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Saturday, March 01, 2008

American Idol "Chicken Soup" Co-Write Lauds Clay in Interview

Debra Poneman, co-author of the new American Idol "Chicken Soup" book, Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul, had lots of great things to say about Clay in an interview with Chris Attwood of Healthy, Wealthy & Wise.

Here are some of the Clay highlights from the interview:

Truthfully, it didn't take me more than two shows, and I was a full-fledged "Idol" fanatic. Of course, we went to the 'Idols Live' tour, the concert, that summer together. Then the next season, which was the Clay-Ruben season, my husband and daughter joined us to watch the show, and then whole family went to the concert the next summer, twice. This is actually another very cool thing; all along the way, I would always say to my kids, "I'm going to get to know those Idols personally.


Fast-forward to the end of Season Two, and what do I discover? Our dear mutual friend, Marci Shimoff, author of Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul, Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul, and, of course, now Happy for No Reason, I discovered that she was also a closet Idol-oholic. We started emailing each other back and forth every week our weekly reviews, complete with editorials. We swooned, "Did you just die when Clay sang "Bridge over Troubled Waters?"


CHRIS ATTWOOD: You said you were going to share the Law of Success that got Clay Aiken and Mandisa to risk everything, and the resulting miracles that came from that. Will you tell us that story?

DEBRA PONEMAN: Yes. I love Clay's story, but I have to tell you, Chris, the "Idol" fans on the phone are a little upset with you calling her Mandisa.

CHRIS ATTWOOD: Oh, dear! I'm in trouble now! Thank you. I'll never do it again, I promise.

DEBRA PONEMAN: That's okay. I forgive you, and actually, this is about forgiveness. I love the stories in the book. I'll tell you about each one separately, and how Clay and Mandisa demonstrated some powerful principles of success, specifically being true to yourself. You'll see. Do you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to read you an excerpt from Clay's story. I want everyone listening to see if they can see the principles at play here. Is that okay, Chris?

DEBRA PONEMAN: Again, Clay is talking about being in Atlanta on tour, and here goes. Remember, Clay is writing this. I just have to say it was so fun interviewing Clay, because he was on a cell phone when we were talking, and the call kept dropping. He kept having to call me back. Then he would say, "Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?"

I thought, "Oh, my gosh! I am saying 'Can you hear me now?' with Clay Aiken!" Anyway, so here are Clay's words: "As I'm signing autographs, a very petite, pretty girl walks up to me and says, "Your 'Invisible' video made such an impact on my life." I didn't want to argue with her, but I thought she must have gotten that confused with some other video I'd done. "

"I thought it couldn't have been 'Invisible.' That was just a self-congratulatory video of me singing on the stage in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard with a bunch of people cheering. There was no story line; there was nothing inspirational about it. How in the world could that video have impacted anybody?" "Are you sure you don't mean some other video?" I asked.

""No, I'm sure it was 'Invisible," she said. I asked her to please explain, and she did. "Well, Clay, I used to weigh about 200 pounds." She paused. "You look great, but what does that have to do with 'Invisible'?" "When I saw the girl on the stage with you in that video and you put your arm around her, it made me feel so much better about myself, because you had an overweight girl in your video, and you accepted her. "

"Because of that, I was finally able to accept myself. After that, my whole life changed, and I lost 90 pounds." Then it dawned on me what she was referring to. While we were making the video, the music director had pulled someone out of the audience and put her on the stage with me. She wasn't hugely overweight; she was just a healthy-looking girl, but I guess she didn't exactly fit the image of what people usually see on music videos. "

"She wasn't stick-thin or model-gorgeous, but I never thought anything of it. " "Thank you so much for sharing that with me," I said, but a simple thank you was hardly adequate for the gift that young lady had given me. Her words led me to the realization that you never know the one thing you do that is going to impact someone's life. I try to set the right example, but that day I realized that even things I would never think would make an impact do. "

"I never would have thought that video would have affected anybody in any kind of positive way, and lo and behold, it did. The person it affected most was me. I realized that from then on, I was going to have normal, average, everyday-looking people in all my videos. I literally had to fight with the people from my record label. They were not going to let me do it. "

"They said that the video wouldn't sell, but I wouldn't budge. When we made the video I told them I didn't want any anorexic-looking girls or model-perfect guys. If we did have beautiful people, I wanted the beautiful girl to be with the overweight guy, and the average-looking girl with the model guy. I wanted people to know it doesn't matter what you look like, that everyone is good enough. "

"I realized that's why "Idol" has the impact it does. You never see a contestant with that music-video look. It's about real people, and I think the reason why Season Two was so exciting is because not only were Ruben, Kimberly, and I all from out in the middle of nowhere, Podunk, but we were all extremely normal, average-looking people. We would have never gotten record contracts if it weren't for that show: Ruben being such a big guy; Kimberly, who was gorgeous, but a plus-size woman; and me. I was a dork, and I still am a dork. "

"We're all just normal people from down the street and around the block. The final realization I had that day in Atlanta is that it's not just people who are in the public eye who have an impact on others. You don't have to make a music video to make a difference in someone's life. You can be a bagger at a grocery store or a teller at a bank. You never know when something you do is going to impact someone's life without you even knowing it. "

"You don't have to be Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard, Kimberly Locke or any Idol. My fan in Atlanta is proof of that." That's Clay's story, and there are two very important principles that are in it. I'll bet your listeners picked them out. One is being true to yourself and standing up for what you believe, as he did to the producers of his video, even risking his career.

This wasn't done before, having everyday people in music videos. The second is that you don't have to be Clay Aiken to impact people's lives. Every single one of us has an impact on so many others, no matter what you do. Also, everyone has a gift to give. If you didn't have a gift to give, you wouldn't have come on the planet. Every one of us is a container for some purpose.

Clay's purpose is to sing. My purpose may be to be a mom and write inspirational books. Someone else's purpose might be to bag groceries. Whatever you do-and here's another important principle-do it with your whole heart. As Martin Luther King said, and I just heard this quote yesterday, "If your gift is to sweep floors, then sweep and sweep and sweep until the angels come down and say, 'Good job!'"

Tidbits 3/1

  • Playbill -
    I've been watching "American Idol" for the past six years (I missed the first season), and during that time there have been only a handful of performers who I thought truly stood out: Clay Aiken (whose pure, clear, rangy tenor was the highlight of the second season)
CDD Blogwatch
  • ClayKat catches up with all the Clay happenings after a 1.5 month absence. Thank you so much to ClayKat for mentioning J4Clay's great Spamalot posts here at CDD -
    It has been too long! I have to write when I'm inspired to do so, and for the past month or two, I have been busy and somewhat preoccupied with a number of things in my personal and work lives. Mostly good things, such as buying a first home with my sweetie! But also challenges, such as dealing with the fact that a long-time co-worker was recently fired - and in my opinion, unjustly fired... Lots of emotional events and issues to deal with. But overall, life is good, so I'm dealing well.

    I have been pretty much keeping up with news about Clay and what he is up to. Now, we all know he has been acting in the Broadway musical Spamalot, since January 18th. He's on a run until May 4th, and it is keeping him very busy. Many people seem surprised at how well he is doing, playing a number of parts, the biggest one being that of Sir Robin (check out Clay's Spamalot blog). It doesn't surprise me at all, to hear that he is doing well. Clay is a consummate performer, a multi-layered talent, a resourceful and dedicated artist, and a hard worker. He can do whatever he sets his mind to - even dancing! I would love to see him on Broadway, but it's not going to happen, and that's ok. I enjoy reading the stories fans share with us of their experiences at the show, and at the backstage door, where Clay has been greeting fans and autographing playbills. Check out Clay's Daily Double's ongoing coverage of Clay in Spamalot, and especially, the thread called "What's Hot From Spamalot". The stories and pictures will put a smile on your face!

What's NOT Hot From Spamalot....Flash Pictures, People Yelling Out, and Inappropriate Audience Behavior

This is one article that is hard to write. Its a bit of "news" that I wish would never happen. But happen it did.

During Saturday's matinee, there were several inappropriate types of behavior that took place in the audience. Whether it was caused by fans or not, I am not 100% sure. Most think it was fans, but no matter who it was, this writer cannot stress enough the importance of appropriate behavior when at the theater.

According to various people who were at the concert, flash photography was taken from the first row, as well as some dancing and singing, which threw off the performers in Spamalot. Obviously this is not proper behavior for any theater performance, and it would seem that anyone old enough to attend a theater production should know better. In reply to this behavior, Jerome came outside at the Stage Door and announced that Clay was unhappy about this situation and would not be out to sign autographs. This was embarrassing for Clay, being that this was most likely if not for certain done by his fans, and obviously his castmates were not happy with the situation.

However, there was a turn of events later. According to toni7babe at The Clayboard, a friend called her and Clay did come outside to sign autographs after all:

Spamalot Stage Door Report

On the phone with toni2marie from CV about 4-5 rows deep at stage door. Clay is out there. Black puffy coat on. Brown hoodie it looks like under.

Clay looked great out there. He had on jeans, gym shoes, brown hoody, puffy jacket. He was very smiley and laughing and chatty. One fan yelled out from 3rd row tomorrow is my Birthday Clay and he snarked back mine is in November but then as he moved a bit farther down looked back and said hey did I get the birthday girls Playbill signed? And he had. He seemed to sign most of the Playbills he could reach from first few rows she said. Lots of excitement and it was packed out there she said.
This is just like Clay to go on outside after all so as not to disappoint all the fans.

Just a final reminder for anyone going to the musical. This is not a Clay Aiken concert. He is not the only one performing on the stage. This is a group effort by a very talented group of actors. Clay does not want his fans to do anything to call attention to him or make him stand out from the rest of the cast. We need to act like mature adults and fans, as I know most of us will do. Let's not do anything at all to embarrass Clay and to cause a disruption of the show. We want to show Clay our appreciation for his multi-talented performance, but let's make Clay proud of us as well.

Now...on with the show!!

What's Hot From Spamalot 3/1

We do have a few hot items from Spamalot today.

First, here are some fan reports. Its always great to read the different perspectives of fans who have been to several shows and those who have been to their first one.

  • Me7160 at The Clayboard gives this first-time report:
    Last night was the first time I saw Spamalot and I have to say that Clay was AMAZING......I've read all the reports from day one but until you get there and actually see him WOW is all I can say. He was as everyone says a NATURAL up there, His accent is GREAT and dancing and when he was the guard he had me ROTF. He was as good as any stand-up comedian could ever be with that. When he sat down at the piano and flipped up his tails I was like Mmmmmmmm now that was not a bad view. I sat in row "H" almost dead center and must say they were great seats to see everything. Hannah was absolutely amazing as well.. My husband to my surprise loved it as well. It's funny we have seen him in concert (of course many times) but last night he said to me wow he's really tall. You do need to see it again and again because there are so many parts that you miss but last night was my one and only :-(
    The people that sat next to me were Python fans and during intermission said that they were enjoying my laugh that it was infectious I told them that I was there because of Clay and they said he was doing a great job. BUT OF COURSE. Whatever he does he gives 110% What a wonderful night!!!!!!!!!!
  • Zippy888 from The Clayboard, who has been to other shows, gave this report:
    I'm here in NYC with my mum (mimisan33) and sis (clayheaven). We went early to the show as I wanted to be first in line to get the Sir Robin T-shirt, magnet and pin. Got those! We sat in dead centre in Orchestra row C, 108, 109 & 110. One of the best seats we've had! I'm sure I saw Clay steal a glance or two at us. I felt there was some recognition in his eyes. He sparkled and shone and gave 150%. I think he may have winked at us!

    We saw Clay during the opening weekend and he has certainly improved since Jan 18. He's more comfortable in his dance steps and has more facial expressions and is at ease with his performance.

    As the soldier in the tower, Clay played with his strap a lot and used it as the twine to describe how the sparrows carried the coconuts.

    Clay flipped up his tunic really high!! Squeals came from our row! I was in seat 108 and that is dead centre. First he started with Clay stomping and shimmying down the centre! I saw Clay coming right at me during the Cossack dance and he had a look on his face like "Dare to look at me while I'm doing this dance!" Yes, Clay, I dared!! When he finished his "You Won't Succeed in Broadway" and he finished off with tribute to Yentl, he did it with such drama and such aplomb.

    I remember one part during the LOTL armour striptease, Clay caught her right armoured piece and was thrilled that he had caught it!

    The parts when he shat in his pants are more animated compared in January. He was hilarious!! He was holding his tush and making such a face when he pooped in his pants.

    As the drunken soldier, he just killed me how natural he was. He is so on with his conversation with Prince Herbert's father. So smooth and so natural! Lots more swaying.

    The Orchestra Main Floor was almost sold out. I saw a couple of empty seats in row A! Quite a no. of NJUs this evening. The people beside me were NJUs and so was this family of 4 boys and dad in front of us in 2nd row. The lady beside me was not a Clay fan but she enjoyed Clay's performance and thought he was cute. The NJUs caught some of the jokes but not all of it.

    We gave him a standing O! He looked bashful when he saw his fans stand for him. I'm so proud of Clay!
    Then Zippy888 adds this a little later:
    Clay during the slo-mo scene: He is squatted down way low and his tongue is hanging out with his exaggerated horse-riding.

    One of the scenes, Clay rode his "horse" and dismounted and flung his left leg up into the air, tunic leifting Ahem! Ahem! I didn't know he could fling his leg up that high!! Patsy patted Clay's imgainary horse.

    During the killer rabbit scene, Clay was acting out the killer rabbit with his 2 fingers, wiggling, pretending as though they were the rabbit's ears and making the motion like it was hopping! So cute!

    That Yentl scene and Clay kneels down with his Jewish cap and cane and goes "Papa, can you hear me?" in his beautiful, melodic, dramatic-timbred voice. I'm dead!!

    During the Camelot scene, the girls were swinging the mace, he acted like he was swinging it, too. He is very animated, chasing the girls on the stage and leering and ogling after him.
  • Here is a scan of an article about Clay that is in the Spamalot Playbill. Its entitled It Takes Two, and talks about how "two times is the charm" for Clay, since he saw Spamalot twice before "getting it". In addition to talking about his Spamalot role, Clay's upcoming CD is also mentioned. To read a larger scan of this article go to The Clayboard and scroll down the page.

  • Well, its the Zippy888 show today! Not only did she give us some great reports from Saturday's matinee, but she also was sitting in Seat B101 at the evening show and got to go on stage! Here's her report from the unforgetable moment, which can also be found at The Clayboard:
    I'm back from my night in Broadway. Yes, I was in Seat B101. What a thrilling night it was! I was so nervous going up on stage. Patsy brought me up on stage, King Arthur asked me for my name and I then won the Arthur Award. Did I mention I was nervous?!? I then shook hands with the knights along the way and they pulled me along the line of knights. Soon I was beside Clay and the singing knights, they were singing my name! They took the polaroid of the Knights and I. I have proof of my night on stage in the picture 'cos it's all a blur!

    I'm so glad Clay came out to sign autographs 'cos I got him to sign my polaroid snapshot. What an absolute thrilling night! I found my grail - to be the Best Peasant in New York on March 1, 2008!
  • Finally here are some pictures from Saturday night's Stage Door from jtgranny at CV, courtesy of Joy2talk2u from The Clayboard:

Friday, February 29, 2008

What's Hot From Spamalot 2/29

Ahhhh, what's hot in Spamalot today? Well, its leap year, which means we get an extra day of Clay in Spamalot! Now that's pretty hot if you ask me!!

Reports of the 2/29 show are coming in. Here is our first:

  • From Toni7babe at The Clayboard
    Spamalot Evening Intermission Update

    toni2marie just called and she said the place looks packed to her. The orchestra definitely is full and from what she can see of the balcony and mezz it they look full.

    Clay looks and sounds great. Does not look sick at all. She said he is full of energy. Chasing the girls around like crazy tonight!! This is their (she is with her sister) first show and they are blown away by his timing and facial expressions. She says he is the most adorable thing ever!!

    She said lots of applause during the Idol line!! Man sitting behind her is laughing like crazy!! They love Hannah and think she is great!!
  • And here is a second report at the end of Spamalot from toni2marie:
    toni2marie from CV just called again. They are out by stage door but there are no barricades up but as far as she knows Jerome has not come out and said anything. They don't think he will be coming out though but other cast members have been out. There were many people/fans out there initially but now just about 15 or so and they are going to be leaving now and going to Juniors. It is raining she said.

    She said the 2nd half was great and EEEEEEEEEE when he went to sit down at the piano he flipped his tunic all the way up. Nice view they had!! Big applause for him after his big number. Lots of laughs for the guard scene. The chosen peasant was sitting in B101. At the end biggest applause and ovation for LOTL and Sir Robin!!! She thought biggest was for Sir Robin!!
  • ClayReno tells us that "there is a new colored cover Playbill tonight with Clay article on page 44." We'll post a picture of it when one is made available.

  • Clay Reno at The Clayboard gives us another report from tonight's show:
    Okay I'm back from the show tonight. FULL HOUSE!no empty seats. Very Loud fans and NJUs mostly males.Clay and Hannah got the loudest cheers. Standing O at the end. Very Energetic boisterous crowd. Clay still a little hoarse when speaking but nails all the singing. Yodeling awesome! Dancing very relaxed. Showed the whole tush at the piano. Another great show even better than last night.

    Yes,the New PlayBill now is in color. Same as B&W except in color. On page 44 there is article with Sir Robin pic. This by Andrew Gans titled"It Takes Two" says two is the charm for Clay. It is a great piece. BTW we are having wet snow tonight!
    Do you remember Clay telling us in a blog not to watch just him because there are so many other funny things going on during the show? As hard as it is not to watch just him, a couple fans have done just that and found some interesting and funny discoveries that take place during Spamalot:

    From The Clayboard:
    Secretly Loves Clay: I am just loving Spamalot. I have seen it several times, and every time I go, I notice something new that is so ridiculous.

    For instance, it took me 3 times before I noticed the "hay" when they say "hey!" during the YWSOB scene. And after like 5 times, I finally noticed that the Knights That Say Ni's horns light up. If you can tear your eyes away from Clay, there are so many ridiculous things. Like, during the "slo-mo" part of finding the grail, Lancelot spits or drools or something in slow motion, and then wipes it away in slow motion. So funny. And I also noticed yesterday, during that same scene, they have signs in the background - one of them said, "Support Our Troops!" ????????? But the part that made me laugh hysterically, that I just discovered yesterday, was why - also during that slow motion part - why on earth does Patsy get on a horse? Isn't he "the" horse? I mean he is clapping the coconuts in slow motion, which is hilarious in of itself, so why does he get on a horse? Oh it was so funny, I was laughing so hard I was crying.
    Hopelesslydevoted: My abs still hurt from laughing when patsy stuck the rubber chicken in the fire pit during 'all for one'...and I never even noticed the 'Les Mis' flag waving at the end of the french taunter scene until my 4th show....and also during the french taunter scene...when he calls them 'sons of an electric donkey bottom biter....something or other...' Clay turns to the knight next to him and asks..."what's 'electric'?"
    Secretly Loves Clay: Another thing I noticed this weekend - when "Concorde" gets shot with the arrow with the pink fuzzy pom pom, it never made me think twice that there was a pink thing on the end.

    Well, in the scene with Prince Herbert, I noticed he had pink shoes on.........and then noticed a pink pom pom on one of the shoes! But only one of them has it! At first I thought, he's only got one pom pom, and then I remembered the previous scene. Ha! Pretty clever whoever thought to do that.
  • From - Gross ticket sales for the week of 2/24 went down slightly from the week before, from $826,303 to $726,641, a drop of 2.7%.

  • Thanks to tiggy52winkle at The Clayboard, we have great scans of the cover and an article in NYC Official City Guide. The first picture is of the awesome cover on the guide!

  • Starfishy 2000 at The Clayboard has posted some great pics of Clay at The Stage Door on 2/19 and 2/20. These are some of the last pictures taken of him there, since he hasn't been coming outside to sign autographs lately due to illness.

TBAF to Host Dance Event in Raleigh

The Bubel Aiken Foundation will host "Dance Like The Stars" at the Southern Women’s Show on April 27, 2008, being held at the N.C. State Fair grounds.

Information about the event is posted at the Bubel Aiken Foundation website:

Local celebrities participating include WRAL-TV 5 anchor Lynda Loveland, K97.5 DJ Brian Dawson, 2007 Miss North Carolina Jessica Jacobs, Elvis impersonator Keith Henderson, and WRAL’s former “Traffic Guy” Mark Roberts. These local celebrities will be dancing with dance professionals from A Step to Gold International Ballroom, and the winner of the competition will be determined by donations to The Bubel/Aiken Foundation, votes from the audience, and votes from the judges. Event sponsor, Turning Technologies will provide on-site voting capability.

The Bubel/Aiken Foundation will post sneak previews of all the dancers so that people can vote and donate online. Voting will begin on Thursday, March 27. Donations will also be accepted at the event in exchange for voting devices. The contestants are eager to bring in the most votes in hopes of generous support for inclusive programs for children with disabilities.

Album Preview from YouTube

Yolie950 has compiled footage from the recent WRAL videos to offer you a peek at 3 songs that should be on Clay's third mainstream album, due for release on May 6.

The songs include "On My Way Here", which could potentially be the album title, written by OneRepublic's lead Ryan Tedder. "Lover All Alone", which was an iTunes bonus to "A Thousand Different Ways" is also expected to be on the album.

Tidbits 2/29

  • American Idol mentions:
    • Playbill - Clay Aiken an American Idol "standout" -
      I've been watching "American Idol" for the past six years (I missed the first season), and during that time there have been only a handful of performers who I thought truly stood out: Clay Aiken (whose pure, clear, rangy tenor was the highlight of the second season), Fantasia (one of the few "Idol" contestants able to imbue her singing with raw emotion and dramatic honesty), Jennifer Hudson (whose big voice was eventually put to wonderful use in her Oscar-winning turn in the "Dreamgirls" film), and last season's always-dependable Melinda Doolittle (who, with her lush alto, managed to breathe new life into "My Funny Valentine," offering one of the finest versions of the Rodgers and Hart standard I've yet to hear).
    • - Ruben Studdard invited to sing Idol's "farewell song" -
      Last we heard of Ruben Studdard, the Season 2 American Idol winner (no, it wasn't Clay Aiken) had just been booted from his J Records recording contract.

      "It's very soulful, very heartfelt," the track's producer, Terry Lewis told Billboard. "Ruben is singing his pants off." Blecch. And here we didn't think we could get an ickier Idol image in our heads than those Clay Aiken camel toe pics.
CDD Blogwatch
  • The countdown to Clay Aiken's new album begins - May 6, 2008:
    • There Was A Man -
      Finally the moment we for which we have been waiting, news on the new CD which will hopefully be out on May 6th or at least before the summer. Clay announced on at this link. There are three videos related to the new album, so make sure you don't miss any.

      Clay's theme for the album grew out of a song submitted to him called "On The Way Here", which was written by Ryan Tedder of One Republic. After listening to the lyrics, he noticed that several songs under consideration had the same theme of journey and growth, so the theme of Clay's journey over the last five years was born.
    • Something That Really Happened -
      Linda Loveland from WRAL conducted an extensive interview with Clay Aiken about his new album and behind the scenes at SPAMALOT. The videos have been posted on Yahoo! Clay talks a lot about the theme for the album, some of the songs, and you can hear clips of him recording some of the tracks. Fabulous! Especially the song "On My Way Here" by Ryan Tedder which Clay says is central to the theme of the whole album.
  • The ConCLAYve - Clay takes WRAL on a tour of Spamalot's backstage area

Thursday, February 28, 2008

What's Hot From Spamalot 2/28

Things are getting somewhat back to normal at Spamalot. Clay is back onstage for the second night after being sick and apparently is heating the stage up with his vocals and dancing!! Tom is still sick though, so that makes us sad and we sure hope he's back soon.

First, here's a couple of reviews from The Clayboard about Thursday night's show:

  • Carolina Clay tells us the following:
    Intermission report from Carolina Clay at CV:

    Intermission Report from Sally and Son on the Mezzanine

    OMG, it's incredible. Watching it from up here, I see so many things I didn't see on the front row!!! Clay obviously feels a whole lot better. His color and energy are back. He looks like a pro in every scene.

    Sally took her opera glasses to catch Clay's expressions and can't believe all he does with his face. He's got that hula down pat ... he wiggles, he smiles, and he knows he's beautiful. He chases those girls around and stays in the role the whole time. Meanwhile, her son is using the opera glasses to watch Hannah!
  • ClayReno says:
    Just got back from the show tonight.Clay is back to normal,very energetic fantastic performance.His vocal power is back,singing especially yodeling is awesome!Great huge reception for the big solo number.Fans and NJUs evenly split.Males very receptive with laughter.Orchestra full.Cannot see mezzanine or balcony.Barricades(a small one) are up.I cannot believe Clay is coming out to the Stage door.Standing O for all at Curtains but Clay and Hannah got the loudest cheers.A great great night!
  • Carolina Clay tells us this:
    jtgranny posted this at CV:

    They had the baracades up and we went over and within minutes Jerome came out to let everyone know if they were there for Clay that he would not be coming out because he was still a bit sick. However, if you wanted to wait for the others he was sure they would be out soon.
    So apparently Clay did not come outside to sign autographs after all.
Today the hottest thing from Spamalot were the WRAL interviews with Clay from behind the scenes. For those who still haven't seen the interview, here are links at both WRAL and Clack Unlimited so you can check out and/or download those videos:

  • Clack Unlimited: Behind The Scenes At Spamalot - This is a seven-minute interview with Lynda Loveland of such things as the "wig room", costumes, the orchestra pit, and Clay's dressing room.

  • WRAL Website - Clay Aiken Behind The Scenes of Spamalot - You cannot download this video at WRAL's site, but you can watch it here as well as read an article about Clay's interview with Lynda Loveland.

And finally, here are a few screen caps from the Spamalot interview. Enjoy!

Tidbits 2/28

  • TV Envy - the best don't always win on American Idol -
    Last year’s winner Jordin Sparks has had dismal record sales, though she beat out twenty-three other fantastic singers just to seal the deal. Listen, Clay Aiken didn’t even win his season - remember? The best don’t always win.
  • Hampton Roads - American Idol ...
    Kelly Clarkson, Daughtry, Carrie Underwood, Clay Aiken and "Flea Market Fantasia" are the exception. They are talented. They have interesting stories. Everyone else -- competing for our attention in an increasingly small and faster world -- is frankly working, at best, for a shot at being B-list.
  • Lycos50 PR - Clay #3 on this week's Lycos50
  • BreatheCast - article about Mark Lowry who wrote "Mary, Did You Know" -
    Mark Lowry has enjoyed a multi-layered career filled with sold-out concert tours and gold and platinum-selling albums and videos. His lyrics include the phenomenal Christmas classic, "Mary Did You Know?" - recorded by Michael English, Wynonna, Kenny Rogers, Clay Aiken, Reba McEntire, Natalie Cole, Brian Littrell, Donny Osmond and over 50 other international artists.
CDD Blogwatch
  • Nothing here yet

Clay Gives WRAL Backstage Secrets of 'Spamalot'

WRAL had even more Clay today, as they broadcast some "backstage secrets" from Spamalot. Yesterday, WRAL aired a great 16-minute interview with Clay about his new album. The new "Spamalot" videos from WRAL are available at WRAL's website. posted a new Spamalot article this morning:
Aiken Reveals Backstage Secrets of 'Spamalot'

NEW YORK — From singer to actor, Raleigh native Clay Aiken is taking a spin on Broadway in "Monty Python's Spamalot.” He plays several roles, but mainly Sir Robin.

Aiken goes through several costume changes during the play, but he keeps ripping one in particular.

“Literally, they’ve had to modify things to make it work for me, because they’ve never had someone dance quite as well as me,” he joked.

So, where is the rip?

“Right in the crotch, as a matter of fact,” he said.

“I’ve dropped a line here or there, and it’s always, you know, quite interesting when it just gets silent on stage. And I think to myself, ‘Is someone supposed to be talking? Oh! It’s me! I’m supposed to say my thing,’” he said.

Clay's big solo comes in the second half. Sometimes it's hard to breathe, he said.

“Whenever the male ensemble starts singing, I stop singing, because I have to breathe. And I can’t breathe if I keep singing, so I’m just mouthing it. The secret’s revealed,” he laughed.

“Everybody’s been really great. And not one person, and I’d tell you if there (were), I’d tell you their first, last name and address. And nobody has been anything less than wonderful,” he said.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Clay in April 2008 International Figure Skating Magazine

Photos of Clay from December's NBC Holiday Celebrations on Ice appeared in the April 2008 issue of International Figure Skating Magazine. Thanks to the CB's hanapepe for the scan, above.

What's Hot From Spamalot 2/27

Well, what a difference a Clay AND a day make!! Clay is back in the theater tonight after missing last night due to illness. However, Tom Deckman is still out. Let's hope that Tom is better soon.

We have a couple of reports concerning Clay's return tonight. Apparently he is still weak from being sick, but he was giving it his all. I don't know how he does it. Here are the reports:

  • Cindilu2 at The Clayboard tells us this about Clay's return:
    Posted by Carolina Clay:


    Clay looked pale when he started, but he got more color as he went on. He is there for the fans, he sees them, and he feeds off of them.

    Tonight he is singing with TWO MICS to save his voice. He is not holding back, and he has already been through some good dance moves.
That is one thing we know for sure from experience...Clay is there for the fans and if at all possible, he will perform. Think back to when he had vertigo when he was on tour and had to be helped off the stage. But he didn't miss the show.

  • Also from Carolina Clay:
    Sally called me from the cab and said Clay was fantastic. However, on the last song/during the bows, she could see perspiration -- and he looked weak. His big number was was great, and he didn't hold back; but he was worn out at the end.
  • Clay Reno at The Clayboard tells us this:
    Back from the show tonight.Yes Clay is not 100 percent better but he did a Fantastic performance.His vocals do not have the usual power but his dancing and comic timing was perfect. Mostly NJUs. Orchestra full but mezzanine just half full. Cannot see balcony. Clay well applauded for solo. He and Hannah got biggest applause at curtains. A very chilly night outside.
The weather is very cold outside. Here is a weather report for Wednesday through Friday in New York:

Wednesday night's temp was 24 degrees
28°F / 19°F Thursday Partly cloudy. Low 19F
37°F / 35°F Friday

It looks as though Clay probably won't be signing autographs the rest of the week. Let's hope he rests when he can so he'll be 100% soon! Get well soon Clay!!

Clay's Interview With WRAL Up At WRAL Website

If you missed Clay's interview with WRAL's Linda Loveland, fear not. You can watch it at WRAL's website. There are two videos that as of now are on the right side of the page under "Today's Video Picks". The link may not be on the home page by the time you get this article. So if they aren't, you can find them by clicking below:

Clay Aiken Spills The Beans About New Album - This is a great 15 minute interview with Linda Loveland of WRAL. You won't want to miss a word of this one!

In the Studio With Clay Aiken - This video is of Clay in the recording studio with his new producer Kipper and Quiana, who is singing backups. You get to hear a snippet of a couple of Clay's songs.

You can also download both of these videos listed above at Clack Unlimited. As many times as its going to be downloaded, anyone who can might want to consider leaving a donation for them.

Also, there is now an article at about Clay's new CD. This article says, in part:

The songs had to meet two qualifications.

"They have to be something I'll enjoy and that I can do well," Aiken said. "And at the same time, they have to kind of fit into this common theme of 'On my way here.'"

"On My Way Here" is one of the tracks and might end up being the album title.

Aiken was working on that song and another the day he invited WRAL's Lynda Loveland to the recording studio. The second is called "Ashes".

"Someone told me (that) what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger," he said. "(The song) talks about bad things that might happen to you. You know, there's been some stuff that's happened in the last five years that I would rather have not happened, but you learn from things like that."

NC Fans: Clay on WRAL Today at 5 PM reminds us that Clay's exclusive interview with WRAL will air during their 5 PM newscast... don't forget to tune in if you receive WRAL. Look for caps and a video to be posted tonight on CDD.

Clay Aiken Offers Sneak Peek of New Album

Posted: Today at 7:07 a.m.
Updated: Today at 8:30 a.m.

New York, N.Y. — Clay Aiken’s new album has been coming to life inside a New York City recording studio.

WRAL Anchor Lynda Loveland recently traveled to the Big Apple and was granted behind-the-scenes access to some of his new work.

“(The songs) have to be something I’ll enjoy and that I can do well,” Aiken said. “And, at the same time, they have to kind of fit into this common theme.”

Find out what the album’s theme is, and hear exclusive cuts of Aiken’s new songs before anyone else, tonight at 5 p.m. on WRAL News.

Tidbits 2/27

  • American Idol mentions ... The top 10 guys performed last night:
    • Los Angeles Times -
      Do Not Argue. Every winner has had their bad night on the road to the Kodak. Simon hated Kelly at first and ripped Carrie Underwood to shreds on a few occasions. Clay Aiken protests to still carry the wounds from Cowell’s taunts of his wardrobe.
    • All Your TV -
      The final singer was David Archuleta, and the 17-year-old is arguably the best male singer this season. He's very much a Clay Aiken kind of singer. Pure, powerful voice, lots of charisma and vulnerability. He also has the weakenesses of Aiken, one of them being a singer that might be a tough fit for today's pop music world.
  • Washington Post - must be a very slow news day for the Post... I don't know how they can categorize Clay as neglecting his "civic duty", especially Clay devoted his entire Christmas to visiting Mexico for UNICEF...
    An investigation by The Reliable Source found that the most successful "American Idol" runner-up in history has made it to only one of the quarterly meetings of the Presidential Committee for People With Intellectual Disabilities since he was appointed by George W. Bush a year and a half ago.

    The Claymates argued that: (1) A friend of a friend is on the committee and says yuh-huh, Clay has so been going to meetings! (2) Maybe Clay keeps his name off the books to avoid getting mobbed by fans; and (3) Haters don't really know, do they?

    But our investigation (i.e., we called and asked) found that the former special-ed teacher in fact has skipped six of the seven meetings since he was named to the panel in September 2006, not even opting to drop in via conference call. A rep for Aiken -- now on Broadway in "Spamalot" -- declined to comment.
CDD Blogwatch
  • Clay - The Man ... "Love Everlasting" ... new graphics and Clay goodies celebrates 5 years since Clay performed "Everlasting Love" on AI2

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Exciting News! Clay To Be On WRAL Wednesday, 2/27, at 5 p.m.

We have some very exciting news, which by the time this is out in print, most of you will probably already know. Clay's interview with Linda Loveland of WRAL in Raleigh will be on television Wednesday, 2/27, at 5 p.m. According to ClaytonClayniac at The Clayboard, a short clip was shown today:

They just showed a short clip of Clay in the recording studio in NY - he sang just a line or two from one of the songs on the new CD he's working on! Said Clay invited Linda Loveland to NY, and that interview will be shown tomorrow at 5pm! Also said that he will reveal the secret about his music that he hasn't told fans until now!!!
And now those clips are available online at Clack Unlimited! To download both video clips from tonight's news, go to Clack Unlimited.

Of special interest on these two clips are the following items:

  • Clay said that 90% of people have not heard the songs that will be on his CD
  • Clay's producer said, "I'm very optimistic that we'll have a record where people will go, 'Is that that Clay Aiken?'"
  • WRAL tells us that those watching their 5 p.m. news on Wednesday will get to hear exclusive cuts of Clay's new songs before anyone else.
  • WRAL also says we will see what his new songs say about his life and his secret about his music that he has kept from his fans until now.
One more thing (and if you don't want to read the words to one of Clay's song...STOP RIGHT HERE!), on one of the clips, you can hear Clay singing part of one of his songs. The words he sings are, "...all worked out, faith has conquered fear..." Apparently this is a song written by Ryan Tedder, and here are the words (don't know for sure that this will end up on Clay's CD, but don't the words sound like him?).

NEW 2/28:
You can listen to Ryan Tedder's version at this link.
On My Way Here
by Ryan Tedder

I turn my first step
On that black and white kitchen floor
I sometimes wonder if that house
Is even there, anymore
I had my first glimpse of love
When I was five
I watched two people split apart
But still the three of us survived

I’ve seen the best
I’ve seen the worst
I wouldn’t change what I’ve been through
I’ve touched the sky
I’ve hit the wall
But I did what I had to

On my way here
Where I am now
I’ve learned to fly
I have to want to leave the ground
I’ve fallen hard
But I’ve been loved
And in the end it all works out
My faith has conquered fear
On my way here.

Oh yeah yeaaah

My address has changed
Almost every year
I've found that standing still
Can quickly make a lifetime disappear
I'd rather try and fail
A thousand times denied
And this, whenever you feel pain
It lets you know that you’re alive

I’ve been a fool
I’ve been afraid
Yeah, I’ve been loved
I've been lied to
I've been wrong
And I've been right
I stood up when I had to

Yeah Yeahhhh

On my way here
Where I am now
I’ve learned to fly
I have to want to leave the ground
I’ve fallen hard
But I’ve been loved
And in the end it all works out
My faith has conquered fear
On my way here.

No guarantees
I believed that I would find
An open door or a light
To lead me to the other side
I guess that is why

On my way here
Where I am now
I’ve learned to fly
I have to want to leave the ground
I’ve fallen hard
But I‘ve been loved
And in the end it all works out
My faith has conquered fear
On my way here

Stay tuned for more information tomorrow after the Linda Loveland piece is televised!

Clay Mentioned on TV Guide Channel

The TV Guide Channel aired a small segment about Clay in their American Idol special: Where Are They Now. A cap is up at ClackUnlimited.

CDD supports:

Bubel Aiken Foundation GoodSearch for TBAF UNICEF