Clay Aiken
Singer-songwriter, actor, record producer
Clay Aiken
Clayton Holmes "Clay" Aiken is an American singer, songwriter, actor, producer and author who began his rise to fame on the second season of the television program American Idol in 2003. RCA Records offered him a recording contract, and his multi-platinum debut album Measure of a Man was released in October 2003. He released four more albums on the RCA label: Merry Christmas with Love (2004), A Thousand Different Ways (2006), and the Christmas EP, All is Well (2006).
Clay Aiken's personal information overview.
News abour Clay Aiken from around the web
WATCH: Sunny Hostin and Clay Aiken Get An Inside Look At Conflict In Charlotte
ABC News - 5 months
Citizens of Charlotte discuss race relations in Charlotte, North Carolina, after recent police shootings have America on edge.
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ABC News article
Watch: Clay Aiken Discusses Controversial HB2 Law
ABC News - 8 months
Residents of North Carolina explain how they feel about new law that addresses the use of bathrooms for the transgender community.
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ABC News article
'American Idol' Contestant Rickey Smith Dies In Car Crash At 36
Huffington Post - 10 months
"American Idol" contestant Rickey Smith was killed in a multi-car accident in Oklahoma on Friday morning, Amy Elliott of the Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, confirmed to The Huffington Post. Smith was 36. Elliott cited the cause of death as multiple blunt force injuries and the manner of death as an accident.  Fox 25 reports that Smith was killed by a driver going the wrong way on Interstate 240. The driver, identified as 27-year-old Gerardo Cerda, Jr., was hospitalized and allegedly booked for a DUI.   Smith appeared on Season 2 of "American Idol" alongside Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard, who later went on to win in 2003. Aiken tweeted that he was heartbroken after hearing the news about Smith's death:  Suffice it to say my heart is truly breaking today. Heaven's choir has a new beautiful voice. I love you and will miss you, Rickey. — Clay Aiken (@clayaiken) May 6, 2016 Below is one of Smith's performances on the show: ...
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Huffington Post article
'American Idol' recap: Is Clay Aiken right about the judges?
LATimes - about 1 year
Clay Aiken had a point. The former “American Idol” contestant (second place, Season 2) and onetime congressional nominee (Democrat, North Carolina) caused a bit of a foofaraw this week when he tweeted his dissatisfaction with the show’s current panel of judges.  “Well ... now I know why the ratings...
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LATimes article
HUFFPOST HILL - Paul Ryan Wants To Spend Time With Widow's Peak, Kids
Huffington Post - over 1 year
Republicans appear no closer to choosing a new speaker, meaning we’re probably a few days out from members nervously putting their index fingers on their noses. A reporter mistakenly asked the wrong House member if she had an affair with Kevin McCarthy, though given that this is Congress we’re talking about, she might still hold a press conference asking her spouse and constituents for forgiveness. That said, we also mustn’t forget the real victims in all of this: Kevin McCarthy’s interns, who now must scramble to find a new way to get laid without the Speaker’s Balcony. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, October 9th, 2015: STILL NO SPEAKER, CALLS FOR PAUL RYAN GROW - How about this: Kevin McCarthy reenters the speaker's race and, to placate the Freedom Caucus, a group of nonunion moving crews relocate the Hall of Presidents from Disney World to the well of the House chamber, which can be activated by a button on Tim Huelskamp's keychain every time the group thinks the chamber needs t ...
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Huffington Post article
I Was On The Dr. Oz Show. Here's The Problem With The Wizard Behind The Curtain
Huffington Post - almost 2 years
I was once on Dr. Oz's show, in the spring of 2012. I had written an essay about the three and a half years I had spent trying to change my sexual orientation from gay to straight, and Dr. Oz was doing a special on ex-gay therapy. What I remember most about coming on the Dr. Oz show is speaking to one of his producers about what I was going to say, a sort of rehearsal. The producer kept interjecting: "We have a saying around here: Is this something Cathy in Iowa would care about? That's not something a housewife sitting on the couch at home cares about." The subtext was clear: we think our viewers are dumb. Another thing I recall: Being kicked out of the dressing room I had been plopped in because Clay Aiken, who knew nothing about ex-gay therapy but would resonate with all the frumpy Cathys in flyover states, needed his own. The way Dr. Oz treated ex-gay therapy perfectly illustrates his penchant for promoting scientifically unsound therapies and products. It's the reason 10 pro ...
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Huffington Post article
Aaron Schock and the Closets of <i>Downton Abbey</i>
Huffington Post - almost 2 years
Who'd have guessed that after years of gay-baiting rumors, U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Illinois) would have been undone by plain old financial impropriety? The nitty-gritty details of his undoing are woefully pedestrian, at least when compared with the snowball that started the avalanche: His troubles started after he spent tens of thousands of dollars on redecorating his office, allegedly to look like Downton Abbey. That peculiar bit of gossip led to an investigation that uncovered far more serious financial mismanagement, and rather than deal with the fallout, he simply resigned. Bye, Rep. Felicia (R-Straight-acting). It's far more fun to talk about the gay rumors than his fiscal shenanigans. Those rumors have followed him throughout his career, fueled in part by the endless parade of flamboyant outfits and shirtless muscle pics on Schock's own Instagram feed. Once he was photographed wearing a pink shirt and teal belt, and given the way the Internet reacted, you'd have thought Li ...
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Huffington Post article
Friday Talking Points -- Freedom From Job Lock
Huffington Post - about 3 years
Americans across the land are banding together to solve one of the country's most pressing problems, it seems: demanding that Justin Bieber be deported! Sadly, you just can't make this stuff up, folks. Senator Mark Warner has now chimed in on this important issue, and there's now a petition up on the White House website asking President Obama to give Bieber the boot back to Canada. In other names-in-the-news, Clay Aiken has decided to run for a House seat in North Carolina. As I said, you just can't make this stuff up. And, most amusing to us personally, the quiz show Jeopardy! just started a tournament of past champions, and we were bowled over by the fact that one of them was none other than the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray. Sadly, Cordray lost in the first round, but it was kind of cool to see him there. He did not accept any prize money and paid for his own airfare, to keep the whole thing well within government ethics laws. But still ...
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Huffington Post article
VIDEO: Clay Aiken ‘On the Record’
Fox News - about 3 years
Watch our interview with the former “American Idol” star and sound off on his newly-announced congressional campaign! The post VIDEO: Clay Aiken ‘On the Record’ appeared first on Gretawire.
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Fox News article
Song And Dance: Of Course Clay Aiken Is Running For Congress
NPR - about 3 years
Sure, the instinctive response might be tittering when an American Idol runner-up runs for Congress, but we've got a long and storied history of just this kind of thing. Why not this guy? » E-Mail This     » Add to
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NPR article
'American Idol' or Clay Aiken's Congressional Run: A Tale of the Tapes
ABC News - about 3 years
American Idol runner up Clay Aiken will run for Congress in North Carolina.     
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ABC News article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Clay Aiken
  • 2014
    Age 35
    In the 2014 election, Aiken was the Democratic Party's candidate for North Carolina's 2nd congressional district.
    More Details Hide Details He was defeated by incumbent Republican Party Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, 59 to 41 percent. Aiken was voted the Favorite Reality Star of 2003 by TV Guide readers and "the most-loved reality star of all time" in a TV Guide poll conducted in the summer of 2005. In February 2006, People magazine readers voted Aiken their "Favorite American Idol". While the origin of the term "Claymates" is unknown, Aiken trademarked the term. While in Los Angeles in September 2006 for a CD signing and appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Aiken talked with Jann Carl of Entertainment Tonight about the names various sub-groups have given themselves: "Claysians" (Asian fans), "Claynadians" (Canadian fans), "Clayropeans" (European fans) and "Claydawgs" (male fans). She then teased him about having his own "Clay Nation". At the CD signing, two young fans asked Clay to autograph their shoulderblades and then went to the local tattoo parlor to make them permanent; later that day on Jimmy Kimmel Live! they were brought on stage to show the tattoos. Although some of his fans have been criticized at times by the media as being obsessive, he defends the group as a whole. When Kimmel said to Aiken that his fans were "crazy", Aiken stated that they were merely "enthusiastic". In 2003, in anticipation of the release of Measure of a Man, fans all over the country decided to get together and hold parties to celebrate the release of the CD and purchase copies at midnight.
    He won the Democratic primary held on May 6, 2014, but lost to Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers in the general election on November 4, 2014.
    More Details Hide Details Clay Aiken was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. As a young boy, Aiken sang in the Raleigh Boychoir; and, as a teenager, he sang in school choirs, church choir, musicals and local theatre productions. After high school, he sang lead with a local band, Just By Chance, co-hosting and performing with the band at "Just by Chance and Friends" shows in Dunn, North Carolina. He was also MC and performer at the Johnston Community College Country Showcase in Smithfield and at the North Carolina Music Connection and Hometown Music Connection shows in Garner, and Benson. He performed the national anthem numerous times for the Raleigh IceCaps and the Carolina Hurricanes hockey teams, and performed it at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game at the RBC Center in Raleigh.
    In 2014, Aiken announced his intentions to run for Congress in North Carolina's 2nd congressional district.
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    Aiken was the 2014 Democratic nominee in the North Carolina 2nd congressional district election.
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  • 2008
    Age 29
    On August 8, 2008, Aiken announced, on his personal blog, the birth of his son in North Carolina: "My dear friend, Jaymes, and I are so excited to announce the birth of Parker Foster Aiken."
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    In late June and early July 2008, UNICEF sent Aiken to Somalia and Kenya.
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    On January 18, 2008, Aiken made his Broadway debut when he joined the cast of Monty Python's Spamalot for a four-month run, ending on May 4, 2008.
    More Details Hide Details He played Sir Robin, in the Tony Award-winning musical directed by Mike Nichols. In addition to Sir Robin, Aiken played the 1st Guard and the Brother Maynard roles. On August 12, 2008, it was announced that Aiken would resume his role as Sir Robin beginning on September 19 and ending on January 4, 2009. On December 23, 2008, Aiken had his caricature unveiled at world-famous Sardi's restaurant. In May 2013, Aiken starred as "Man in Chair" in North Carolina Theatre's production of The Drowsy Chaperone, along with fellow Raleigh native and Tony Award winner Beth Leavel, who reprised her role as "The Chaperone." During the summer of 2013, Aiken performed the role of Joseph in the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, Maine.
    According to Billboard, Aiken's 2008 album "On My Way Here" sold just 159,000 copies in the U.S., compared to his 2003 debut album, "Measure of a Man", which sold 2.78 million copies".
    More Details Hide Details A fifth album, The Very Best of Clay Aiken, was released at the end of March 2009 on Sony's Legacy Recordings Playlist Series. This album was a compilation of songs that had been included on the previous albums released by RCA. First week sales of 3000 copies placed Playlist: The Very Best of Clay Aiken at number 173 on the Billboard 200 chart and at number ten on the Top Internet Albums chart. On August 10, 2009, it was announced on Aiken's official website that he had signed with Decca Records and he would have new music out by early 2010. Performing the songs from his new album, Tried and True, Aiken held a one night only concert at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh, North Carolina on March 12, 2010. The concert, filmed for PBS broadcast, included guest appearances by Ruben Studdard and Linda Eder. Eder joined Aiken on stage for their duet of "Crying", which they recorded for his album. The album was released on June 1, 2010 and features songs popular in the 1950s and 1960s, including two Aiken covered during his run on American Idol, "Mack the Knife" and "Unchained Melody". In conjunction with the PBS special a companion DVD, Tried & True Live!, was released on July 27, 2010. A tour to promote the album is planned for early 2014.
    Aiken made his Broadway debut playing the role of Sir Robin in Monty Python's Spamalot in January 2008.
    More Details Hide Details His run ended in May but he rejoined the cast as Sir Robin in September and remained through January 4, 2009.
  • 2007
    Age 28
    Aiken spent his 2007 Christmas in Mexico with the children affected by the floods in the states of Chiapas and Tabasco.
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    He was sent to Kabul and Bamyan, in Afghanistan in April 2007, where he was able to spend time with children in their classrooms; he also visited a health center for women and children where he administered oral polio vaccinations to babies.
    More Details Hide Details He observed that Afghani children, after being forbidden for so many years by the Taliban regime to attend school, are eager to return to school now that they are once again allowed to receive an education.
  • 2006
    Age 27
    In September 2006, Aiken was appointed to the Presidential Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities by President George W. Bush.
    More Details Hide Details Appointees serve a two-year term; Aiken was sworn in September 14, 2006, by HHS Assistant Secretary for Children and Families Wade F. Horn, PhD In April 2008, Aiken told People Magazine that he was too busy to do as much as he would like, but "If there's something I can do remotely, I would've been happy to do it." While appearing in Spamalot, Aiken used his free time and celebrity to help raise funds for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA) during their fund drives and auctions. In 2010, Aiken spoke out for gay rights at the Human Rights Campaign dinner in North Carolina. He also joined other celebrities in filming an educational video for Cyndi Lauper's web based Give a Damn campaign, a project of her True Colors Fund. In addition to UNICEF and his National Inclusion Project he is promoting GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network as one of his causes on his official website.
    Aiken made fun of the controversy on the 2006 American Music Awards the next night with Tori Spelling.
    More Details Hide Details On The Tyra Banks Show in 2006, filmed before the Ripa incident, Aiken mentioned wanting to have his own talk show someday, and Banks switched seats with him and let him interview her for one segment of the show. Aiken was a guest judge on the April 8, 2009 segment of Banks show America's Next Top Model; in what the show refers to as a teach, he worked with the remaining 8 contestants on their acting skills prior to the judging. In November 2007, Aiken was a contestant on a celebrity edition of the game show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Playing for his charity, the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, he chose to drop out after the ninth question with $300,000, despite having a copy and a save at his disposal. If he had played the tenth question, he would have won $500,000; Aiken and the 5th grader playing with him both had the correct answer.
  • 2005
    Age 26
    UNICEF sent Aiken on another mission in May 2005, to northern Uganda, to witness the plight of children called "night commuters", who flee the villages each night to sleep in streets and shelters in hopes of avoiding being kidnapped by the Lord's Resistance Army.
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    In March 2005, UNICEF sent Aiken to the tsunami-stricken Banda Aceh area to raise awareness of the need to restore education quickly to the children who survived this disaster.
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    He was the 2005 spokesperson for the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF drive.
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  • 2004
    Age 25
    After the tsunami at the end of 2004, he participated in the NBC4 telethon, which raised over $10 million, and recorded public service announcements in support of South Asian tsunami relief.
    More Details Hide Details He later recorded a video, featuring the song "Give A Little Bit", to be used as a public service announcement to raise money for tsunami victims.
    In November 2004, Aiken was appointed a U.S. Fund for UNICEF National Ambassador, with a mission to help ensure that children everywhere are afforded a primary education.
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    On July 4, 2004, Aiken was one of the performers in the A Capitol Fourth concert in Washington, D.C. and performed in the Good Morning America Summer Concert Series in 2004 and 2005.
    More Details Hide Details He also sang "Isn't She Lovely" on the popular television show Scrubs.
    He was also a spokesperson for the 2004 Toys For Tots drive, and acted as an ambassador for the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
    More Details Hide Details Aiken worked with the Make A Wish Foundation to make one little boy's dream of singing on stage with Clay Aiken come true.
    Aiken has donated his time and his voice to multiple benefit events and concerts, including the 2004 Rosalynn Carter Benefit, the America's Promise Benefit, and Heather Headley's Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS benefit, "Home", where he sang a duet with Headley.
    More Details Hide Details He was one of the celebrity readers for the Arthur Celebrity Audiobook (Stories for Heroes Series), which benefits the Bubel/Aiken Foundation (now the National Inclusion Project) and other charities, and served as spokesperson for the series.
    In November 2004, Aiken launched his third tour of the year, which revolved around a Christmas theme. "The Joyful Noise Tour", sponsored by Ronald McDonald House Charities, featured a conductor and a 30-piece orchestra.
    More Details Hide Details In some cities, Aiken was supported by the local philharmonic or symphony, such as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Local choirs from high schools and elementary schools also participated at each concert. During the summer of 2005, Aiken, with a seven-piece band and three back-up singers, toured with the "Jukebox Tour", performing songs of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, as well as a few favorites from Measure of a Man. He also performed a few new songs being considered for his next album. In early November 2005, Aiken launched his second Christmas tour. The 2005 Joyful Noise tour featured a series of vignettes, written by Aiken, which told the story of an older woman who had lost the Christmas spirit and a young boy who helps her find it again. A cast of actors, dancers and back-up singers traveled with the tour, and members of local theater groups were added in each venue for smaller, non-speaking roles and crowd scenes. The tour opened in Vancouver, British Columbia, on November 2, and ended in Clearwater, Florida on December 30. According to Pollstar, Aiken's first five tours grossed $28 million.
    On this tour, he also performed a duet, "Without You", which was released on Kimberley Locke's 2004 debut album One Love.
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    From February through April 2004, Aiken and Kelly Clarkson embarked on the Independent Tour as co-headliners.
    More Details Hide Details Following this tour, he was scheduled for a few summer solo tour dates, but demand ultimately led to the booking of 50 dates across the United States, resulting in what many fans called the "Not-A-Tour". Disney (Buena Vista) was the exclusive sponsor of this unnamed summer tour, promoting their Aladdin Special Edition 2-Disc DVD with a preview of Aiken's rendition of "Proud of Your Boy", a song originally intended for the first release of the film but cut when the Aladdin storyline changed during production. A music video featuring Aiken is on the Aladdin Special Edition DVD.
    Aiken made his acting debut on Ed in early 2004, playing himself, and in 2005, he was interviewed by Erica Kane on All My Children.
    More Details Hide Details He played the role of cafeteria worker Kenny on the Scrubs episode "My Life in Four Cameras". In December 2006, he made an appearance as himself on Days of Our Lives. After hosting and performing in the American Idol Christmas special in 2003, Aiken has had several subsequent hosting jobs. He was a special correspondent for The Insider for the 2005 Emmy Awards, and on the sets of the sitcom Reba with Reba McEntire and Dancing With the Stars. He co-hosted The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet in 2006, and on November 17, 2006, filled in for Regis Philbin as guest host on Live with Regis and Kelly. During an interview, Aiken covered Kelly Ripa's mouth with his hand. The incident drew considerable media reaction after Ripa complained at length about the incident on her show the following Monday.
    Aiken was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live in 2004 and participated in several skits.
    More Details Hide Details He has appeared multiple times on The Tonight Show, interviewing with Jay Leno as a guest in addition to singing, and has become a regular guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! The Kimmel appearances often feature skits: in one, Jimmy Kimmel's then girlfriend Sarah Silverman confessed to an affair with Aiken, and in another, Aiken expressed his distaste for Kimmel's jokes about him by beating him up. In May 2007, he spent the first half of his interview on horseback while talking about his recent UNICEF trip to Afghanistan. A few weeks later he appeared as a spokesperson for "Guillermo's Mustache" in Kimmel's fictional DVD informercial shown on the Dancing With the Stars finale.
    The book made The New York Times Best Seller List in 2004, debuted at number two.
    More Details Hide Details It was written with Allison Glock and published by Random House. Barely mentioning American Idol, Aiken instead turned his focus to the people who had the most influence in his life – his mother, grandparents, siblings, teachers, and friends – and to the importance of religion in his life. He describes himself as a proud Southern Baptist who journeyed away from those roots in his late teens in search of a religion with more liberal social policies. He then returned to that church because of family and social ties although he remains at odds with the church on some issues. When asked in a PBS Kids interview to name his idols, he responded, "When people ask me what three people I'd like to have dinner with, living or dead, I say Jesus Christ, Mr. Rogers, and Jimmy Carter." While not self-identified as a Christian music artist, Aiken was featured in Christian Music Planet as an "American Idol Christian" in 2004, and in a cover story, "Clay Aiken's Balancing Act", in the January/February 2005 issue. His pre-Idol demo albums included several selections of Contemporary Christian Music (or CCM) and gospel songs.
  • 2003
    Age 24
    That same year, Aiken sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" on the opening night of the 2003 World Series and appeared in numerous television specials during the winter of 2003, including Disney's Christmas Day Parade and the Nick at Nite Holiday Special, where he sang the "Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth" with Bing Crosby via special effects.
    More Details Hide Details Aiken starred in and executive produced his first TV special (December 2004), titled A Clay Aiken Christmas, with special guests Barry Manilow, Yolanda Adams, and Megan Mullally; the special was released on DVD later that month.
    On Labor Day 2003, Aiken sang "Bridge Over Troubled Water" at the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon and received a standing ovation from the audience.
    More Details Hide Details Lewis compared Aiken with Frank Sinatra and marveled at the dedication of Aiken's fan base:
    Although his American Idol activities temporarily delayed his academic pursuits, Aiken completed his course work while on tour and graduated with a bachelor's degree in special education in December 2003.
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    Aiken created the National Inclusion Project (formerly the Bubel/Aiken Foundation) in 2003, accepted a UNICEF ambassadorship in 2004, a position he held for 9 1/2 years until 2013 when he gave it up in order to run for Congress. He was the "UNICEF Ambassador of Education for All Children Worldwide"; he traveled extensively on their behalf in this role. In 2006 was appointed for a two-year term to the Presidential Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.
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    He and the 2003 Winner Ruben Studdard were both offered recording contracts by RCA Records, and his multi-platinum debut album Measure of a Man was released in October 2003.
    More Details Hide Details He released four more albums on the RCA label: Merry Christmas with Love (2004), A Thousand Different Ways (2006), and the Christmas EP, All is Well (2006). His fourth studio album (the first album of original material since 2003's Measure of a Man), On My Way Here was released on May 6, 2008. After the release of On My Way Here, Aiken left RCA and later signed with Decca Records. His first album with Decca, Tried and True, was released June 1, 2010, and his second Steadfast, was released March 26, 2012. In the years following his American Idol appearance, Aiken has launched eleven tours, authored a New York Times best-selling book Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life with Allison Glock, and was the executive producer for a 2004 televised Christmas special, A Clay Aiken Christmas and his televised live concert special in 2010 on PBS Tried & True Live! He has been a frequent talk show guest, particularly on The Tonight Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live! He appeared as a guest star on Scrubs, Drop Dead Diva, 30 Rock and participated in comedy skits on numerous other shows. He also competed in the fifth season of The Celebrity Apprentice and placed second in the finals to Arsenio Hall.
    Aiken began his rise to fame placing second on the second season of the television program American Idol in 2003.
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    Later that year, Aiken won the Fan's Choice Award at the American Music Awards ceremony, and his CD single "This Is The Night/Bridge Over Troubled Water" won the Billboard award for the Best-Selling Single of 2003.
    More Details Hide Details On November 16, 2004, Aiken released a holiday album titled Merry Christmas with Love, which set a new record for fastest-selling holiday album in the Soundscan era (since 1991). The album debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 and tied Céline Dion's record for the highest debut by a holiday album in the history of Billboard magazine. Merry Christmas with Love sold over 1,000,000 copies retail in six weeks and was the best-selling holiday album of 2004, receiving RIAA Platinum certification on January 6, 2005. Aiken's second studio album, A Thousand Different Ways, was released September 19, 2006. He worked on the album under the guidance of Canadian producer and A&R executive Jaymes Foster. The album contains ten cover songs and four new songs, one of which Aiken co-wrote. Clive Davis is credited with the cover concept. One additional song, "Lover All Alone", written by Aiken and David Foster, is included with the album on iTunes. Debuting at number two on the Billboard chart, A Thousand Different Ways made Aiken the fourth artist ever to have his first three albums debut in the Top 5 and scan over 200,000 in the first week.
    The album received RIAA Double Platinum certification on November 17, 2003 (a Double Platinum plaque was presented to Aiken by Clive Davis on October 22, 2003, during Good Morning America).
    More Details Hide Details The album spawned both the hit single "Invisible" and his first hit song, "This Is the Night" (both co-written by British songwriter Chris Braide).
    On October 14, 2003, Aiken released his first solo album, Measure of a Man, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with 613,000 copies sold in its first week, the highest-selling debut for a solo artist in 10 years.
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    Rolling Stone featured Aiken on the cover of its July 2003 issue.
    More Details Hide Details In the cover article Aiken said, "One thing I've found of people in the public eye, either you're a womanizer or you've got to be gay. Since I'm neither one of those, people are completely concerned about me." In subsequent interviews he expressed frustration over continued questions about his sexual orientation, telling People magazine in 2006, "It doesn't matter what I say. People are going to believe what they want." Aiken made a surprise appearance on the final show of the fifth season of American Idol, when failed auditioner Michael Sandecki returned to the show to receive a "Golden Idol" award for Best Impersonator for his Clay Aiken-like appearance. Aiken appeared without introduction in a well-tailored designer suit and longer, darker hair with bangs, looking so different that many did not recognize him until he began to sing "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." The second season of the American Idol Rewind series (2007) was narrated by Aiken.
    On May 21, 2003, Aiken came in a close second to Ruben Studdard, who won the contest by 134,000 votes out of more than 24,000,000 votes cast.
    More Details Hide Details The result was controversial, as some hypothesized that Idols voting system was incapable of handling the number of attempted calls. In an interview prior to the start of the fifth season of American Idol, Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe revealed for the first time that Aiken had led the fan voting every week from the Wild Card week to the finale, when the possibly-random voting result gave Studdard the win.
    A performance of the Commodores' "Jesus is Love" at the American Music Awards in 2003 earned Aiken and Ruben Studdard a standing ovation.
    More Details Hide Details Aiken has sung a few CCM songs at his pop concerts, and has made Christmas albums, Christmas television specials and performances, and Christmas tours essential elements of his career. Aiken makes it clear that he is aware not everyone shares his religious beliefs and it is not his intention to press these beliefs on others. When he worked as a camp counselor at the YMCA, he challenged other camp faculty by insisting that singing "overtly Christian songs" was inappropriate, as some of the kids were Jewish. "I stood firm... no child is going to have a spiritual crisis on my watch." His public philosophy, geared towards inclusion and service to others, reflects his stance that decisions about religion should be made at home. Aiken had filled out an application to participate in the reality show Amazing Race when a friend of his insisted that he try out for American Idol instead. Television viewers first glimpsed Aiken during the audition episodes at the beginning of American Idol's second season. The show's judges first saw Aiken as a nerdy type unlikely to be a typical pop idol, but after hearing him sing Heatwave's "Always and Forever" decided to advance him to the next round. The clip of the judges' surprise during this audition performance was replayed many times over the course of the competition.
  • 1978
    Born on November 30, 1978.
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