As the Tour ended, it was with mixed emotions that I said good-bye to AI Clay. I loved AI Clay. LOVED! That’s where I met him, that’s where I got to know him, and that’s where I fell in love with him and that glorious voice, which had the ability to move me to places I’ve never been before. It was like a work of art that one would look at in awe of the talent that produced it. I would miss Clay being in my living room every week, and, during the tour, every night.
So I looked to the future and wondered where Clay’s talent would take him. I wondered, would the world see what I saw, what his fans saw? Would the world see the amazing talent, the down-home decency, the humor, the intelligence? I also wondered how the cut-throat music business would treat Clay. Would it eat him alive, would he adapt to the current practices, or would he define his own terms of success?
The day after the AI Tour ended, Clay appeared on The Jerry Lewis Telethon. Jerry Lewis has been airing his telethon on TV for more than 40 years. I used to watch it with my mother because she liked seeing all her favorites like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Buddy Hackett, Robert Goulet, etc. As I grew up, I watched it less because I had real life obligations, but I still try to catch a bit of it every year. So when Clay was to appear, I was glued in front of my TV set.
Clay was the last guest that of the Telethon. He must have been exhausted after the Tour, but he went on the show. I watched in anticipation with the rest of ClayNation. Jerry’s introduction was amazing, simply amazing.
"We have someone here today, from the smash hit show American Idol, we're thrilled to have him joining us today, because when it was made known that he would appear on this Telethon, the emails and the fan clubs that this young man has have sent us $30,000.00 just at the fact that he was here (applause). And I can honestly say I have never, in all of my life, seen a theatrical groundswell that this kid has motivated, that it makes us all come right back to the bobby sox and Frank. And isn't it nice to live through that magnificence again? Here is Clay Aiken" (rousing applause)!
Clay walked out, no band, just a backing track and sang ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’. It’s an understatement to say ‘he done good’. He looked and sounded amazing. Oh, by the way, the word ‘amazing’ is one that keeps popping up very often when talking about Clay. Forewarned is to be forearmed *g*.
After the song was finished, Clay took a small bow and left the stage to thunderous applause. Then something happened that pretty much astounded me. Jerry called Clay back to the stage. I don’t know where Clay was at that moment, it took him a bit of time to come back out, but he did, he walked up to Jerry and hugged him. Then Jerry started talking about Clay
"Clay Aiken! Take a bow Clay, he's gone. Clay! Take a bow young man! (Clay then comes back out onto stage, walks right over to Jerry Lewis) Jerry then says, "Hi Clay (they hug) and Clay says, "Thank you very much". Then Jerry says, "And (grabbing Clay's arm so he wont walk away) if I may just take a footnote here, you were regaled and thrilled by the loser! (Clay laughs) Cuz this for me was the winner from day one! This man!" (The two hug again) Jerry says, "Thanks Clay." And as Clay walks off stage Jerry says, "What a kid!"
**This verbiage was taken from a Beavers on Idol article by Jackie Ross. Thank you, Jackie, for saving me some time and effort *g*
Let’s take a trip back in time and re-watch this appearance:
Clay also appeared on The Miss America Show in 2003, singing ‘This is the Night’, which, in my opinion, was very apropos for the event. There was a lot of discussion on the message boards over his appearance on that show. It still boggles my mind that these supposedly smart women would parade across the stage dressed in bathing suits and bikini’s, showing, let’s be honest, tits and ass. The Miss America pageant is supposedly a ‘scholarship’ contest, then why are these women asked to parade around as if they were cows in a meat market? Or horseflesh to be looked over? I digress………..
Anyway! For the most part, Clay’s fans loved him on the show. They loved his performance and he looked really good and he sounded amazing. I understand that the contestants also liked Clay. Hee! I remember looking on the MAP site and pondering whether or not to buy a ticket for $40.00 (good seats, too), just to hear one song. In the end, I decided not to, which was fortuitous because of the hurricane that was coming up the coast. I didn’t relish driving three hours in bad weather for one song.
Let’s enjoy that performance again.
Also in September, Clay was on MTV’s TRL, and he was the cover story on Entertainment Weekly as a guilty pleasure. Clay’s been my guilty pleasure for three years and I don’t think it will ever stop. If I recall correctly, this was Clay’s second mainstream magazine cover.
I even got my ‘letter to the editor’ printed. Well, kind of. After looking at this picture I wrote:
"I have never wanted to be a dog, but looking at your pictures of Clay [kissing that puppy]...it's a dog's life for me”. Heh. They printed my name and city. I didn’t like that very much, but what can you do? I remember some other fans had their letters published and we were pretty excited by the reaction.
Clay is did a lot of radio interviews that month. He was also nominated for his first award by the American Music Association. On September 23rd, ‘Invisible’ went for radio adds.
September was an exciting time on the boards for the fans. Not only was Clay breaking away from American Idol and coming into his own, but his first CD, Measure of a Man (or MOAM as the fans dubbed it) was going to be released on October 14th and we were gearing up for the CD Release parties to be held all over the nation.
I was having the time of my life through all this. Who would have ever thought that at my age, let’s just say that I’ll never see 40 again, that I would be having so much freaking fun??? September was the month that I met my very first local Clay fan. We had met on the boards and discovered that we lived about 10-15 minutes away from each other. We decided to meet for lunch and ended up talking over pasta for more than three hours, with another hour of talk in the parking lot! To this day, she is one of my very best friends. Check out her blog, idle-wanderings. Something else that astounds me. The people that I’ve been meeting on the message boards are people that, in real life, I probably never would have met otherwise. Two of my Clay friends live about five minutes away, but we would never have met because we traveled in different circles, knew different people, and I cherish their friendships so much. Clay has always said that he wanted to make a difference. I bet he never thought that one of the ways he’s making a difference is by this fostering of friendships all over the world. Thanks, Clay.
I want to plug a very good website called Finding Clay Aiken. That site keeps a chronicle, or timeline, of everything Clay has done, his tours, his music, his appearances, his media, plus just links to about every Clay website on the ‘net. Check it out if you get a chance.
Related Tags: Clay Aiken, Jerry Lewis, American Idol, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Buddy Hackett, Robert Goulet, Beavers on Idol, The Miss America Pageant, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, TRL, Finding Clay Aiken, Idle Wanderings