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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Tidbits 7/5

  • Clay visits Somalia....
    • United Press International -
      NAIROBI, Kenya, July 4 (UPI) -- Pop star and UNICEF ambassador Clay Aiken, who just spent five days Somalia, is calling on the world to do what it can to help the African nation's children.

      "Unfortunately this is a region that's better known for conflict, insecurity, drought and floods," Aiken, who has been a UNICEF ambassador for four years, said in a statement Thursday. "It's truly remarkable that UNICEF is still able to make a difference in the health, education and overall well-being of Somali children."
  • United Press International - Idols still enjoying success past their 15 minutes -
    The Chronicle said also noted that while former "Idol" contestants Chris Daughtry and Clay Aiken remain the most successful finalists to date, other finalists from the series are taking part in an "Idols" tour taking part this summer.
  • National Post - American and Canadian Idol... is it better to lose?
    Take the advice of AI second season winner, Ruben Studdard (himself overshadowed by his runner-up, Clay Aiken) who warned original Canadian Idol winner Ryan Malcolm to “read the fine print” on his contract.
  • Charlotte Observer - former Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC), who passed away, mentions Clay in his 2004 memoirs...
    On Edwards’ 2004 vice presidential run

    “It’s always nice to see a North Carolinian in the national spotlight - like Clay Aiken and Fantasia Barrino but watching a nice man with so little experience or familiarity with national and international issues struck me as `overreaching.’.”
  • ABC News - battle of hot dogs ... Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hotdog-Eating Contest in Coney Island ...
    In one of the most exciting finishes in hot dog eating competition history, defending champion Joey Chestnut today defeated six-time winner Takeru Kobayashi in overtime to keep the Mustard Belt, $20,000 and the world's fastest hot dog eater title.

    Both eaters downed 59 hot dogs in the regular 10-minute competition at Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hotdog-Eating Contest in Coney Island, forcing a speed-eating, five-dog overtime. There Chestnut, known to some as the "Clay Aiken of Bacon," proved to be the speedier of the two.
  • OK! Magazine - stars on how the celebrate and celebrated the 4th of July - "Clay Aiken tells me, “I grew up going to the fireworks.”"
  • San Francisco Chronicle - AI ...
    Actually, some of the also-rans are doing better than many of the winners. Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard may have just tied the knot, but Season 5's fourth-place finisher, Daughtry, was the hottest concert act of 2007, and Clay Aiken is keeping his career alive while he awaits the birth of his first child and his next hair appointment.
CDD Blogwatch
  • Nothing here yet

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A Capitol Fourth - Remembering July 4, 2004

Has it really been four years since Clay performed at the PBS special, A Capitol Fourth, on July 4, 2004? As hard as it is to believe it, yes it has. Hosted by Barry Bostwick, the special also featured performances by Vince Gill and Amy Grant, the Bee Gees, gospel singer Yolanda Adams, and the U.S. Drum & Bugle Corps. It was an honor for Clay to be included in this celebration, being only one year removed from being runner up on American Idol. From American Idol to America's Big Birthday Celebration!

Clay sang the National Anthem to perfection, then later in the show performed Measure of a Man and God Bless The U.S.A. He received rousing ovations for each performance.

One article, Clay Aiken's Star Rises With PBS Special, that was on Yahoo's music site on July 1, 2004, talks about what it meant to Clay to perform in this Fourth of July celebration. The article, in full, is below:

Clay Aiken's Star Rises With PBS Special

07/01/2004 8:44 AM, AP
Lynn Elber

For Clay Aiken , performing at what he considers the nation's pre-eminent July Fourth bash, PBS' "A Capitol Fourth" in Washington, could have been moving enough.

But this particular holiday carries deeper significance. His stepfather, Ray Parker, a veteran, died two years ago on July 4. His younger brother, 18-year-old Brett, just enlisted in the Marines.

"This Fourth of July is special because my dad was in the Air Force and my brother is now in the military," said Aiken. "It gives a little more meaning to it this year."

Aiken, the formerly gawky redhead whose powerful voice gained him "American Idol" fame, plans to sing the national anthem; Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" and an orchestra-backed version of "Measure of a Man," from Aiken's album.

He's in good company at the ceremony, which airs live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol 8-9:30 p.m. EDT Sunday on public TV stations (check local listings).

With Barry Bostwick as host, the lineup includes Vince Gill and Amy Grant; the Bee Gees; gospel singer Yolanda Adams, and the U.S. Drum & Bugle Corps. A 150th birthday salute to "Stars and Stripes Forever" composer John Philip Sousa is planned.

Rousing patriotism is one thing for Aiken, politics quite another.

"Music gives people the opportunity to come together and all enjoy one thing and politics, as important as they are to the success of the country, do more to divide, unfortunately. I don't want to be part of that," he said.

About a half-million people attend the annual PBS concert — a prospect Aiken doesn't find daunting.

"I'm more excited about it, actually. I was invited to a different Fourth of July event but I wanted to do this one. ... It's just a cooler opportunity to be in Washington, D.C., for the holiday, with a big 110-piece orchestra."

How does the 25-year-old pop star come by such poise?

"I might be a little less self-possessed than comes across," he said, with cheerful candor. "I just do my best to portray it, to make sure I don't look nervous."

Besides, he remains aware of his how far he's come in a short time, from unknown to best-selling pop singer (the RCA album "Measure of a Man") preparing for his first solo concert tour.

"I try to remember it was just barely a year ago that I was sitting in North Carolina not doing much but teaching and going to class and turning my homework in late," he said. "And it could very easily come back to that at any moment, so I try to remember that as much as I can."

A one-time YMCA camp counselor who majored in special education, Aiken was the second-season runner-up to soulman Ruben Studdard . This year's winner was Fantasia Barrino, with Diana DeGarmo close behind (DeGarmo's first single, "Dreams," is just out).

Aiken is squeezing the PBS show in between tour rehearsals. In March, he finished a successful series of concerts with the first-year "American Idol" champ Kelly Clarkson .

The new 12-state tour, set to kick off next week in North Dakota, includes shows in Wisconsin, Tennessee, his native North Carolina, New York and Delaware.

Aiken labels it a "progression" of his concerts with Clarkson, with "the same band, the same crew, even the same bus driver, believe it or not," but with a new set, different material and video flourishes.

He's added songs connected to "American Idol" that were purged from the previous tour.

It was perhaps selfish, he said, but fans didn't get to hear familiar tunes including "This is the Night" and "Solitaire."

"I wanted to make sure I distanced myself from the show a little bit. Both of us wanted to graduate," he said of Clarkson. "We both wanted to recognize that's where we came from, but at the same time stand alone without the need to have 'American Idol' tacked on.

"When you write this article, I can guarantee you're going to write '"American Idol" alumnus Clay Aiken.' Both of us want to be known as Clay Aiken or Kelly Clarkson," he said.

It might just be a question of time, he concedes.

He and other "American Idol" contestants are fond of the obscure fact that Gladys Knight was discovered on "Ted Mack's Amateur Hour."

"I would love to have that kind of history," Aiken said, but diplomatically adds: "I don't want to abandon that part of me because I wouldn't be here if not for that show."

He and second-season finalist Kimberley Locke , who's become a friend and Aiken's roommate in Los Angeles, were waxing nostalgic over tapes of the show recently.

"Man, I wish I could go back and do that show again," they agreed, according to Aiken. "It was just a lot of fun."

With his contractual obligation to "American Idol" over, he's free to pursue any and all dreams. He wants to cement his musical status ("I'm not really an established recording artist yet") and is intrigued by the idea of returning to television in some way.

And what about long-term goals?

"I'll tell you where I don't want to be: Washed up and still trying to struggle to get people to buy my albums. I want to enjoy this like it's a fun summer camp experience. ... But if at some point it's over, I want to understand it's time to go back to school."
And now, sit back and enjoy the memories created by a YouTube video of Clay's performances on July 4, 2004 in "A Capitol Fourth"

UNICEF Article Reminds Us of CNN Special - "The Survival Project: One Child At A Time"

"UNICEF will be the focus of a special global broadcast on CNN and CNN International this Sunday," begins an article on UNICEF's website. This broadcast will include reports on UNICEF's work with children all over the world. Clay will be one of UNICEF's ambassadors to be included in video diaries talking about their experiences with UNICEF.

UNICEF's article, in full, says:

‘The Survival Project’: CNN programme shines spotlight on UNICEF work

© CNN/2008/Gajilan

NEW YORK, USA, 3 July 2008 – UNICEF will be the focus of a special global broadcast on CNN and CNN International this Sunday.

The Survival Project: One Child at a Time will feature work that UNICEF is doing to protect and support children in countries such as Laos, Iraq, Ethiopia and Peru.

“CNN’s correspondents will show the challenges faced by children around the world and will offer viewers an opportunity to effect helpful change,” said the Executive Vice President of Content Development and Strategy for CNN Worldwide, Sue Bunda.

Joining the fight for child survival

Anchored by CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, ‘The Survival Project’ will premiere on Sunday, 6 July at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Eastern Time in the United States, and will be simulcast on CNN and CNN International.

The broadcast will also feature UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Lucy Liu and musician Joel Madden as panellists speaking about their experiences with UNICEF. Other celebrities – including Clay Aiken, Nicole Ritchie, Al Roker and Marcus Samuelsson – will appear in video diaries about their volunteer work, encouraging viewers to join the fight for child survival.

A challenge to the audience

Child mortality rates reached a new low last year. For the first time since the United Nations began keeping records, the number of children who die each year before the age of five has dropped below 10 million.

‘The Survival Project’ will focus on the challenges that remain.

“As many as 9.7 million children die each year before their fifth birthday, largely due to preventable causes like measles, malaria and diarrhoea. That is 26,000 children every day,” said US Fund for UNICEF President and CEO Caryl Stern. “We’re extremely grateful to see the world’s top news network not only highlighting the difficulties facing children’s survival, but moreover, challenging its audience to put an end to this injustice.”

Entertainment Tonight Mentions CNN UNICEF Special

A short segment on Entertainment Tonight mentioned the CNN special that will be on this Sunday, July 6. Clay will be included in this special, The Survival Project: One Child At a Time. In addition, ET mentioned that Clay (as well as Nicole Richie and Joel Madden) is supporting UNICEF's efforts in public service announcements.

In the short segment, Clay said, "Helping children have the basic needs to live is a no brainer." Be sure to tune in Sunday at 8 p.m.EST, with a repeat at 11 p.m. EST and 2 p.m. EST (July 7).

You can download the ET segment at Clack Unlimited. If you are able, leave a donation for Clack Unlimited so they can continue to supply these great videos for us.

Clay Wraps Up Somalian Trip

Clay wrapped up his UNICEF trip to Somalia today and "and called on the world to remember the plight of that country's children."

UNICEF Press Release:

UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken Visits North-West Somalia

UNICEF is making a difference in Somalia despite difficult circumstances; Urges world to remember Somali children NAIROBI, Kenya, July 3

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- UNICEF Ambassador Clay
Aiken, today ended a five-day visit to the troubled east African nation of
Somalia and called on the world to remember the plight of that country's

(Photo: )

"Unfortunately this is a region that's better known for conflict,
insecurity, drought and floods," said Aiken who has been a UNICEF Ambassador
for four years. "It's truly remarkable that UNICEF is still able to make a
difference in the health, education and overall well-being of Somali

Aiken traveled to Hargeisa, Gabiley and Boroma located in the north-west
region of the country, known as the republic of Somaliland. Here, Aiken was
able to observe first-hand UNICEF-supported projects, which promote child
health, safe water, sanitation and hygiene, primary education, child
protection and girls' empowerment.

Somalia is a country in which less than 25 percent of the population have
access to basic health services, less than 30 percent attend primary school
and only 29 percent have access to a safe water source.

It's also a place where 98 percent of girls are subjected to genital
circumcision and has amongst the highest maternal mortality rates in the

One of Aiken's first stops was the Somaliland Cultural and Sports
Association (SOCSA), an enclosed facility in Gabiley dedicated to empowering
girls through sport and cultural activities.

"The girls here are able to learn about leadership and health, acquire
life-skills and play sports within a safe environment," said Aiken. "Even the
youngest girls that I've met at SOCSA, impressed me with how confident and
articulate they are as a result of this project."

At a camp for 1500 internally displaced families in Hargeisa, Aiken met
11-year-old Abduraman, who helps to support his five siblings and blind mother
by working each morning to collect stones. He uses his earnings to pay for
school, which he attends in the afternoon.

"Somalia has some of the lowest enrollment rates in the world, but every
child has the right to an education," Aiken stressed. "UNICEF is working to
help ensure that even working children get to go to school. UNICEF has also
provided the camp with child protection monitors, teacher-training and school

In Boroma, Aiken also visited maternal and child health clinics to observe
nutritional feeding and immunization activities along with projects supporting
children with disabilities, the eradication of female genital mutilation and
the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

"Now that I have seen Somalia for myself, I feel it is important for the
American public to remember that the Somali people have the same dreams for
their children that we do," said Aiken, who in recent years has also visited
conflict areas in Afghanistan and Uganda for UNICEF.

"The country is one of the most desperate in the world. Fortunately,
UNICEF has always been there and continues to provide the support needed to
make a difference. No other organization is more capable of making such a
difference than UNICEF," Aiken added.

The lack of a permanent central government has contributed to Somalia's
status as one of the poorest and most volatile countries in the world. One of
the most serious droughts since the 1970s has affected large parts of the
country, exacerbating hardships for rural populations.


For more than 60 years, UNICEF has been the world's leading international
children's organization, working in over 150 countries to address the ongoing
issues that affect why kids are dying. UNICEF provides lifesaving nutrition,
clean water, education, protection and emergency response saving more young
lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. While millions
of children die every year of preventable causes like dehydration, upper
respiratory infections and measles, UNICEF, with the support of partnering
organizations and donors alike, has the global experience, resources and reach
to give children the best hope of survival. For more information about
UNICEF, please visit


Tidbits 7/3

  • - misfits of sci-fi?
    Invisible, Clay Aiken: For Claude, the French Obi-Wan Kenobi to my emo Luke Skywalker. Although Obi-Wan never pushed Luke off a building to see exactly how strong the Force was within him.
  • Lycos PR - Clay #2 on this week's Lycos50
  • Broadway World - article about William Joseph:
    Since the release of Within, William has been in-demand for a number of high-profile musical events, including a support tour with 143 Records’ label mate Josh Groban in 2004, a two-month tour with Clay Aiken in 2005 (plus a collaboration with him on his album A Thousand Different Ways), and supporting such artists as Barbara Streisand, Natalie Cole, Kenny G., Il Divo, and Peter Cincotti at select concerts around the world.
  • TV Squad -
    Haysbert was then wrestled to the ground by his handlers and is now "recuperating" at the Clay Aiken Home for Delusional Celebrities
  • - Ruben Studdard gets married -
    Ruben, a native of Birmingham, took home the top prize on American Idol in 2003, beating out Clay Aiken for the title.
  • - America's Got Talent returns -
    That song needs to BUILD. Also, they sound a little like Clay Aiken, only not good, and that is saying something. Piers hated it, David tries to be nice and Sharon compliments Flossie but says it was dated.
  • Associated Content - Ruben Studdard gets married -
    The ceremony reportedly lasted for about thirty minutes, with no singing coming from the sonorous singer who won the hearts of millions of Americans to capture the second season title as American Idol over Clay Aiken. Instead, a sting ensemble provided the music while vows were exchanged and prayers said for the new couple.
  • The Street - tips to getting good event tickets -
    Your wedding anniversary is coming up and your wife is dying to see Clay Aiken in Spamalot. Unfortunately, tickets are sold out on that special night.
CDD Blogwatch

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Picture of Clay in Somalia and Article at UNICEF's Website

UNICEF's first article about Clay's visit to Somalia has been published at the UNICEF website. Included with that article is a picture of Clay talking with a nine-year-old girl named Rhama while he visited the Somaliland Cultural and Sports Association in Hargeisa, North West Somalia.

We read in the article some of the things that impressed Clay as he toured the country for UNICEF:

“In a country that’s better known for conflict, insecurity, drought and floods,” said Mr. Aiken, “it’s truly remarkable that UNICEF is still able to make a difference to the health, education and well-being of Somali children.”
In addition, Clay commented on how important he feels it is for the American people to realize that the people in Somalia want the same things as we do for our children:
‘Now that I have seen Somalia for myself, I feel it is important for the American public to remember that the Somali people have the same dreams for their children that we do. Somali families still want the best for their children and people really want to help bring about change. Though the situation in Somaliland is less dangerous for children than in the south, the country is one of the most desperate in the world. The country has been without a functioning government for almost twenty years. Fortunately, UNICEF has always been there and continues to provide the support needed to make a difference. No other organization is more capable of making such a difference than UNICEF."
Clay's Daily Double will keep you informed of everything concerning Clay's trip as it is made available.

"Relief Web" Article Talks of Clay's Experiences From His Trip to Somalia

Clay recently spent about a week in Somalia as an ambassador with UNICEF to learn about the conditions the children are in and about what is being done to help them with education and health.

In an article on the Relief Web website, entitled UNICEF Ambassador, Clay Aiken, says organization is making a difference in Somalia despite difficult circumstances, Clay speaks not only of the difficulties that are encountered, but more importantly the great work UNICEF is doing to make a difference in the children's lives there. This article also appears on UNICEF's website.

While there, Clay got to see several of the projects that UNICEF is working on, including the water system in one of the towns and maternal and children's health clinics. He also had the opportunity to play basketball 'with girls in the enclosed facility of the Somaliland Cultural and Sports Association (SOCSA)' and speak with a young boy who earns money to pay for his own schooling.

Sometime in the near future, UNICEF will have field notes on their site written by Clay about his trip. Keep on eye on the Field Notes page for those reports.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

13 Wonderful Pages of Clay Pictures at acionline - Many New!!

Many of us are missing Clay this summer while he takes some time off. And though its not exactly the same, how would you feel about having lots of new pictures of Clay to maybe help you miss him a tad less. How about 13 pages of Clay pictures, most of which are pictures we haven't seen before. Pictures from the years 2003-2008? Think that would help a little?

Acionline is a Spanish site that has these pictures of Clay! I don't know Spanish, so I don't know what else is at this site. But I know enough to get you to the 13 pages of pictures. Unfortunately, some people have had trouble getting the link to work. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But don't give up if you are one of the ones who can't get into it the first time. Just keep trying.

Here's what you do to get to the pictures:

Click on this link: Acionline or put this into your browser:

You will be taken to their home page which says "aci editorial" at the top left corner. In the gray section to the right, look down to where it says "palabras clave" and type in "Clay Aiken" in the long box below these words.

Click on the words "buscar" in the orange box to the right of where you typed Clay's name in. This should take you to the first of 13 pages of a multitude of pictures. You won't believe your eyes!

To enlarge the pictures either click on the "+ sign" below it or click on the picture. "Right click, save picture as" to save to your computer.

Again, remember, don't get discouraged if you can't get in first. Just keep trying. It'll be worth it!

If You Haven't Heard It, Take a Listen to "Its In Everyone of Us"

If you are one of the people who bought On My Way Here on ITunes before May 6, you have no doubt listened to "It's In Everyone of Us" many times. This is the bonus song that was available if you bought the CD on ITunes before OMWH was released.

If you're like me, you didn't buy OMWH from ITunes until after May 6. And if you are like me, you had never heard "It's In Everyone of Us" until TODAY!! What a beautiful song. The music and words are simple, yet powerful. And of course, Clay's voice makes it even more beautiful.

Its too late to get the song at ITunes, but you can head to YouTube and watch two different videos that feature "It's In Everyone of Us". Or you can scroll down, and watch them right here on Clay's Daily Double! After watching them, scroll down some more and we've included the words to it for you as well. Enjoy!

It's In Everyone of Us - YouTube Video by emerson032

It's In Everyone of Us - YouTube Video by lampmstar

It's in everyone of us
To be wise
Find your heart
Open up both your eyes,
We can all know everything
Without ever knowing why,
It's in everyone of us
By and by...

It's in everyone of us
To be wise,
Find your heart
Open up both your eyes,
We can all know everything
Without ever knowing why,
It's in everyone of us
By and by...

It's in everyone of us
I just remembered
It's like I been sleeping for years,
I'm not awake as I can be
But my seeing is better,
I can see...
Through the tears,
I've been realizing that,
I bought this ticket
And watching only half of the show,
There is scenery and lights
And a cast of thousands,
Who all know
What I know,
And it's good
That it's so...

It's in everyone of us
To be wise
Find your heart
Open up both your eyes,
We can all know everything
Without ever knowing why,
It's in everyone of us
By and by,
It's in everyone of us
By and by...

CDD supports:

Bubel Aiken Foundation GoodSearch for TBAF UNICEF