Saturday, January 01, 2011

2010: Clay Aiken, the Year in Review

2010: Clay Aiken, the Year in Review

Hey Clay,

How ya been? It's us, your internet fans, looking back on 2010 and seeing what you were up to this past year. Now, some fans don't like being lumped into a 'we' situation but in trolling the internetz, we took the general pulse of the fandom, The Clay Nation, as is were, and amalgamated the thoughts, feeling, and prose of your very prolific fans. What were you up to this year? Turns out, all sorts of things......

January: You attended the National Inclusion Project's Golfing for Inclusion pre-party and sang a few songs for the patrons of Mirasol Country Club. *cries for Lost Clack* On January 28th we celebrated the 7th anniversary of 'Take', as we affectionately call it. We first saw you seven years ago, striding into the American Idol audition room and being asked, 'Why are you here'? You answered, rather cockily, 'I'm the next American Idol'. I guess on top of being one of the premiere vocalists of this generation, you're also clairvoyant! Because yes, you were the next America Idol, at least in our eyes. But I digress.

February: The Third Annual Golfing for Inclusion at Mirasol Country Club, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida happened on the 1st. You and the National Inclusion Project raised over $150,000 to provide children with disabilities the opportunity to play, learn and grow side-by-side with their typical peers. Allianz Life was this years sponsor and the American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. was a platinum sponsor. Good job, NIP, good job!

You also gave a very powerful, to-the-point speech at the Human Rights Campaign Carolinas Gala Dinner on the 27th. This year we watched as you became more active in the LGBT Community by fighting for rights that all Americans should be afforded but sadly aren't....and it's about damn time those rights were granted to each individual. Repealing DADT is a start, but only a start. There's still so much more to do.

March: You taped the PBS "Tried and True" Special in Raleigh NC on the 13th. A ton of your fans flew, drove, trained, bused, hitched, crawled, and rolled to get to the theater for that performance. From all reports, once again, you hit it out of the ballpark. Most of the discussion after the concert was about the 'jet plane' note in 'Unchained Melody'. Try as they might, the concert attendees couldn't do it justice; they said that you just had to be there. You were, most of us weren't, so we missed out and had to wait until the Special was shown on TV because there was no Clack of that taping. Yes, we behaved ourselves, as you requested, but man, it was hard, Clay, not seeing what the attendees were talking about. We got over it....eventually *g*

April: You released the cover art for the Tried and True CD. Amazon got flooded with pre-orders.

May: Taps foot, drums fingers

June: Whoa! You were a busy guy in June which makes US a busy fandom. "Tried and True" was released! Finally, a new recording from you. Appearances on various TV shows followed the release such as:

Good Morning America
The View
The Joy Behar Show
The Early Show
Chelsea handler
Canada AM
AOL Popeater

and various Satellite news media appearances and radio station interviews which were spread far and wide. We seriously loved "Feel the Spin with Larry Flick" on Sirius Radio. A lot of us feel that he really brought out things in a different way than previous interviewers and that you were more candid than ever before. We also love the fact that you are slowly opening up, just a bit, on subjects that you'd never talk about before coming out.

Also in June, the "Clay Aiken, Tried & True" PBS Concert Special first premiered on Chicago's WTTW. You appeared live in the WTTW studio with a cadre of volunteers taking the pledge calls. Recognize any of them? We did! Heh.

Geez, did you get any sleep in June? On the 21st, you appeared at the North Carolina Theater in 'Bringing Broadway Home'. That was a wonderful appearance, Clay. You know, the fandom usually finds one song in either your tours or appearances that is loved above all others. Most of the fans loved, loved, loved 'Those Magic Changes'. It was something different and something we could sort of rock out to. We also loved getting a clear, uncut version of 'This is the Moment'. We kind of got tired of listening to the spliced together one from back in the 90's, with the bad video and the two different versions in a different key. Thanks for the update.

July and August:

You gave a UNICEF speech in Memphis for their Keyclub and accepted generous Keyclub donation for $700,000 for UNICEF. You were a guest host on The View and managed to not cover anyone's mouth! Who knew?!? Seriously Clay, you did a good job on the show. We think Joy has a teeny soft spot for you.

We got very excited when the PBS Special started popping up on various PBS stations all across the country and some stations offered meet & greet tickets along with our pledges. How are you going to handle the over-sold M&Gs, like the one in the Philly market. Something tells us that a 72 person M&G ain't gonna happen. Heh.

What else happened in July, what else? Oh! We know! The start of the 'Timeless Tour' starring Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard! We waited in anticipation for this tour. Most of us hadn't seen you on a stage since Spamalot and we were jonesing for a glimpse of Concert!Clay! on stage doing what you do best...entertaining an audience. We always knew that you were funny, really funny, but who knew that Ruben was so funny as well? Of course, not all fans enjoyed the same thing about the tour, some loved the medleys, others wanted at least a few more complete songs. As we said above, there is usually a song or two that most fans clop (yes, clop's a word. Is too!) onto and this tour was not different. 'More Than a Feeling' and 'Footloose' were the two songs most talked about. We also remember some of the 'characters' in the audience. One of our favorites was 'Alan' from Hammond who "broke it the hell down" during 'Footloose' and of course, who could forget Arlene, the older lady who got to molest you right on stage (lucky lady)? Where was Jerome? Standing on the side, laughing his ass off, that's where he was. How was that staff meeting afterwards? Oh, wait, that was at the special Chicago concert in October. Forget we said anything.

We also got to hear you sing in the Phineas and Ferb episode with Chaka Khan.

The tour ran through mid-August and we didn't see you again until......

September: ...when you made some appearances for the PBS Special in various TV studios.


Two big things happened in October. The intimate concert at the West Park Theater on the 14th and the National Inclusion Project's Annual Gala on the 15th. At the West Park concert, who could forget Arlene, the older lady who got to molest you right on stage (lucky lady)? Where was Jerome? Standing on the side, laughing his ass off, that's where he was. How was that staff meeting afterwards? Yes, we copied and cheated, so what, who cares (tm Joy Behar via SNL)

The Champions Gala raised quite a bit of money for the NIP with the most successful auction of sending 5 kids to camp, the 4, then 3 until it got down to one. The total raised was over $370,000. In these tough economic times, that's a goodly number, Clay. You and the supporters should be proud. This year, the honorees were:

PepsiCo EnAble
EnAble seeks to promote physical, technological, and cultural opportunities to “EnAble” their people to realize their fullest potential.

I Am Norm: Twenty young people, with and without disabilities, from various locations across the United States designed a campaign in hopes of bringing about change. Through this campaign, they hope to raise awareness about inclusion, provide opportunities for youth to share their ideas about inclusion, and promote inclusive practices in schools and communities. They want to encourage the acceptance, respect, and full inclusion of all youth, in schools and communities through an initiative designed by young people.

The documentary, 'Darius Goes West: The Roll of His Life'
A group of friends took 15 year old Darius Weems across America to raise awareness of Duchene muscular dystrophy (DMD), the disease Darius has, to test wheelchair accessibility across the country, and to convince MTV's popular show "Pimp My Ride" to customize Darius' wheelchair.

What a wonderful group of honorees, Clay. Again, good job, NIP, good job!
You also spoke out against bullying on the Joy Behar Show quite effectively.


November was a bit sparse but you did get to address Members of Congress, along with Senators Bob Casey and Al Franken and Representatives Jared Polis and Linda Sanchez about the Safe Schools Improvement Act, sponsored by GLSEN, advocating for anti-bullying legislation in the wake of the recent teen suicides as a result of bullying. "I never had someone who told me that it was ok to be different...that it was okay to be me. What I did hear was that it would get better once I was out of high school...that things would get better. But from where I sat, I could not possibly believe that to be true. We need federal leadership from Congress to encourage all states and districts and each and every school to create safe learning environments where all students can learn and succeed." Excellent speech Clay and so close to home for many children and adults. Good job.

You also turned 32 on November 30th. Just think, we 'met' you at age 24 when you were still a youngin' and now you're an old man. Heh.

December, you were quiet, except for a few blogs that we loved. Keep it up, Clay. Your fans love it when you blog. Oh, and you could play with the devil once in a while and tweet something *g*

To wrap up this long-ass...ah, winded discourse, we hope you, your family and loved ones had a wonderful Christmas holiday and for the New Year, we wish you joy, peace, and love.

Your Internet Fans

*All factual errors are soley the fault of the author

**Many thanks to the Clack House message board Calendar thread, to 'Finding Clay Aiken' messageboard for the yearly timeline, and to all in Clay Nation for your unwavering enthusiasm, support, and for posting your thoughts and feelings.