I remember those early, heady days (tm The ClackHouse) when Clay was on American Idol. He was so baby-faced one wondered if he even shaved yet. It didn't matter that he was 24 years old, he just seemed so young, maybe because he was young in experience, in worldliness, in demeanor. Before American Idol, he had barely left North Carolina. He was a college student in a sheltered college environment. Never did we see even a hint of hair, facial or otherwise.
Then came page 50. People magazine. The bathroom picture.
OMG! Clay has hairy arms! Sexy, hairy arms! OMG! Not only is he cute with a killer voice, he's sexy! Now, some of the fans saw the sexy right away, others, it took a bit, but Page 50 seemed to be THE first sexy picture of Clay.
Summer, 2003. June, 2003. The Rolling Stone cover. Shirt blowing open, buttons unbuttoned at his neck. The shirt tails flapping in the wind and we got hair. This time it wasn't on his arms, it was on his belly. It was nicknamed the cinnamon trail, the treasure trail, but whatever you want to call it, it sure sparked 'interest' by his fans.
His arms were hairy, or furry, like Clay Nation coined them, his chest and stomach had hair. But what about his face? Fast forward to the Fall of 2003 in The Year of Clay. He was on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, on a bike, clean-shaven, of course. Until someone photo-shopped a beard on him. I think that scared 5 years off our collective lives.
In 2004, Clay toured with Kelly Clarkson and got lazy. Either he didn't want to shave or he forgot, but we got scruff. We celebrated the scruff. It wasn't often that we got to see Clay with facial hair but sometimes all the zaprudering we do of Clay paid off. Of course, when my old computer crashed I lost a lot of my early scruff pictures, but you get the picture *g*
Fast forward to 2006. Clay made a surprise appearance on the finale of American Idol 5. What a freaking appearance that was! I remember getting a phone call from one of my friends and we just laughed on the phone for about 15 minutes. We weren't laughing at Clay. Oh, no, we were laughing at the sheer unexpectedness of his new look. At his 'screw you' to AI and the 'Clay Aiken look-alike'. Holy moley, does that guy know how to make an entrance!
In the Fall of 2006, Clay released his second mainstream album, 'A Thousand Different Ways' and he appeared on a lot of TV programs. This picture is from his 09/18/06 GMA appearance and he had hair. Lots and lots of hair. Not on his face but on the top of his head. This new hair style got pretty favorable reviews from his fans. Most loved the longer hair although some did not. However, Clay was still clean-shaven. His fans knew that he could grow facial hair, we've seen it. In fact, Clay's a pretty hairy guy.
Then came Clay's Christmas Tour, 2006. He grew his hair even longer. Most fans loved it. :::FLOVE::: So shoot me, I couldn't pick just one. But I could pick two *g*
In early 2007, there were two events that happened pretty simultaneously, his Gala to raise money for The Bubel/Aiken Foundation and his UNICEF trip to Afghanistan. Behold the beard!
Evidently Clay either didn't like it, or it was too much maintainence, but after these two events, the beard came off. One could hear a collective sigh in the Fandom, whether it was from relief that the beard came off, or despair that the beard came off.
Thus ends the saga of Clay and his hair. When he returned from Afghanistan, he shaved and got his hair cut, evidenced by his Jimmy Kimmel Live! appearance. On a horse. The horse had hair all over. Oh.....and the horse was very 'excited' to see Clay. Must have been a fan.
Related Tags: Clay Aiken, American Idol, People Magazine, Rolling Stone Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, A Thousand Different Ways, Good Morning America, The Bubel/Aiken Foundation, UNICEF, Jimmy Kimmel Live!