not interested in what you think. You've had your chance, America! And you gave us Clay Aiken.
    • A bunch of ratings mentions and how the Clay-Ruben AI2 finale is still on top - Newsday, Lexington Herald Leader, New York Post, iFMagazine, The Celebrity Cafe.
  • Detroit News - Comic jokes about his Clay Aiken CD diet ... ???
    His 2004 appearance on the "The View" made news when he said of the American Idol runner-up: "I'm on the Clay Aiken diet. That's where you pop in a Clay Aiken CD and try to keep food down," he quipped.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Wrapping For Inclusion Raises $62,549.75 For The Bubel Aiken Foundation

From the end of November right up until Christmas Day, Clay fans all over the country are busily involved in The Bubel Aiken Foundation's program known as "Wrapping For Inclusion".
These fans and their volunteers wrap gifts for the customers of such stores as Barnes and Noble, Borders Books, Toys R Us, and even in malls. Though the wrapping is free, the customers can leave donations for the foundation if they would like. This year, the grand total of donations for Wrapping For Inclusion is $62,549.75!!

Once BAF has collected all donations from the City Team Leaders in each state, the total is listed on the WFI page at their website. Here is the breakdown by state:

North Carolina: $12,959.21
Illinois: $12,943.95
Massachusetts: $4904.44
Arizona: $4347.97
California: $4341.41
New York: $3712.48
New Jersey: $3185.14
Pennsylvania: $2261.91
Iowa: $1852.60
Oklahoma: $1444.53
Rhode Island: $1426.43
Ohio: $1297.50
Washington: $1209.28
Kansas $1183.75
Missouri: $1121.34
Texas: $943.29
Florida: $680.00
Hawaii: $655.36
Maine: $507.38
Kentucky: $333.58
Nebraska: $253.17
Oregon: $188.90
Virginia: $185.39
Minnesota: $150.00
Connecticut: $116.88
Indiana: $90.95
New Hampshire: $74.62
Colorado: $71.49
Wisconsin: $56.80
North Dakota: $50.00

As always, the Bubel Aiken Foundation is very helpful to all those who volunteer for their projects. They also had some really nice things to say to all the volunteers this year:


*We would like to send a hearty THANK YOU to all the state coordinators, city team leaders, and volunteer wrappers for your efforts this year for all the children who will benefit from inclusion.

*We have witnessed first-hand and through your calls, letters, and emails how much passion you have for inclusion. Your energy for the cause is unmatched.

*If you happened not to get in your donations yet, please send them in still. Thank you so much for your timely attention to returning the paperwork and banners. We also look forward to receiving your evaluations. Your constructive feedback will help us continue to grow this annual project.

*There is no way to thank you as much as we would like. We hope that your 2007 is one filled with many blessings, and we look forward to working with you again in WFI 2007.
Wrapping For Inclusion is about spreading the word about BAF and inclusion and also collecting donations for its projects. But another great thing I've found from personally being involved is the new friends you make.

If you haven't thought about doing WFI, or if you have thought about it, check with BAF and find out who your state coordinator is. Sign up to help for next year. Its not hard to do and it really takes very little of your time.

It's a wrap for 2006's Wrapping For Inclusion. But its never too early to think about next year!! It'll be time to wrap again before you know it!

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Clay Mention in Candorville Comic Strip

Clay was mentioned in a Candorville comic strip earlier this week. Cute!

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tidbits 1/18

Clay is featured alongside other idols over at Yahoo Music.
  • Long Island Press - Clay's Meghan Mullally Show appearance is repeating on January 24. The show has since been canceled.
  • Rocktown Weekly discovers why celebs don't like Evian water -
    Folks as diverse as Ashlee Simpson, Clay Aiken, Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Kerry and K-Fed all ban the stuff.
    What’s up? says it’s because probably because of a rumor involving the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
    They tracked down a celebrity caterer who says, yes, stars really are stupid enough to fall for the rumor that a radiation cloud from the Ukrainian power plant meltdown contaminated Evian’s water source in France.
  • More AI mentions:
    • Indiana Daily Student News - 'Idol' Fast Forward
      By Colin Dugdale has this to say about Clay:
      After powerhouse Tamyra Grey, from the first season, was voted off prematurely, I became skeptical about the legitimacy of the voting process. My suspicions were validated the next season, when two-ton Ruben Studdard was crowned the victor and Clay Aiken was given the silver medal. But where are they now? Clay Aiken recently released his third CD to national fanfare, and Ruben is working at the IU Bookstore.
    • Reality TV World - 'American Idol 5' Rejects Making Music and Staying Out Of Trouble by Christopher Rocchio looks at what some of the past people who tried out for American Idol are now doing. Clay is mentioned in a paragraph about Michael Sandeki:
      Who could forget Michael Sandecki, the "Clay Aiken Doppelganger" who was joined on-stage by the Idol 2 runner-up during the show's May 24, 2006 fifth season finale? While he was visibly surprised at the chance to meet Aiken, Sandecki said he did some post-Idol soul searching.
    • Santa Monica Mirror -
      Fox’s American Idol is now a reliable and non-stigmatized way to pick a super-star. Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks and this year’s sensation, Jennifer Hudson – plucked from obscurity and thrust headlong into the awards race. She may win an Oscar this year.
    • Cincinnati Ledger-Enquirer -
      Tuesday's two-hour show earned a spot as Fox's second-biggest entertainment show ever, behind the Ruben Studdard-Clay Aiken "Idol" finale in 2003, according to McClatchy newspapers. It also marks the biggest ratings night for any entertainment show on television since the "Friends" finale in May 2004.
    • New York Post repeats yesterday's Hollywood Reporter AI article mentioning Clay:
      Runner-up, positive pop prince, Clay Aiken has undoubtedly surpassed the velvet-voiced teddy bear who beat him, Ruben Studdard, in terms of headlines, recent album sales and strength of fan base.
    • Bodog BEAT -
      The Fox reality TV show, which has been the nation’s most watched series for the past three years, saw its first episode of 2007 top the 2003 finale, when Clay Aiken beat Ruben Studdard. With so many people tuning in, Tuesday’s episode became the most watched installment in the show’s history.
    • Earth Times - another similar mention.
    • The Common Voice - what if American Idol judged weight loss instead of singing? "That's why livin' la vida low-carb has such potential to help millions of people. It's the Carrie Underwood, Clay Aiken, and Taylor Hicks of the dieting world for a whole lotta people. The best of the best, shining examples of what embodies the very essence of success."
  • Kelly Ripa/Clay/O'Donnell mentions (yes... 2 months later!!!)
    • Parthenon Times - "Also, you may remember it wasn't that long ago when Rosie also made a rude comment concerning Kelly Ripa and her recent guest Clay Aiken."

  • Taking A Moment - while we're going through this drought, it's ok for a Claymate to dream and fantasize, right?
    And as the gentle, handsome and charismatic Lord Aiken began to woo her, all the ladies in the street had to take a moment and reflect on the line of his jaw, or the cut of his cheekbones, or the plumpness of his lips, or the way his expertly-tailored breeches showcased his gracefully refined buttockal area, and they began to swoon in unison, like drunken swallows over a meadow on a hot summery night.
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Clay Featured In January 2007 BMG Music Service Flyer

Clay's been featured again on the cover of BMG's Music Service January 2007 flyer. A few weeks ago, we told you Clay was featured on a special New Years edition of the monthly flyer.

Thanks to pebblesinmichigan for the scan.

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claysbuttercup99's Cute New Blog - "My Life As A Claymate"

We're always excited when we get new "neighbors" her on Blogger, especially when the neighbor shares the same interest in Clay Aiken. Make sure you head on over to claysbuttercup99's new blog, My Life As A Claymate soon.

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Winner of Fanclub Wallpaper Contest Announced

The official fanclub has announced the winner and runner-up of their Wallpaper contest. The winner's entry hasn't been officially unveiled yet, but the fanclub says the wallpaper will be available to fanclub members under the Extras section soon.

01/17/07 : Clay Aiken Wallpaper Contest Winner!
By Team Clay

Thanks to everyone who showed us amazing amounts of creativity by submitting an entries for the Clay Aiken Wallpaper Contest -- all of the wallpapers were fantastic, and Clay had a hard time narrowing it down to only one!

Congratulations to the grand-prize winning fan club member, RStanley, whose winning wallpaper will soon be available in the EXTRAS section of the fan club for members to download!

Clay would also like to honorably mention, Betty897X, who submitted an excellent wallpaper design and made the final decision very difficult.

Be sure to stay tuned to fan club news to see the winning wallpaper photo unveiled in the extras section in the next week.
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UNICEF Banner With Clay Is On Court TV Website

As you know, Clay and other UNICEF Ambassadors are doing PSA's for UNICEF. These PSA's, which can be seen at UNICEF's website, tell statistics concerning children in other countries and how UNICEF is reaching out to help them and how each individual can also help.

Hotclay posted in a Clayboard thread a screencap of a UNICEF poster with Clay in it that she found at the Court TV website. This is also a part of UNICEF's goal to make the needs of these children known by using well known ambassadors, such as Clay, to speak on their behalf.

It makes me so proud to be a Clay fan and to be able to help him and UNICEF spread the word about these children. As Clay's banner says, "You can create a better future for the world's children".

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Tidbits 1/17

  • The CB's ClayBearLady says a commentator on FOX Sports mentioned Clay's name during a Red Wings game on the network -- "Something known by Clay Aiken, if you get off to a quick start...well, who knows!" ... this probably has something to do with Clay's #2 finish on Idol.
  • Lycos Top 50 - This week Clay has gone up to #10 from last week's position of #21. That is a jump of 11 in one week! This is his highest jump in quite a while!
  • American Idol sees a big season opener, with over 37.3 million viewers... we've got tons of articles and many of them have Clay mentions:
    • Hollywood Reporter/Variety- "The top ratings performer was the May 21, 2003, telecast between Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard that averaged 38.1 million viewers and a 16.8/37."
      "Idol" averaged a monster 37.3 million viewers and a 15.7 rating/36 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to preliminary data released today (Jan. 17) by Nielsen Media Research. That was up 5% in viewers and 3% in adults 18-49 compared to last year's premiere, which in itself was no slouch (35.5 million, 15.3/34). But even more stunning, it was the second-best telecast for "American Idol" since it debuted in the summer of 2002. The top ratings performer was the May 21, 2003, telecast between Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard that averaged 38.1 million viewers and a 16.8/37.
    • Blogcritics - "Then we're shown clips of the most successful Idol contestants, as images of Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Fantasia, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Hicks, and Chris Daughtry flash before the screen."
    • Reuters -
      Win or lose -- and either result has made stars out of 2006 4th placed Chris Daughtry, 2003 runner-up Clay Aiken and 2004 7th placed Jennifer Hudson -- for the 12 eventual finalists, "Idol" is primarily about the music and about people power.
    • CanMag -
      The only other Idol episode to do better was the season finale between Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken. I don't know about you, but I voted for Aiken. (see my bumper sticker)
    • Indiana Daily Student -
      After powerhouse Tamyra Grey, from the first season, was voted off prematurely, I became skeptical about the legitimacy of the voting process. My suspicions were validated the next season, when two-ton Ruben Studdard was crowned the victor and Clay Aiken was given the silver medal. But where are they now? Clay Aiken recently released his third CD to national fanfare, and Ruben is working at the IU Bookstore.
    • Contact Music - "Only CLAY AIKEN and RUBEN STUDDARD's final sing-off in May, 2003, brought American Idol more viewers - 38.1 million fans tuned in for that. "
    • United Press International wire- "The only other "Idol" telecast to rate higher was the May 2003 season finale between Reuben Studdard and Clay Aiken."
    • Actress Archives - "That's up 5% over last year's season premiere and only below the season two finale, in which Ruben Studdard beat Clay Aiken, in the series history. That episode aired in May of 2003."
    • E! News - "The premiere came within about 800,000 viewers of tying the May 2003 Ruben Studdard-Clay Aiken finale and vying for the title of most watched Idol ever."
    • Mercury News blogs - "The two-hour premiere drew an average audience of 37.3 million, the second-largest in the show's history after the 2003 finale with Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard."
    • Billboard- "The top ratings performer was the May 21, 2003, telecast between Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard that averaged 38.1 million viewers and a 16.8/37."
    • (New Zealand) -
      Win or lose – and either result has made stars out of 2006 4th placed Chris Daughtry, 2003 runner-up Clay Aiken and 2004 7th placed Jennifer Hudson – for the 12 eventual finalists, Idol is primarily about the music and about people power.
    • Florida Today - In an article entitled, "Can You Identify the Faces of 'American Idol'", it says of Clay:
      "We remember Kelly Clarkson, the first “ Idol” winner. But can you name the second? Bet you remember the second season’s runner-up. That was Clay Aiken, who gets more buzz than any of them. He’s been to the King Center in Melbourne twice and sold out both shows fast as lightning."
    • USA Today/ Forbes -
      No wonder New York native Mario Vazquez, a favorite of season four, bailed out after becoming a finalist. A year later — once his existing contract with American Idol lapsed — Vasquez resurfaced with an Arista record deal and a hit single, Gallery. Though he cited personal reasons for quitting Idol, the unprecedented move immediately sparked talk that Vazquez thought he'd do better as a free agent. Vazquez's lawyer, by the way, is also Clay Aiken's and helped the season two runner-up sever his contract with 19 Entertainment.
    • SFGate - "There was a quick clip with Clay Aiken looking a lot like Opie Taylor at his audition, then another clip of him post-makeover. To get to this point, the Fox mega-hit had auditioned some 100,000 people in seven American cities."
    • Mercury News on the AI5 finale -
      And when Clay Aiken showed up, it was not to sing ``Invisible'' or any of the tepid tunes he has belted out as a solo artist but to take another run at ``Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me.''
    • Philly Burbs -
      All signs did not point to “Success” for Minneapolis. Seacrest started off the night blaming us “American Idol” viewers for turning Clay Aiken into k.d. lang and for making Kellie Pickler a household name. Paula was virtually muted, and the Dawg was neutered.
    • New York Post - "Runner-up, positive pop prince, Clay Aiken has undoubtedly surpassed the velvet-voiced teddy bear who beat him, Ruben Studdard, in terms of headlines, recent album sales and strength of fan base. "
    • Buddy TV -
      Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Clay Aiken...all have achieved at least a modicum of fame. Last night, former Idol Jennifer Hudson won a Golden Globe award in the Best Supporting Actress category for her role in the musical Dreamgirls. If there was any doubt that Idols could make it in the entertainment business, it has certainly been erased.
    • Point Spreads -
      Following Clarkson, Ruben Studdard emerged as the winner of Season 2 despite a controversy over the accuracy of reported results. Regardless of losing to Studdard, runner-up Clay Aiken has gone on to release three albums since appearing on Idol.
    • Minneapolis - St. Paul Star Tribune (very small mention)
    • Minneapolis - St. Paul Tribune - another mention - "Only the showdown between Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard in May 2003 attracted a larger audience."
    • Electric New Paper (Singapore) on Taylor Hicks -
      Hicks' album sold a respectable 298,000 copies in the US, putting him behind first-week figures of American Idol alumni Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard, Carrie Underwood and even Daughtry. However, he topped entries by Kelly Clarkson and Fantasia.
    • Dallas Fort-Worth Star Telegram - "You the voting viewers are also responsible for Clay Aiken, the most famous loser in Idol history. His fans are called Claymates, although we prefer Clay Pigeons."
  • - On this page are pictures of some of the more popular idols of the past 5 years. Of course, Clay's pic is on there. Click on it to make it a little larger. And, if you scroll down to the very bottom of the page, you can nominate your favorite Idol for the Hall Of Fame by typing their name in the space and a brief description of why they should be in the hall of fame. Then click "submit". Let's vote Clay in!!

  • Foxes on Idol article about Simon Cowell's X Factor show... small Clay/BOTW mention.
  • Indiana Daily Student - politics/Iraq article, mentions: "They were both pilots who served our country (in theory), they both have an unhealthy fascination with Saddam Hussein and they both abhor a vegetable or a fruit -- the elder hating broccoli and the younger hating Clay Aiken." uh... ok.
  • Carolina on My Mind - celebrating with ATDW this Valentine's Day. Thanks to A Beautiful Mind for the beautiful banner.
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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Clay Leads American Idol 6 Season Premiere Intro Segment

Moments ago on the east coast, Clay lead the introduction package shown on the season premiere of American Idol. During the intro package, which was shown for several of the first minutes of the show, two Clay photos were shown: his Atlanta audition look and a screencap from last year's showstopping American Idol 5 finale appearance. Clay was followed with similar introductions for Ruben, Kelly, Fantasia, Carrie, Taylor and Katharine.

Here's a short clip of the mention:

American Idol still knows who's the real star!

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As we look toward another season of American Idol, Beavers on Idol has published a fantastic new article from Judy Simpson titled "Clay Aiken: the Man for All Seasons". Here's a sneak peak. Make sure you head on over to BOI to read the entire thing.

Now that the sixth season of American Idol is about to unfold, this is a good time to reflect on the past five. This is especially advisable for anyone with aspirations of competing on this and future seasons because there is certainly much to learn from observing past contestants. Five years is sufficient to note not only how contestants handled themselves or mishandled themselves during the competitions, but also how they have handled their careers since leaving the show. One conclusion easily reached is that, while winning the title American Idol is indeed something, clearly it isn't everything. Jennifer Hudson, a finalist on the third season, can confirm this; for, even though she didn't make it to that season finale, this didn't deter her from pursuing her career. The fact that she was chosen for a role in "Dreamgirls" over the AI winner from her season, Fantasia, demonstrates that falling short of votes on a television talent contest doesn't preclude one from rising to the occasion under different circumstances. With all due respect to Fantasia, whose own career has been enviable, Jennifer can boast she has realized her dream without the advantages of winning her season.

If Jennifer is the "American Idol dream girl," then Clay Aiken is undoubtedly the "American Idol dream boy." No other contestant in the history of the show has attained the level of success that Clay has achieved, given the obstacles and setbacks from the beginning he has met and overcome along his inspiring journey. Clay, like Jennifer, may have left AI without the title; however, he epitomizes the show's concept better than any other contestant. This was quite clearly demonstrated last summer when Clay made a brief surprise appearance on the AI-5 finale and, with the help of vocally-challenged Aiken impersonator, Michael Sandecki, provided an awe-inspiring moment that captured his transformation from ordinary guy into a bona fide American idol. Without saying a word, Clay's presence, his performance, and his interaction as well as others' reactions, during his brief appearance on that stage illustrated where he started, how far he's come, the size of his talent and his heart, his sense of humor, his compassion for others, and why he has become, in a real sense of the word, not only an American idol but a world-class idol.
Technorati tags: , , , , , Interview With Clay has published a new interview with Clay. You can read the interview in its entirety over at

Here are some highlights:

10 questions with Clay Aiken
Joel D. Amos

In the ever-crowded field of American Idol alumnus there are two that have towered over the rest -- first season winner Kelly Clarkson and second season runner-up Clay Aiken. Between record sales and concert tickets, those two performers shadow over the music industry, courtesy of a little television program, has been immense. Now that a few years have passed since Aiken proved nice guys finish second, he takes a few moments to reflect with SheKnows.
SheKnows: Considering this is officially your second album, why release a CD with songs made famous by others?
Clay Aiken: It wasn't our intention to do it this way. But we started noticing that so many of the greatest songs we were finding were cover songs. Clive made the suggestion and thought it would be a great idea to remake the greatest love songs of all time. When Clive Davis has an idea you have to assume its going to be great. So we listened to him and gave it a shot.

SK: In the last year the focus, in terms of the public eye, for Clay Aiken seemed to be about his hair, his latest suit, the floored American Idol fan, (and recently—Kelly Ripa), how thrilled are you to have the Clay Aiken focus on your music again?
CA: (Laughs) I think that part of the focus on "Clay Aiken" is always going to be on how weird he looks! Part of the phenomenon is that this skinny, dorky looking white kid could be transformed into something moderately presentable! (Laughs) I hope that people have always been able to look past the exterior and hear me sing. Or, at least, be able to say "He may look weird, but he can sing well!"

SK: Larry King made you laugh the other night after playing a clip of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and called it 'the second place song.' Your success seems to have given a shot of confidence to anyone who finishes in American Idol's Top 10 ever since. Do you take pride in that?
CA: I remember being back on Idol when we were in the top 144. We all thought that when we made the top 32 we were set. We would never have to work another day in our lives. Then when we were in the top 32 we thought our lives would be over if we didn't make it to the top 12. Then we thought the only way to make it would be to be in the top two. But the truth of the matter is that Idol is a stepping stone no matter where you make it. There are individuals who have made it all the way to the top three who have done nothing with themselves as far as a career in the entertainment industry goes. Then you look at those from our season. First, second, third and fourth place finishers all had the drive and took the initiative and worked hard to get record careers. Kim Caldwell came in sixth and has a successful place on television as a host. Our 12th place finisher, Vanessa Olivarez, went on to have lead roles in major national stage productions. Matthew Metzger got cut in the top 32 and he had a major role on One Life to Live. A guy named Josh Strickland got cut on the first day of the top 144, yet he worked hard, and he has the lead role in "Tarzan" on Broadway now. So, I don't necessarily think that I am the example of how you can make it, even if you don't win. I came close enough to the top to have a lot of stuff come to me by way of the show. There are lots of others who worked hard and whose talent really got them to great places without even needing to be in the top three.

SK: I see you credit Clive Davis for the concept for the album. You've worked with him since 'Idol,' but even without that connection, for him to be the type of person who not only manages talent and nurtures them, but to come to Whitney Houston's aide, you must be proud to consider him an influence in your career and life.
CA: Clive's reputation really precedes him. It's been quite an amazing experience to know that I have been privy to the "Clive Davis fingerprint" on our projects.

SK: Clay, you are in the middle of another Christmas tour with a full orchestra. What do you like so much about touring during the holidays? Are you the new Neil Diamond?
CA: There's such a positive energy and feel around the holidays. Audiences always have such a different energy at Christmas and the songs are so hopeful.
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Tidbits 1/16

  • Entertainment Weekly - top 10 American Idol performances:
    No. 8: Clay Aiken

    Song ''Solitaire''

    Date April 29, 2003 (season 2)

    Why We Remember Quite possibly the most polarizing contestant in Idol history, Clay (pictured during the Idol finals) represents either the pinnacle of modern balladeering or the ultimate low in lite-pop affectation, depending on whom you ask. That said, his take on Neil Sedaka's angsty ballad — moodily backlit for maximum impact — was as heartfelt as it was riveting, with not a single wonky note to be heard. As Sedaka himself sighed, ''I have lost my song forever to you; it will always be a Clay Aiken song.''
  • Monsters & Critics - Billboard review for ATD... we mentioned this a few days ago.
  • music store - best of American Idol - Invisible...
  • Some more Idol mentions today:
    • MSN TV -
      judges Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell are forced to sit through a parade of horrific warblers in hopes of finding a Jennifer Hudson or Clay Aiken. Ryan Seacrest returns as host, and the auditions continue tomorrow night.
    • Scripps News -
      Clay Aiken (second place) The enormously popular North Carolina singer, who many thought was robbed of first place by a voting snafu, saw his debut CD, "Measure of a Man," sell near 3 million. His tours and CD sales are second only to those of Kelly Clarkson among "Idol" alumni.
    • Inside Bay Area -
      Some of its magic dust has even landed on non-winners, such as Clay Aiken and Jennifer Hudson, the latter of whom is enjoying rave reviews for her performance in the big-screen musical "Dreamgirls."

      Shining moments - 5. "Bridge Over Troubled Water," Clay Aiken — A soul-stirring rendition of the Simon & Garfunkel ballad.

      Controversies - After Ryan Seacrest misstates the margin of victory during the finale telecast, Ruben Studdard's victory over Clay Aiken is questioned. Conspiracy theories abound.

      Talking the talk - The Claymates

      Favourite finales - 1. Ruben vs. Clay — The teddy bear and the geek duel in the tightest race so far.
    • Media Life Magazine - "Several “Idol” singers have released platinum albums, including winners Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood and season two runner-up Clay Aiken."
    • Dayton Daily News -
      Intense rocker Chris Daughtry, who was surprisingly voted off early and came in fourth last year, is proving to be more popular than any other nonwinner of "Idol" since Season 2's Clay Aiken.
    • Baltimore Sun -
      Sure, Clay Aiken's transformation during Season 2, from jug-eared nerd to spiky-haired heartthrob, was amazing -- freakishly so. But the aesthetic evolution of the female Idol contestants is usually stunning and far more glamorous. What a difference a little eye shadow and a few hair extensions can make.
    • Philly Blurbs - American Idol quiz... answer is: "Season 2 - Ruben Studdard (runner-up - Clay Aiken)"
    • -
      Now the franchise -- which through the years has given rise to the platinum-selling careers of Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard and Fantasia Barrino -- is thinking even bigger as it heads into its latest season.
    • Winston Salem Journal - "Fantasia won season three and Clay Aiken of Raleigh finished second behind Ruben Studdard in season two."
    • Potomac News -
      One doesn’t have to win “Idol” to have a career. Just ask Clay Aiken, Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson and William Hung. And then there’s small-town gal Kellie Pickler. She has signed a deal with Fox to star in a sitcom based on her life. - Auction items include everything from men’s and women’s fragrance sets to a Clay Aiken mini desk clock.
    • - "The second year's runner-up, Clay Aiken, was the undercard for Rosie O'Donnell before she went after Trump."
    • Monterey County Herald - remembering the 5th AI finale -
      And when Clay Aiken showed up it was not to sing ''Invisible'' or any of the tepid tunes he has belted out as a solo artist but to take another run at ''Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me.''
    • Louisville Courier Journal -
      Even those who didn't win, such as Clay Aiken, have translated being finalists into solid careers. Jennifer Hudson was voted off early when she was on "Idol" but parlayed the appearance into a co-starring role in the movie "Dreamgirls" that has earned her Oscar buzz.
    • Miami Herald -
      Clay Aiken started out well -- he was the first runner-up to outperform the Idol who beat him (Studdard in year two) -- but in the years since, negative tabloid coverage and subpar albums have halted his career momentum.
    • Detroit Free Press -
      And sometimes, a former "Idol" favorite gets the nation talking, as Clay Aiken did when he covered Kelly Ripa's mouth with his hand and wound up stirring a debate over whether her retort (about not knowing where his hand had been) was a homophobic jab, as Rosie O'Donnell charged, or just common-sense hygiene.
    • St. Petersburg Times - gay mention. Read if you have to...

  • The ConCLAYve's Pink Armchair spoofs Jimmy Kimmel and presents the "Clay & Kimmel - Fat Tuesday" episode -
    Welcome back, everybody. Our first guest is no stranger to this show…and we thought, in keeping with our Mardi Gras theme this week -- and because it’s still sweeps -- we’d invite him back because it’s always a party when he’s here, right, Claymates? (Audience cheers vigorously) And Clay Nation, Clay Dawgs, Lecherous Broads and whoever else? (Audience cheers even louder. Slyly) And you thought I didn’t read my mail. Anyway, I can’t think of anybody I’d rather have here on Fat Tuesday than my buddy, multi-platinum recording artist, and pilferer of stuff from my office, CLAAAAY AIKEN!
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Monday, January 15, 2007

Shipwreck Studios Give Kudos To Clay in "Best of 2006" Awards

We're sure many of you remember Shipwreck Studio's awesome review for A Thousand Different Ways that came out in September. In the review, they say:

Honestly, I'm shocked over how good this disc turned out. 17 days to go until it's release but I'll have an album review up before it's release. Everyone is in for a real treat with this release.
Well, the guys over at Shipwreck aren't done with their praise for Clay. Is it just me, or has a bunch of Claymates taken over their website? Clay's been listed on a number of categories on their "Best of 2006" awards.

Congrats Clay and congrats to the guys over at Shipwreck who obviously have great tastes in music!
  • Album of the Year, A Thousand Different Ways
  • Pop Album of the Year, A Thousand Different Ways
  • Holiday Album of the Year, All Is Well (EP)
  • Solo Album of the Year, A Thousand Different Ways
  • Producer of the Year, Jaymes Foster Levy for A Thousand Different Ways
  • Vocalist of the Year, Clay Aiken for A Thousand Different Ways
  • Covers of the Year:
    • "Because You Loved Me"
    • "Broken Wings"
    • "Everything I Do (I Do It For You)"
    • "I Want To Know What Love Is"
    • "Right Here Waiting"
    • "When I See You Smile"
  • Song of the Year:
    • "A Thousand Days", Clay Aiken
    • "All Is Well", Clay Aiken
  • Pop/Country Song of the Year, "A Thousand Days"
  • Ballad of the Year, "These Open Arms"
See a full list here.

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Remembering Clay's Christmas Tour...Via Pictures - Part 6

A good book is worth reading again and again. I never get tired of watching I Love Lucy, especially the Vitameatavegemen one. It never stops being funny. Put an Andy Griffin Show with Barney Fife in it in the DVD player and I will laugh until I'm sick. Same thing when I watch that same show again. AND, I could go to every Clay Aiken concert time and time again and never ever get tired of going. But since we can't do that, listening to CD's, watching DVD's, or looking at pictures is another good option.

And that's just what we've been doing for the past 6 days -- remembering Clay's wonderful, glorious, and hilarious concerts by looking at some of the best pictures from each concert. Each picture surely reminded each of us of something that happened at each concert. There's the picture of Clay talking on the cellphone to some unsuspecting fan and accusing her of seeing the show free! There's the crossed fingers on Clay's hands as he came out to sing All Is Well, and sing it perfectly every time after that first night too, I might add. Oh, and there's that "thank you" signed to his fans letting us know that he appreciated us being there for him. And many more that I'm sure you could talk about. Every Clay concert is filled with memories on top of memories. Every one, though the same in content, is different because the people attending are different, causing Clay to banter to that particular audience in a different way than the one the night before.

So here are the last three concerts, complete with photo memories for your viewing pleasure.

Jacksonville, FL - December 21

Charlotte, NC - December 22

Okay, my fellow Clay fans. There was almost no stopping me on the Greensboro concert. I could have easily included 20 more pictures. But I had to finally stop!! There was dreamy Clay, laughing Clay, closeups, lots and lots of beautiful pictures. I gave you a few extra for the last concert of our series, so we could go out with a bang!!

Greensboro, NC - December 23

I hope you have enjoyed our Christmas tour of pictures. Walking down memory lane with pictures of our favorite performer is a great way to spend the day. And he has proven to be a fantastic performer. The best of singers with that awesome and glorious 3-octave voice and an extremely funny entertainer, what with his hilarious off-the-wall quick-witted banter.

Next time you want a Clay tour and there isn't one going on, check out the great pictures and videos from our talented clack gatherers. You will be whisked away on a tour you will always remember!

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2004 CBS Early Show Performance Featured On Real Player Homepage

Clay's July 2004 "mini concert" on CBS' Early Show is featured today on Real Player's homepage. To watch a clip of Clay performing "Invisible", navigate your browser to and look for the CBS Concerts section.

You can also stream the video from

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Tidbits 1/15

  • Again, we're getting quite a few American Idol related articles today:
    • Forbes -
      Clay Aiken
      Age: 28

      Season: 2

      Finished: 2nd

      Total Album Sales: 4.6 million (Nielsen SoundScan)

      Stats: Grossed an estimated $28 million as a tour headliner, according to Pollstar. His 2004 bestseller, Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life, sold over 92,000 hardcover copies. His 2004 Christmas album, Merry Christmas with Love, was the fastest-selling holiday album SoundsScan has ever tracked.
    • Blogcritics - a very good mention...
      The country was quickly divided into two camps: The Rubenites and the (now infamous) Claymates. When Ruben Studdard defeated Clay Aiken in a very narrow victory on that fateful May evening, the contest between the two didn't end there. Although Studdard was the American Idol, it was Aiken who would eventually emerge as the true victor, in the sense that to this day he remains active in the public eye. Aiken did talk shows, magazine interviews, went on tour, did Christmas specials, and became a UNICEF National ambassador. Meanwhile, the quiet, easygoing Studdard slowly faded from sight.

    • National Ledger:
      Season two brought winner Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken. I rooted for Ruben Studdard, though I also very much enjoyed Clay Aiken and Kimberley Locke. Both Ruben and Clay have done well, though Clay has out-sold Ruben. Clay went on to make a huge Christmas album, and Ruben enjoyed success as a gospel artist. Their sophomore CDs have been released and I must admit I’m a bit disappointed in both. Ruben’s first single “Change Me” intrigued me enough to buy his CD, but I’m not crazy about the full CD and will likely never buy another unless he agrees to fire his songwriters. Though Ruben has three writing credits on this CD, the rest of the music on this CD is just whack. Clay’s CD will never cross my threshold. Out of fourteen songs, ten are remakes. I’m not a big fan of remakes; if the song was okay the first time, why remake it? (You know, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”) Further, remake albums are typically made by long-standing artists such as Rod Stewart, Michael McDonald, and Michael Bolton. I don’t really understand a relatively new artist coming out with an album of remakes. He is, however, well loved by his fans and should enjoy large sales, and that is really the bottom line, right?
    • Houston Chronicle write not a fan of Idol -
      I refuse to listen to the lousy-to-middling albums by Idol alumni such as Taylor Hicks, Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken and Fantasia Barrino. I do keep William Hung's Inspiration around — but only because his shrill, wheezy Hotel California is astounding in all the wrong ways.
    • Florida Today -
      Bet you remember the second season’s runner-up. That was Clay Aiken, who gets more buzz than any of them. He’s been to the King Center in Melbourne twice and sold out both shows fast as lightning.
    • Boston Herald - "Clay Aiken gets to sub for Regis."
    • MSNBC -
      But even the show’s most ardent fans — the ones capable of reciting Clay Aiken’s Season 2 song list by memory — are likely unfamiliar with the extent of the entertainment empire that has grown up in the long shadows cast by Simon, Paula and Randy.
    • Rocky Mountain News -
      Clay Aiken might have been edged out by Ruben Studdard, but Aiken's debut album was a better seller than Studdard's (4.3 million to 2.3 million), and he has a devoted concertgoing fan group called the "Claymates."
    • Times Argus - Bottom five of AI - "Michael Sandecki, that creepy Clay Aiken wannabe from Season Five: Talk about worshipping false idols. Get a clue, dude."... best Idol moments, "Ruben beats Clay: The closest finale ever could have gone either way but saw Velvet Teddy Bear Ruben Studdard ultimately emerging victorious over Clay Aiken in Season Two." and... best seasons of idol - #2 - "Season 2 - Clay was the show's best marquee showdown to date."
    • Norwhich Bulletin -
    • Clay Aiken (season two):Yes, he sells a lot of CDs. But he sells them to a strangely overzealous cult of fans who are scary in their intensity.

      "When he auditioned, he may have had a geeky appearance, but I loved his voice," said Allison Shea of Norwich. "I followed him all the way through, and it was interesting to see his style change, but not his voice. His singing is great, and I wished he would have won."

      Sorry Claymates, but to the general public, he is better known for rudely dissing Kelly Ripa and dodging questions about his personal life. Minus 2.
  • Wilmington Star - predictions for the new year - whatever this is... "After last-minute cancellations, the Azalea Festival committee asks Ibiza to nominate a queen. Tara Nicole reigns in style, and Clay Aiken becomes the headline act at the festival."
  • Wichita Eagle - choreographer on new MTV show, "His credits include 2003's "American Idols" tour and J.C. Chasez's 2004 tour. He's also done videos for Clay Aiken and Marc Anthony"

  • The ConCLAYve - honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. -
    Clay's album "Measure of a Man" was released on October 14, 2003 --- the 39th anniversary of the announcement that Dr. King had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Another coincidence, I suppose.

    Still, Clay has learned a lot about measuring up to challenge and controversy during his four years in the public eye. I think he's doing just fine, but if Clay ever feels in need of inspiration, it's rather wonderful that we have a national holiday for a man of Dr. King's caliber.

    Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King.

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CDD supports:

Bubel Aiken Foundation GoodSearch for TBAF UNICEF