Monday, July 31, 2006

Making a Difference: The Measure of the Man

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"The future is not in my hands. There are, though, things I hope for.

World peace

"I believe God has a direction for me. My job is to give back and to be a decent human being no matter how many people cheer my name."

"I want my tombstone to say that I have made a difference somewhere"

~ Clay Aiken ~

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Service has always been important to Clay's life. His success in the music industry has not changed that. Wanting to make a difference in the world should be commended. Clay started a foundation for inclusion programs for children with disabilites. He has given his name, time, and money to many worthy causes. One difference which cannot easily be measured is that he has brought awareness to organizations, causes, and problems about which people (his fans) would not normally have given much thought. Clay need not worry about making a difference because he already has, in many ways.

A picture might be worth a thousand words, but sometimes no words are needed at all.

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Edited Unicef footage from the trip to Indonesia

Unedited video from the Unicef trip to Indonesia

Beautiful montage by Goood Baby Brush of a man making a difference, in small ways and in big ways, set to "All Will Be Well" .

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For more on Clay's work with UNICEF go to Clay's UNICFEF page.

Go here for more on Clay's work the
Bubel-Aiken Foundation.

In the poverty-stricken nation of Uganda, women try to make a living by making handmade bead necklaces. Consider supporting them by purchasing these beautiful necklaces through
Beads for Life.

For a wonderful and informative blog on UNICEF please go to
The ConCLAYve: The Ambassador and the Children of War.

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Clay's Amazing Fans Get A Clue: A UNICEF Update

Clay blogged about the amazing amount of money Clay Nation has raised in less than twenty-four hours. Clay got a call from the UNICEF people in NYC with the news that his fans had so far contributed 17% of the effort to raise funds for the children of Lebanon.

The total stands at $47,556.96.

**(Total as of 7/31 is $66,723.12)**
**(Total as of 8/2 is $70,665.42)**

Way to go Clay Nation.

UNICEF's email in response to a donation:

Thank you for your online contribution to the United States Fund for UNICEF.
Your donation will be used to save lives, protect civilians and support basic
services such as health, water and sanitation, education and psycho-social care
for the tens of thousands of children affected by conflict in Lebanon.

UNICEF has been offering assistance to the children and women of Lebanon since
1948 and has extensive programs in the areas of education, youth empowerment and
adolescent participation, child protection, water and sanitation, and health.
Your gift will allow us to continue our commitment by providing the necessary
support and care to the children who need it most.

As a thank you Clay gave us a hint to a song that will be on his CD. His hint of song lyric was so generous it took all of 10 seconds to come up with the song: When I See You Smile, originally performed by Bad English (John Waite).

When I See You Smile - Bad English
Sometimes I wonder
How I'd ever make it through,
Through this world without having you
I just wouldn't have a clue

'Cause sometimes it seems
Like this world's closing in on me,
And there's no way of breaking free
And then I see you reach for me

Sometimes I wanna give up
I wanna give in, I wanna quit the fight
And then I see you, baby
And everything's alright, everything's alright

When I see you smile
I can face the world, oh oh, you know I can do anything
When I see you smile
I see a ray of light, oh oh, I see it shining right through the rain
When I see you smile
Oh yeah, baby when I see you smile at me

Baby there's nothing
in this world that could ever do
What a touch of your hand can do
It's like nothing that I ever knew

And when the rain is falling
I don't feel it, 'cause you're here with me now
And one look at you baby
Is all I'll ever need, you're all I'll ever need


Sometimes I wanna give up
I wanna give in, I wanna quit the fight
And then I see you baby
And everything's alright, everything's alright

So right...

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Here is a montage done by jenks set to a version of When I See You Smile performed by Uncle Sam with an R&B vibe.

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

UNICEF Needs Help

UNICEF has recently sent an e-mail about the middle east crisis. Clay has just posted a blog with content of the UNICEF e-mail. I would post Clay's blog, but since it is against the Official Fan Club rules to post OFC content outside of OFC, I will post the UNICEF letter which Clay used as the basis for his blog instead:

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Dear Friend,

As hostilities in the Middle East continue, innocent children are bearing the brunt of the conflict. More than a third of those already killed and injured have been children. With staff in Lebanon since 1948, UNICEF has been able to rapidly assess the situation of the estimated 350,000 children forced to flee their homes. I hope that you will be able to make a donation today to help these children in their hour of critical need. 38 tons of emergency supplies—including essential medicines as well as water and sanitation kits—were sent from UNICEF's warehouse in Copenhagen over the weekend. UNICEF staff on the ground are working around the clock to deliver aid to the children and families isolated by the destruction of roads and bridges. This is only the beginning of relief efforts in the region. UNICEF still needs $23.8 million to save and protect the children caught in this crisis. Please give generously. Thank you for your support.


Charles J. Lyons President, U.S. Fund for UNICEF

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Clay did add the following message:

"In a situation such as this, I know that we all agree... no matter where your concerns lie politically or emotionally, the world's children are of primary importance and their safety and well being should be a number one priority."

Please, check out the UNICEF website right now at to find out how you can help!

Clay has had UNICEF set up a special link for donations:
UNICEF Donation

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Mirror Mirror On The Wall

Clay Nation has been waiting (patiently for the most part) for Clay to blog about his CD release date. On July 17th Clay's executive producer, Jaymes Foster, blogged that the CD was finished, but that we would have wait a little while longer for the release date. RCA apparently still needed to finalize the schedule. We know that RCA had been eager to release the CD earlier in the year even briefly having a June 20th date on their website release schedule. When Clay blogged Monday night, I felt sure the blog would tell us a press release was imminent. Alas, no such news was forth-coming, but we did learn that Clay had a twelve hour photo shoot. Clay was a little unclear (big surprise *g*) about exactly when the photo shoot took place. On first read, it sounded like it took place on Monday, but upon further perusal of his blog, it seemed when he says "at the end of the day" he was talking about some previous day. A day that included sunsets, indoor waterfalls, Frank Sinatra against a backdrop of the city of LA. It sounds like the pictures are going to be drool-worthy.

Clay might not be the most muscular looking man on the planet. Heck, muscular is not a word associated with Mr. Aiken, but his slim build is pefect for making clothes look really good. His body type coupled with his photogenic features, Clay is one sublime model.

Here are a few professional photos of Clay for your enjoyment.

It won't be long before we have a whole new of crop of pictures with Clay's new hairstyle. I can't wait.

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Friday, July 21, 2006

One Thousand Days Is Not Enough

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Yesterday Clay Aiken fans were lucky enough to stumble upon an early studio version of a song that Clay performed on the Juke Box Tour last summer. It felt like old times as ClayNation tripped over themselves to download that mp3 as fast as they could as if it would magically disappear. It was so much fun finding the new studio version of a concert song. Of course, after the initial rush of joy, there was your usual variety opinions which is what makes this fandom interesting.

This is one opinion that I especially enjoyed:

"Basically...Clay is a pop singer...he sings pop songs. Pop songs are not known for poetic or deep lyrics. Pop songs that become classics are songs that capture peoples emotions...through the melody, the beat or the lyrics...but the lyrics need not be profound or times they can be inane and repetitious or sappy and sentimental. Some people have called the lyrics boyband lyrics...but have to remember that for almost a decade boy bands were a dominant sound in pop music. Boy bands sold millions and millions of records all over the world so there are lots of people that do not mind or even love these kinds of lyrics."
~~ClackHouse poster

It is true that we are starved for new material from Clay. We have been waiting what seems like forever for the announcement of the CD. This week, Jaymes Foster, blogged that we would have to "wait just a little longer". The ball is in RCA's court to make a final decision on the release date. In the meantime we wait, but waiting is so much easier when we have new clack to mainline. The version of "A Thousand Days" that was found is a early studio cut. It's a bit rough, but Clay sounds glorious.

At first, there was some talk that this was a leak, and the song would be on the album, but I don't think that it is. The direction of the album has changed so many times that I doubt a song that was not totally well-received from the fandom would make through all the progressions of this album. Clay blogged for us to be prepared for something different with the album. "A Thousand Days" is very reminiscent of songs on Measure of a Man. Since Clay blogged to expect something different, I do.

That takes me to expectations. The longer we have waited the more expectations have risen. Some of us wanted some of the rockin' concert Clay that we have seen and loved showcased in an album. After hearing the four previewed songs at the Juke Box Tour, I thought we would basically get mid-tempo pop or pop rock songs with better instrumentation than Measure of a Man. After the direction of the album changed to covers and love songs, there was a fear of a ballad heavy album. No one can sing the schnitz out of a ballad the way Clay can, but we know there is more to him musically and artistically. I don't think any of us fully knows what to expect from this album. We have heard insider tidbits of "vocally amazing" , "stunning" and of people questioning if that was Clay singing. Jaymes herself blogged that this album was worth the wait. Expectations are high for this album by most of the fans, and rightly so. We know what Clay can do. Will he be allowed to do and will a studio sound fully capture his essence? We'll see.

Our fandom is very diverse and opinionated. Not many are too shy to voice their opinion. No matter what the final product, not all will be happy. We've got Rock Clay lovers, BalladBoy Clay lovers, sexy Clay lovers, Christian Clay lovers, cover song lovers, original song lovers, lyric lovers, melody lovers, beat and hook lovers. Can all be satisfied at once? It is a very tall order. I would be shocked if the album were uniformly loved. The most important thing is that Clay can be happy and proud of his art. We can love it or hate it or somewhere in between and that is okay. If Clay is happy (and I think he is) then I will be more than satisfied.

Here is a montage made from video of "A Thousand Days" from Tsunamimommy via YouTube

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Thousand Different Ways

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The album is done. 'Quite Soon' has arrived. Yay! We have the title of "A Thousand Different Ways which is quite appropriate since there a thousand different ways to be a Clay Aiken fan. You only have to read at his Official Fan Club site to see the diversity of his fanbase...thousands of fans, thousands of opinions are represented. Clay gave his executive producer Jaymes Foster, the honor of telling us the title of the album. I'm not surprised that Clay didn't tell us himself. He's always been a team player, rarely taking credit for his efforts and always willing to share the limelight. The nice thing about Jaymes blogging about the CD is that it gives her a chance to tell us her impressions of Clay as an artist. Jaymes has worked with legends such as Barbara Streisand, Andrea Bocelli, and Celine Dion, and said that Clay compares favorably with those powerhouse talents. We don't yet know what style of music is on the CD. For all we know it could songs done in a thousand different ways (styles).
All Jaymes would say is that Clay picked songs to showcase his amazing voice. Jaymes also said that she was astounded by Clay's musical talent, instincts and abilities. I'm not surprised...At.All.

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Friday, July 14, 2006

The Art of a Deal

American Idol is primarily a television show, but it is also a legitimate way to find talent. Early on, the show got a bad rap for producing singers that did "not pay their dues". What does that mean? Should all musicians start out in their garage, progressing to smoky bars, and then knocking on doors begging to be heard. Many artists do start out that way, but I don't think it makes their art any more legitimate than someone who starts on a talent show. If the Mickey Mouse Club can produce Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake as legitimate artists, I think American Idol can produce a legitimate Superstar or two on its own. It already has produced several platinum-recording artists in Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, and Carrie Underwood. Kelly Clarkson is a radio darling, Grammy winner, and international Superstar selling ten million albums worldwide. Carrie Underwood has sold over 3 million and been embraced by the country music industry winning numerous country music awards. Fantasia and Ruben Studdard are successful in the urban market. Clay Aiken has sold over four million albums and grossed 28 million dollars in concert sales He is getting ready to release his second mainstream album 'quite soon', and there is no telling how far his rocket to the stars will go.

This year's winner Taylor Hicks looks to have a strong fanbase and good crowd reception at the AI5 Tour. He should be the next platinum recording artist out of the American Idol franchise. Getting your start on American Idol not longer carries quite the stigma that it did in earlier seasons. It's amazing how the current mega-ratings of American Idol can change perceptions. Taylor will have an easier road paved not only by the acceptance of American Idol as part of pop culture, but by the success of Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, and Carrie Underwood. Bo Bice also deserves some recognition for being the first contestant who showed the media and critics that musicians can and do use American Idol to gain a foothold in the industry when other methods have failed.

There will always be a jealousy factor associated with contestants coming out of American Idol. There are many talented musicians that will never see a modicum of success. Making it in the music business is a series of events that have to happen simutaneously: talent, knowing the right people, connection to your audience, a record company's willingness to promote you. It's a fact that the Idols go from obscurity to fame within a few months. How far the contestant makes it is not entirely in their own hands even if they have good performances. A lot depends on who the producers of the show want to showcase for the season. Also, the judges play a big part in swaying the audience, so if the judges like you it is a big plus. For the show to get the desired result, as any Clay Aiken fan knows, manipulation is not unheard of.

American Idol is a musical mini-bootcamp where if the Idol makes it through with a bit of fate on their side, they are poised for success. It gives them an advantage in the music business, but what happens after that is up to the individual. The Idols need to make intelligent decisions that to play to their strengths, and to make-sure they can build upon their AI audience for a long-term career.

Even Idols not coming first or second can have success. Kim Caldwell has a TV Guide hosting gig. Several contestants have gone on to acting. Tamyra Gray has done television and Broadway. Vanessa Oliverz and Diana DeGarmo both have done Broadway. Jennifer Hudson has a supporting role in Dream Girls and is on many short-lists predicting an Oscar nomination. Others have had success in the music industry. Josh Gracin is a successful country artist. Kimberley Locke has had radio success and a lucrative modeling assignment with Lane Bryant.

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I tried to come up with the contestants from each season that landed a record deal, either from a major label or an independent label. The contestants have had varying degrees of success.

Contestants who have landed record deals:

Kelly Clarkson(RCA)
Justin Guirini(Dropped by RCA, Bmg Special Prod)
Tamyra Gray (dropped by J Records, Released an album with 19 Records)
RJ Helton (Gospocentric-- Christian)
Jim Verraros (Koch)
Nikki McKibbin (Chena)
Christina Christian (19 Records--prob. no longer at label)

Clay Aiken (RCA)
Ruben Studdard (J Records)
Kimberley Locke (Curb)
Josh Gracin (Lyric Street)
Carmen Rasmussen (R3 Rcecords)
Corey Clark (Bungalo Records)
Vanessa Oliverez (released a CD In Canada)

Fantasia (J Records)
Diana DiGarmo (dropped by RCA)
John Stevens (dropped by Maverick)
LaToya London (Peak Records)
George Huff (Word Entertainment)
Jasmine Trias (Mountain Apple)
Camile Velasco (dropped by MoTown)
William Hung *(Koch)

Jon Peter Lewis ( Cockaroo Entertainment )

* Did not compete, but landed a record deal on the novelty factor.

Carrie Underwood (Arista)
Bo Bice (RCA)
Mario Vazquez* (J Records)

Constantine Mouroulis (recording, but no info of a label is found)

* Did not complete the AI Season

Taylor Hicks (Arista)
Katherine McPhee (RCA)
Chris Daughtry (RCA)
Kellie Pickler (Sony/BMG Nashville)

Note: More signings from AI5 contestants possible after AI5 Tour

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Here is site with information about the American Idols success on the radio charts: American Idols on the Charts - A Complete Record

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Spotlight Blogs:

For a look at some of musics most beautiful voices visit
The ConCLAYve: Haunting Voices: Or Continually Recurring To The Mind

For a weekly recap of Rockstar: SuperNova visit
Diamond's Blog

For insight into the radio busniess visit
Lyrichord's Music Musings: Radioplay Speculation & Analysis

Current radio chart rankings for Idols visit

Something That Really Happened: American Idol on the Radio - Week Ending 7/7/06

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Smells Like Fresh Laundry

It won't be long before the promotional machine is in full swing for Clay's new CD. I'll be happy if we get articles as good as the one in Elle during the Measure of a Man promotion. I must admit while it was my favorite article, it has my least favorite picture of Clay. Namely this one:

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It is definitely artistic, but to me it does not look like Clay at all. I will say one thing though, even Chipmunk Clay looks sexy. It's the wrong kind of sexy for the real Clay though. His is a more earthy, innate sensuality. He does take some pretty pictures. I can't blame the photographer for wanting to make art of Clay's face. This one is reminiscent of Vermeer's "Girl With a Pearl Earring", just the masculine version:

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What can you say about the eyes, lips, nose, cheekbones, other than "perfection".

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The whiff of fresh laundry is in the air. We can thank Alison Glock for giving us the phrase, "Clay Aiken smells like fresh laundry". Those six little words had people sniffing or wanting to sniff Clay for months. The View even had the Guest Host's father, who was a perfumer, give a sniff test. Clay was a good sport through something that could have been embarrassing.

View the "Sniff" video here with the bonus of Clay singing "Invisible"

Clay has much to thank Alison Glock for. Not only did we get the fresh laundry remark, but she did write some very nice things about shell pink plump lips. I guess Clay must have like her since he worked with Alison on "Learning to Sing" the following year.

The one thing that strikes me in reading through the Elle article is how young Clay sounded. Clay has matured so much in three years, physically, emotionally, mentally. He has seen the world, experienced the good and bad aspects of being famous, waded through the music business with his core ideals intact. I expect the next in-depth interview to reflect his growth not only as a musician, performer, and entertainer, but also his growth as a person.

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Here are some excerpts from "Aching For Aiken" by Alison Glock, Elle Magazine September 2003.


Clay Aiken smells like fresh laundry. It's the first thing you notice about him—that he's well-scrubbed, radiant in his cleanliness, a walking, freckled dryer sheet. The second thing you notice are his lips, which are plump and ripe and shell pink. Much has been made about his hair—the whole flatironed, geek-hipster red nest of it all—but little, too little, has been made of his lips, perhaps because most of the world has only ever seen them contorted and trembling in song


His fans range from Diane Sawyer (who admitted to a serious Clay crush on Good Morning America ) to Neil Sedaka, who cried on camera when Aiken covered his hit “Solitaire.” “His voice is incredible--the pitch, the tone,” says Sedaka. “I think he'll be the new Frank Sinatra.”“So much has happened in the past nine months that I haven't had time to think,” admits the 24-year-old, from the back of the van that's shuttling him from New York City to a concert appearance in Hartford, Connecticut. “Honestly, last night I was sitting in the hotel room crying for about an hour. I had to call someone back in Raleigh to wake them up because I needed to talk. Certain things have just hit me.”


Standing over 6' tall but weighing only 145 pounds, Aiken appears recessive, unintimidating, a gentle giant who consistently drives women between the ages of 16 and 60 into a frothy lather of lust. In addition to the Rolling Stone cover, there are the requisite Web sites devoted to all things Clay, run by women who call themselves Claymates and shilling everything from Clay coffee mugs to Claytionary (stationary embossed with his face). And then there are the panties. “I got seven one night,” says Aiken with a giggle. “And last night, I got five thongs and two Depend diapers. One had a note attached that said, 'Clay, we love you too, from your older fans.'”That women are so moved by his presence that they hurl their undergarments onstage as if he were Elvis mystifies Aiken: “Ruben always jokes with me that I could have any woman out there. He says, 'You need to hook up with somebody before you leave the tour.' But I try and explain that that's not what this is about for me. The reason women like me, I think, is because I don't threaten them. I realize Ruben's right, I probably could”—he pauses, blushes—“you know, but I respect women more than that.”He wrinkles his brow, then shakes his head. “I am extremely flattered. There are some gorgeous women who are, quote, in love with me. But I think taking advantage of that is wrong.” Besides, Aiken is a man who takes sex seriously. “I was raised by my mother and grandmothers, and a lot of what I am is because I wanted to be different from my birth father. He was a womanizer. When I had to go visit him, there would be a different woman over every time. I
thought that was really tacky.”


Aiken pulls me aside. He wants to show me the tour bus, something I was told was off-limits to reporters. Aiken disagrees and confronts a tour manager.“Ned, you're a lying sack of crap. Don't lie to the lady in front of me.”“I guess I forgot,” Ned says sheepishly.“You didn't forget for squat. Now we're going to have to have a fight. That burns me up.”Aiken turns to me and says through his teeth, “You know what? You are so going on that bus.”Aiken is nothing if not chivalrous. Considerate. Polite. He's the guy who asks you questions and actually listens to the answers—and even asks follow-up questions hours later, thereby proving that he finds you worth his attention. And he notices things. Like that the empty Burger King bag is rattling at your feet on the floor of the van, so he picks it up. Or that the air conditioner is too cold, and turns it down. It's this empathy and inherent graciousness evident in every press appearance and performance that leads many men to speculate that Aiken is gay (he has denied it) and even more women to say, Who cares? “I don't think people know what to do with me,” Aiken says. “I'm interesting because they don't know what to do with me.”The American Idol bus is less bus than nightclub. There are black leather lounge chairs, plasma TVs, marble floors, a neon-trimmed alcohol-free minibar, and beds with privacy curtains. As we open the back lounge door, Kimberley Locke (who came in third) lifts her head from the couch.“Cla-ay,” she whines, “I'm having a crisis. I need you. I need you now.”Aiken apologizes, then steps inside the lounge, says, “What is it, honey?” and shuts the door. Outside the bus, the other Idol girls walk around in skinny jeans and mascara, alternately complaining and striking poses like on MTV. In time Aiken emerges, apologizes again, then sits down with the crew for a dinner of peanut butter and jelly and a glass of, yes, milk. He playfully scolds a staff member for swearing. Idol Kimberly Caldwell (the sixth Idol to get the hook) joins the table wearing a handwritten T-shirt that says QUIT STARING, I'M HER.

While she picks apart a cinnamon bun, Aiken tries to articulate his ambition.“Am I going to turn into a diva or try to make sure I do something valuable with my influence?” Caldwell chews and looks off into the distance. “That's why I'm starting a foundation for individuals with disabilities. [His charity, named the Bubel-Aiken Foundation, is named for the woman who encouraged him to try out for the show.] I would be more than happy to do this for three years and have enough clout to make a difference. I don't need to win a Grammy.

Still, there are some people who would say I've turned into a diva already.” Caldwell laughs. Aiken proceeds to give an example of the last time he went to KFC. “It was half an hour before closing, and they said they were out of chicken. It's KFC—how can you be out of chicken? So I'm starving and probably crankier than I should have been, and I said, 'You don't have any chicken in the building anywhere?' And she said, 'We have some wings that are kind of warm.' I said, 'I don't want wings, I want chicken.' And she maintains that she doesn't have any, so I say, 'You can't tell me that every morning you go out and kill some chickens and make it fresh. You know you've got chicken back there, so why don't you go back into the kitchen and cook it up?'”Now the whole table is laughing.“The point is, I would have said the same things before American Idol, but I wouldn't have been considered a diva. I just would have been considered myself.”“Where did you learn to sing, Clay?” Caldwell asks, flipping her shoulder-length extensions behind her neck.“At church, like everybody else.”“I learned at a bar,” scoffs Caldwell, pushing back her chair and heading to makeup. Aiken looks around, lowers his voice, then whispers, “I'll bet she did.”

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Friday, July 07, 2006

Blogger Boy

Clay Aiken goes weeks without blogging at the Official Fan Club, but with the latest contest to guess the acronym of the title of his new CD, Clay becomes a blogging fool. Heh! The amount blogging Clay does has been a bone of contention with some. The fan club states that with your subscription to OFC that there would be a weekly blog. Well, not quite true. We get a blog when Clay feels like blogging which is way less than many including me would like. The CD must be totally ready because Clay is monitoring the guesses for the acronyms. We must not be doing too well at it because the contest, which Clay snarkily calls NANA (New Album Name Acronym) started with one guess and no clues, is now up to seven guess with clues. The contest was announced on June 30th, and four days later we get the first blog.

I figure since it was July 4th, Clay was done with his family gathering, full of pulled pork and lima bean pie, sitting in his jammies, thinking about his contest. In that blog he tells us only to guess letters because he SERIOUSLY doubts anyone will guess his title, and that this is his favorite contest evah. We also learn that only about four people know the title. Now that totally sounds like Clay, holding the superduper top secret info close to the vest. He wants no snooping in the back channels. I wish I could figure out where those back channels are. I feel a little left out. *g* The next morning he blogs again. I think we must really suck at guessing because he says we would have better luck if we treated it like a lottery with random letters.

Clay must really want someone to win his contest because OFC changes the contest rules.

From the public part of the site:

07/05/06 / OMG! Clay Ups the Ante on the Acronym ContestOver the fourth of July holiday, Clay has decided to up the ante on the new NANA (New Album Name Acronym) Contest and add a personal touch as a thank you to his fans. Since the first contest clue leads to a possible 456,976 acronyms, Clay would like each fan club member to now be allowed up to seven (7) entries giving everyone a better chance at guessing the acronym for the title of his new album. And that's not all... Clay wants to add more to the jackpot! The grand prize winner will now also receive a one-year fan club membership renewal, compliments of Clay, and a congratulatory phone call from Clay himself!!!! Posted by Team Clay

A phone call from Clay. Those little words got the fandom working double time in coming up with some possible acronyms.

He is so pumped about his contest that he blogs again (wait two blogs in one day!) and tells us in his best Teacher Clay voice to give our guesses in his blog so he can see them. He doesn't want to wait until the end of the contest. His fans could give him a few lessons in waiting. *g*

Clay must have been pulling out his pretty hair because despite the seven chances, we still suck at guessing. New clues. First letter is a vowel and the next three aren't. One person has the correct letters in the wrong order, and one person has almost the correct order with the middle two letters inversed.

With a fandom full of computer and math geeks, those clues are all that is needed to spur a flurry of activity with Excel spreadsheets.

Unfortunately, the contest is not fun for some people. Only US fans are eligible because of contest legalities. Also some fans are crying foul because clues were given after some people had sent in their official entries. It's hard to make if fair for everyone. The alternative is that no one gets anything. I hope it doesn't come to that.

I haven't sent my guesses in yet, and even though I doubt I have a chance of winning, I will participate because this contest is making Clay happy. For me, what I like about this contest is that Clay is interacting with his fans like they are friends, like he feels the connection with us that we feel with him. He giddiness is coming through on his blogs. I love the feeling I am getting from reading them. His apparent happiness makes me happy.

A message board poster put it perfectly this morning:

"At this point, I really have no expectation of winning. However, for me, the prize in this whole situation is not the phone call. It's the knowledge that he's not so guarded and wary that he has to consult with an attorney and
publicist before blogging, that he's unafraid to actually have fun with fans. I hope it never ends, but I fear that one day, if he finds people to be too exacting or unforgiving, it may."~~posted at Clayversity

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Mr. Aiken Sings At The Capitol

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that
among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." ~~Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

The Fourth of July holiday has come to mean parades, family picnics, fireworks, and a day off from work. I hope that everyone takes the time to remember what Independence Day means, about the blood that soaked the soil of this land to give us the freedom that many people in the world still live without.

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My favorite 4th of July was when Clay appeared on PBS's Capitol 4th. I was on vacation that year, and I missed Clay singing The Star-Spangled Banner. Thank God for clack. Fortunately I was able to catch Measure of a Man and God Bless the USA. Clay was wonderful that night, and I felt a sense of pride for him and of him. I wonder what went through his mind singing for all those people on the Capitol lawn. The special education teacher Raleigh certainly had come a long way from singing at weddings and his Home Town Connection days.

Rehearsal Pictures

Screencaps and Blends

Video of Performances

Singing the National Anthem

Singing "Measure of a Man"

Singing "God Bless the USA"

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