Friday, November 30, 2007

More Joyful Noise: Christmas in the Heartland

Another Christmas season, another Clay Aiken Christmas tour. This year Clay goes for reverence and class in the presentation of the show. He, Angela, and Quiana look stunning and sound better. The music is interwoven with fan stories of Christmas memories. Clay personally read 1300 submitted stories and picked out four for each show.

The set list:

Instrumental Overture
Emanuel, Away in the Manger (Angela), O Little Town of Bethlehem, Silent Night, Away in the Manger (Angela)
Mary, Did You Know
Merry Christmas, With Love
Story time
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year Sleigh Ride Jingle Bells Winter Wonderland
Christmas Waltz
Story time
Who Would Imagine a King - Angela (Originally sung by Whitney Houston?)
Welcome To Our World - (Originally sung by Michael W Smith)


Oh Holy Night
Hark the Herald Angels Sing/O Come all Yeah Faithful
Story time
I Will be Home for Christmas, The Christmas Song, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Story time
Where are you Christmas? - Quiana (Originally sung by Faith Hill)
My Grown Up Christmas List
Don’t Save it All for Christmas Day

All is Well


There have been many reactions to the show, but one said it best for me. It's all about the music and the artistic growth Clay has shown over the last five years. He no longer is the boy who just sang well on a talent show. He's a full-fledged artist that keeps evolving. An artist that really doesn't fit into any current box, so he has to forge his own path. I don't know what the future will bring, but I know it will be good.

Yaknelle at CV:

Clay Aiken gave a grown up Christmas concert at Waukegan last night, and I was amazed at the virtuoso performance. Clay is a musical instrument in this performance as surely as the violins are. The physical positioning of Clay on the platform allows the music to rise up, to swirl around him and to join with his voice and float out to the audience and wrap it in the sound. I witnessed the physical beauty of Clay's hands literally move with the music. The passion flowed out of his fingers. There were times when he used these hands to pull the music up to him, and to pass it out to us. There were times when I noticed his feet move to the rhythm and literally move the music through his body. Then there was the face. The light that comes out of that face, the joy, the pleasure was overwhelming. He lost himself in the music, but never lost control. There was such an artistic connection between Clay and Jesse and the music. There was non-stop music. It was holy and secular. It was majestic and fun. It was melancholy and joyous. It moved at such a rapid pace, that surrender to it is the only way to enjoy it. Quiana and Angela gave beautiful performances. They too, were caught in the moment. The ending of "O Holy Night," stunning, just stunning. If you were blind, you could hear the beauty. If you were deaf you could feel the vibrations. This concert is a physical, visceral experience. It foretells what we will see from Clay, and it reflects his immense growth as an artist in charge of his own career. God, I'm glad, I'm along for the ride.

A selection of YouTube Videos taken at the concerts:

O Holy Night (from South Bend, IN)

~Video by jojoct~

My Grown Up Christmas List (From South Bend, IN)

~Video by toni7babe~

Welcome To My World (From South Bend, IN )

Don't Save It For Christmas Day (From St. Louis, Mo)

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Coming Soon: "All Is Well" on iTunes

Finally after being an exclusive (and limited) item only on sale at Walmart last year, All Is Well will be available on iTunes December 4th. Good news for lovers of good Christmas music. This four song EP includes, "All is Well" , "Christmas Waltz", "O Come O Come Emmanuel", and "My Grown-Up Christmas List" . If you prefer a physical copy of the CD, there are a few copies being re-sold by on Amazon. There have also been reports that some Walmarts (not all) have copies.

Lyrics As Follows :

All Is Well

All is well all is well
Angels and men rejoice
For tonight darkness fell
Into the dawn of love's light
Sing A-le
Sing Alleluia

All is well all is well Let there be peace on earth
Christ is come go and tell
That He is in the manger
Sing A-le
Sing Alleluia

All is well all is well
Lift up your voice and sing
Born is now Emmanuel
Born is our Lord and Savior
Sing Alleluia
Sing Alleluia
All is well

Christmas Waltz

Frosted window panes
Candles gleaming inside
Painted candy canes on the tree
Santa's on his way
He's filled his sleigh with things
Things for you and for me

It's that time of year
When the world fall in love

Ev'ry song you hear seems to say
"Merry Christmas, May Your New Year
Dreams Come True"
And this song of mine
In three-quarter time
Wishes you and yours
The same thing too

"Merry Christmas, May Your New Year
Dreams Come True"
And this song of mine
In three-quarter time
Wishes you and yours
The same thing too

O Come O Come Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height,
In ancient times did'st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

My Grown Up Christmas List

Do you remember me?
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you with childhood fantasies
Well I'm all grown up now
And still need help somehow
I'm not a child
But my heart still can dream

So here's my lifelong wish
My grown up christmas list
Not for myself
But for a world in need

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end, no
This is my grown up christmas list

As children we believe
The grandest sight to see
Was something lovely
Wrapped beneath the tree
But heaven only knows
That packages and bows
Can never heal a heartached human soul

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end, no
This is my grown up christmas list

What is this illusion called the innocence of youth
Maybe only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth

No more lives torn apart (No more torn apart)
That wars would never start (never start)
And time would heal all hearts (ohh..hearts)
Everyone would have a friend (one would have a friend)
And right would always win (would always win)
And love would never end (never...never end, no)

This is my grown up christmas list
This is my only lifelong wish
This is my grown up christmas list...

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ham on Ice

Exclusive-behind-the-scenes video of American Idol Clay Aiken & Olympic skater Sasha Cohen taping their Holiday on Ice TV special from

Very cute footage of both Clay and Sasha. Clay is such a ham that the special should be called HamiClay on Ice.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Unchained Melody: The Five-Year Evolution

Here is a terrific montage that blends various perfomances of the "Unchained Melody" sung by Clay Aiken over the last five years. It begins and ends with the American Idol performances.

~Montage by Rpoppert~


Thursday, November 08, 2007

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

~Photo Montage by fountaindawg~

I admit that over time, I've become a lot more Scrooge-like when it comes to the Christmas holiday season. It's so much stress, and it starts earlier every year. I'm sick of seeing Christmas decorations and items for sale in stores in August. It just makes it feel like the whole thing never goes away. I really don't want to think about the shopping for gifts that no one really needs, the baking, the decorating and the 1001 things that go into planning that one day of the year especially when my Thanksgiving turkey is still alive. *g* The only thing that seems to get me in the spirit is listening to some Christmas music from Clay Aiken AKA Mr.Christmas. If there was ever a voice to make me forget the bills that will be arriving in January, it's Clay singing "Chestnuts roasting over an open fire" or "Down on your knees". When did Christmas music get so sexy? *g* I'm just a sucker for a "Christmas Waltz" or two. Too bad my hubby doesn't dance. On November 6th, I finally got a bit of the spirit when Clay taped the NBC skating special "Holiday Celebration on Ice" which will be shown on Christmas Day. He sang eight stunning songs which wasn't really enough, but for a fan 'enough' is not in the vocabulary.

The skaters:

Silver Olympic champion Sascha Cohen
Six-time U.S. champion and world champion Todd Eldredge
Two-time Olympic medalist Philippe Candeloro
World champion Yuka Sato
World bronze medalist Caryn Kadavy
World ice dancing champion Shae-Lynn Bourne
Eight-time British champion Steven Cousins
Three-time U.S. pairs champions Jenni Meno and Todd Sand
Reigning world ice dancing champions Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon

The songs:

Clay & Cast: Christmas Waltz
Clay & Shae-Lynn Bourne: Don't Save it All for Christmas Day
Clay & Todd Eldredge: All is Well
Clay & Sasha Cohen: The Christmas Song
Clay & Phillipe Candelero: Sleigh Ride
Clay & Jenny Meno and Todd Sands: Merry Christmas With Love
Clay & Sasha Cohen: Winter Wonderland
Clay & Cast/Couples: What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

The slide show:

Reflections from the fans:

Clay seemed to be having a great time and had obviously developed a comfortable rapport with some of the skaters. He appeared relaxed and really seemed to be enjoying singing while they skated. He applauded each skater and usually acknowledged them at the beginning and end of the performance. The skaters in turn would acknowledge Clay at the end with a gesture or nod or applause......or a hug in Shae's case. I saw Clay shake hands with Todd Sand as they left the ice at the end of their performance.

His voice just fills the arena and literally wraps around you and goes through you all the way to the core. I was completely entralled- it was like time stood still and there was no one else there- I know I was holding my breath and I know I was sitting on the edge of my seat...

What i have noticed - between hearing Solitaire at Sedaka- and these songs the other night is what a mature, sophisticated songsman he has become. I was listening to "All Is Well" and Solitaire on the plane back- previous performances- and then i listened to the Sedaka Solitaire. What a difference- you can see the gradual development and blossoming of his vocals. And whereas before i would get chills hearing it live and then not as much in the rewatching, these latest performances induce chills over and over. I believe he is truly now singing from his soul. We are so blessed ot have his voice in our lives.

A few have reported the standing O for All is Well was for Clay alone but I felt it was spontaneous and was for both singer and skater. Clay sang a beautiful arrangement that show cased his voice but did not overpower the artistry of Todd catching the emotion of the song and translating it with his movements on the ice. The performance reduced some of the audience to tears and brought skater and singer's fans to their feet. It was one of those "I was there when ..." performances that we all cherish.

Someone said that when Clay left the stage, it was like the air left the room - what a great observation. The difference was palpable. He has a presence and "live" it is so glaringing obvious. We were all struck by the wonderful rapport between the skaters and Clay. I do believe they were very impressed with our guy. It was just awesome.

It was a different show for me, as Clay was playing it very low key, to not take the attention away from the skaters. It actually made me really appreciate the voice even more. It was the first time for me to hear "All Is Well" in person. Never hearing it live before, one thing that used to bother me is that when he hits that final note, everyone starts screaming and you can’t hear him very well. Now I know why, it’s completely uncontrollable. I wasn’t aware that I was screaming, until I realized my throat was hurting. Just spectacular.

Las Vegas Skating Show—we heard, saw, felt this gift of song anew, fresh and different. His eyes twinkled; he sparkled, he glistened, he just flat out shone brightly. Sheer JOY! Ethereal, yet down to earth. I’ve been trying to think of how to say it. We know the sayings, “smooth as silk,” “soft as butter.” It didn’t feel so much like a performance—he was so “settled” for lack of a better word and so completely in the moment. Charming, relaxed and at ease, yes, but more than that. Self-assured, yes, but that’s not it either. Each version was not just a song that he sang; it was a song that he felt. Not so much a performance as an in-the-moment expression of honest, pure and unadulterated joy. His “singing” was easy, but not lazy. It felt like being in an intimate and familiar piano bar, cozy lounge kind of thing with a crackling fire. But not lounge lizardy. I know—maybe this...for those old enough to was kind of like Dean Martin leaning against the piano with his accompanist who’d been with him for 20 years. They moved symbiotically, in concert, knowing and sensing the other with words unspoken. It’s as if they’d been working together for a lifetime, you know that thing where you can finish each other’s sentences—like they can feel the music—not the player of the notes and the singer of the song. “You” sensed that they knew each other musically and moved and related as one—with the music flowing from him/them.

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