Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Clay Aiken: "Take" time to tell me......

You had me at "Take"

January 28th, 2003.  American Idol auditions.  I had watched the entire 1st season and was really looking forward to the 2nd.  January 28th, 2003.  Out walked this skinny young man, all arms and elbows, a bit of a cocky swagger in his step. 

Yes, I was guilty of judging a book by it's cover.  My first thought?  "Simon's gonna rip him a new asshole".  My second thought? "Holy shit, listen to that kid's VOICE!!"  My third thought?  Well, I didn't have one *g*  But I watched.  I watched every week, looking for that guy, listening to the talent.

Then he got cut.  WTF?  Granted, his competition was Ruben and Kimberly Locke, two of my favorites, but it seemed like the groups were very unevenly distributed.  Why were these three oh-so-talented singers in the same group when other groups had no one who could compete with them?

Clay got cut and went home.

But wait!  There's more!

He was called back as a Wildcard *praises the Baby Jesus*  and he sang.  He sang his heart out.  Every week.  In the beginning, Simon praised him but towards the end, Simon got more and more critical, for no good reason except he wanted Ruben to win.  Perhaps Simon had visions of an R&B singer as the winner?  Or perhaps he didn't want the fey kid to win?  Who the heck knows what went through the mass between his ears?

Anyway, Clay perservered up until the Finale, or The Anomaly, as it's known in the Clay Nation.  Anywho, Ruben won and Clay made a life-long friend. 

January 28th, 2003, a day that will live in infamy.  Wait, that's part of a Presidential speech (Roosevelt, in case you're keeping count; December 7th, 1941).  It is a day that will live in the minds of the Clay Nation, The Community of Clay.  It's the day when 'we' first met Clay Aiken.  The day this ride started.  And what a roller coaster ride it's been.  I wouldn't trade it for the world.

AI!CLAY!  Just because he's so danged cute!

You had me at "Take"

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Clay Aiken 2012: The Year in Review

Hey Clay!

How ya doin’? Here we are, your internet fans, doing what we do best…..following you all around, following your career, your appearances, your tweets, and, yes, at times, your personal life. So sue us.

2012 was a very interesting year in Clay Nation, especially because we got to see you every week on Celebrity Apprentice (CApp). When recapping the year, we’re going to just skim over Capp events, otherwise, we’d be writing a freaking tome! Oh, and thanks for the long-ass.., um, long-winded recaps on the NBC site, except now they only start from week 4, so research is a bit spotty for the first three episodes.

Clay's Take on CApp


On the 4th, you appeared on The Today show with the cast of ‘Celebrity Apprentice‘. Here’s a scoop for you. We weren’t surprised. Of course we knew you were on it; we even knew how far you got before the January appearance although we didn’t know who would be the eventual winner. What we loved was seeing the respect and affection the cast had for you. Gave all of us the warm and fuzzies.

And! Sit down! Hold on to your horses! You started to twat, ah, tweet! Yowza! Finally! Oh man, we loved your tw…, ah, tweets! Don’t blame us, Clay, you started it!

You watched Adam Corolla (who called you ‘gritty‘) do some stand up and saw your buddy, Kelly, in concert in Raleigh. Hope your house party after the show was fun. You also let us know that a ‘new’ CD would be released called ‘Steadfast’, a re-packing of ‘Tried and True’ with some re-mixes, tied to CApp.


February saw the release of the tracks on ‘Steadfast’. You made a short video, speaking against Amendment One in North Carolina, educating people about how it would affect families and especially children in non-traditional marriages. Unfortunately, the amendment passed. Hopefully, some day, the good voters of NC will realize how important equal rights are for everyone.

You dueted with Kelly in Biloxi during one of her tour stops. What a nice surprise that was! And what a trip down Memory Lane when the two of you sang ‘Open Arms’. You also did an interview with Bill and Lynda on WRAL.

Carnegie Hall. Finally! Even though you didn’t sing there, you were a judge for the 2012 Nico Castel International Master Singer Competition the night before you took part of the "Distinguished Concerts Orchestra and Singers International" as narrator.

Celebrity Apprentice started ramping up the promo; you (and the rest of the cast members) were all over the place! From Raleigh’s N&O to Fox News, to HuffPo, to CBS, BET, Philly, Ohio, Boston…it was a plethora of Clay and friends!

Two episodes of CApp also aired; the first (2/19) showed the teams choosing their names (Honeybadgers? Seriously?) and raising money by selling sandwiches. Unanimous narrowly won and Cheryl Tiegs was fired. Clay Classy Moment: Ear digging.

The second episode (2/26) was the Medieval episode where Dee fell off the horse (due to your tambourine playing?) and messed up his finger, bad, and Victoria Gotti was fired. You got to ‘sing’ some musical notes, the ‘Nation swooned, Clay Classy Moment: Fingernail chewing.

We also loved how the media had no clue about your ‘titanium’ *ahem* reputation as the Clay Nation ALWAYS knew it. We love it when they’re wrong AND when they have to admit they’re wrong! Does that make us smug? So be it, we deserve a bit of smugness.


You made an appearance on Lisa Lampanelli’s show on Sirius XM. Now there’s a friendship that we’d never thought we’d see…you and Lisa Lampanelli. Strange bedfellows. Most of us are happy that you two are friends. BTW, she looks terrific today. You and Aubrey O’Day sang the National Anthem at the Honda Grand Prix in St Pete. Most of us did not like Aubrey and that’s putting it politely. The ego! The mouth! Yes, the girl’s smart but no one likes a know-it-all bully.

Four more episodes of Capp aired:

Live window displays using Ivank Trump’s fashions aired on 3/04. You made a great live model in the window, Clay! Handsome and debonair. George Takei was fired because he didn‘t stand up to the task at hand. For some reason, George didn’t like you. A lot of your fans are also Star Trek fans but the Clay Nation supersedes Sulu. From twitter: #classymoveofthenight to look out for: world's largest and gayest eye roll.

We heard that you were going to duet with Dee on his ‘Dee Does Broadway’ CD. We can’t wait!! Also, 110% was starting to be the buzzword on CApp. How many times did Lou use that phrase anyway? You also started re-tweeting tweets that consisted of the homophobic, the ridiculous, and the stupid, pointing out the absurdity of said tweets.

The Buick Verano task was on 3/11. Trump really thought that Andretti should have stepped up and been project manager but Corolla took on the task. Evidently Trump didn’t like that and both Adam Corolla and Michael Andretti were fired. Clay Classy Moment? Something about an erection? You said it, not us. And you said it on TV!  So we can say it here.

3/18 saw the O’Cedar Pro-Mist Mop ’viral video’ task. How about that heart-to-heart ’discussion’ with Penn? How’s that working for ya? Or him? Oye. Unanimous won the task and Tia Carrerre, who took the high road, was fired.

Finally! Project Manager! WooHOO! We were so excited. The Crystal Light party aired on 3/25. We loved that we saw some old friends at the party, both ours and yours *waves to Reed and the ‘mates* Would have loved to see how low YOU can Limbo! ‘Under the Boardwalk’? Loved, loved, loved it!! Loved! You were able to send $50,000 to The National Inclusion Project! Good job Clay! Some of us were already donating each week, using twitter messages to send the word. I hope that CApp helped raise lots of money. Patricia Valazquez was fired.

'Steadfast' was released and you appeared on many and various TV shows, The Today Show, Access Hollywood, Just Jenny, Watch What Happens, Showbiz tonight, etc.


April was full of CApp episodes.

04/01 was the Celebrity Tourguide book fundraiser and the Walk with Walgreens (two tasks). Loved seeing you present the check to the NIP. Loved seeing the guidebooks and you and the crew selling them on the street. We got to see one of our own present you with a HUGE check, money raised from the fans on the message boards. Our nickname for you was ‘Red Stallion‘.

What can we say about Penn, The Blue Man Group, and the money fiasco? The concept was understandable but the presentation was ridiculous. No wonder you were pissed, seeing at least half the money wasted in the wind. Debbie Gibson was fired.

Arsenio was the Project Manager for the Walk with Walgreen’s project but as is her nature, Aubrey took over, starting Arsenio to begin a slow boil that ended up in a contentious Boardroom. Aubrey was lucky that your Team won, thus letting her get out of possibly getting fired. Dee Snider was fired, and, in our opinion, unfairly. There were others who deserved to go way before he did.

On the 04/08 episode, you had to create a commercial for Entertainment.com. Words were exchanged between Lisa and Arsenio with Lisa screaming at Arsenio about name-calling and two seconds later, Lisa was name-calling, too. Irony. Pot, kettle and all that. Aubrey and Arsenio had their ’heart-to-heart’ conversation. What is it with CApp, first you and Penn, then Aubry and Arsenio. LOVED Paul as the nerdy father! Lou Ferrigno, Mr. 110%, was fired.

Muppet-UP aired on the 15th. By now, people were starting to get on each other’s nerves. We have to say that you and Lisa did a great job improvising! Fun-nee! Paul Teutel Sr. was fired because he stepped back and let others do the heavy lifting, as he thought it was not in his wheelhouse.

Trump’s cologne, Success was the object of the 04/22 ad campaign with you as the Project Manager. Against Aubrey. Again. While your display was superior, they had scent cards which seemed, to Trump, to well, trump your efforts. Penn Jillette was fired due to the slogan he chose.

The 04/29 episode, a Good Sam jingle (the “Dayana, I‘m a grown-ass man“ episode), told us that Dayana saw music in colors. Like pink. Or red. It seemed like you had to teach a music appreciation course to Dayana by compacting a year’s worth of study into about 45 minutes. Better you than us, Clay, because that looked very frustrating. Lisa went off, and we mean OFF, on Dayana that was quite, um, entertaining? Dayana Mendoza couldn’t hold on for another week and was fired.


On this May 6th episode only you and Lisa were left on your team to conceptualize and create the CHI Touch Screen hairdryer ad layout. You and she worked really well together. It was also the episode where John Rich and Marlee Matlin held interviews with the final four: Arsenio, Aubrey, Lisa, and you. John Rich. What a tool. Does he EVER let anyone complete an answer before jumping all over them?  Teresa Guidici was fired for the task and Lisa was fired for her temper.

Then there were three: Arsenio, Aubrey, and you.  Before the final task, Aubrey O’Day was fired, leaving just you and Arsenio as the two finalists. Shades of American Idol. Shades of you and Ruben.

A fundraiser, a party, a commercial, and a performance. Wow! So much to do, so little time. You delegated very well by using the strengths of your chosen teammates. You were right. As Project Manager and trying to earn all that money for The National Inclusion Project, you did deserve to see the mural before it was painted on the wall.

The finale went well with, in our opinion, you as the clear winner. The carnival atmosphere, the games, the video, all showing and demonstrating what The National Inclusion Project does, was perfect. The entertainment was outstanding, and even Trump seemed to be enjoying himself playing some of the games. The ending was bittersweet as we know you were happy for your friend but at the same time, you really wanted to win for your charity. Clay, we thought you deserved to win, not just because we’re your fans, but because you did the better job. But it was not to be.

Your buddy, Dee Snider, released his ‘Dee Does Broadway’ CD and on it was a fantastic duet ‘Luck Be a Lady Tonight’. OMG, Rock!Star!Clay! Yes!!! Loved it. You sounded great, Clay! Our only disappointment is that we’ll probably never get to hear that live. Ever.

You also had a couple of appearances such as ‘Night at the Pier’ in NYC for the Family Equity Council, CNN with Brooke Baldwin, talking about your fight to vote against the North Carolina Amendment One (which, sadly, passed that evening), ’Piers Morgan Tonight’ to speak of President Obama’s support for gay marriage equality, ‘The Ed Show’, ‘Face the Nation’ with that homophobic jerk. You more than held your own.

The weekend before the CApp Finale, you and Arsenio made the rounds of media all over the place, to numerous to mention!!

On the 8th you sang ‘This is the Moment’ for the Family Equity Council.  On the 21st, you attended the GLSEN Respect Awards and on the 22nd, you sang Unchained Melody at the Harboring Hearts Spring Gala in NYC.


You sang at your old High School for the Murphy Scholarship Game and on June 16 you appeared at the first annual 'Great American Songbook Hall of Fame' event benefiting the Center for the Performing Arts hosted by Michael Feinstein, singing ‘Even Now’ in a tribute to Barry Manilow.
Also, Gala tickets were on sale for platinum and gold seating.


Another OFC chat took place on the 10th where we learned that you used Minardi shampoo and that you promised to tell us the story of you getting drunk after the Celebrity Apprentice finale. Come on Clay we wanna hear the story!! Most of us like it when Cameron is with you during the chats because you seem much looser and more yourself. Has he sold your house yet? And you actually like a cat??!!?? OK, tolerate, but still…..

Tickets went on sale for one of the JNT’12 concert stops. Let the ticket tango begin!


Hopefully you were conceptualizing and putting together the Christmas tour ‘cos we saw neither hide nor hair of you.

Ha! Some political tweets

"Playing drinking game with my brother now. We drink every time we see a black person on screen at the RNC convention. #soberasamormon”
clayaiken: OMG!! Can we PLEASE just repeal the 22nd Amendment?? I want him back!! (about Bill Clinton)
clayaiken: @johnrich I think that a party that is hoping to represent and lead a country as diverse as America is should not be homogenous as the GOP
clayaiken: I'm tired of being a swing state! I miss the days when no one spent money on clogging up NC TV stations with political ads! :-/ #overit
clayaiken: Ironic, but true RT @TessRafferty: @ClayAiken knows more about how a woman's body works than @RepToddAkin.
clayaiken: I prefer homonyms. RT @GayFive69 @clayaiken what do you think about homophomes?


Tickets were on sale all over the place for the Christmas tour in September and on the 29th, you appeared for UNICEF Water for Life Gala in Calgary


On the 18th, there were a ton of pics floating around of you attending Tyra’s Gala in NYC, the Flawsome Ball.

October 20th brought The National Inclusion Project’s Annual Gala, this year, in Washington DC. Master of Ceremonies was Arsenio Hall with special guests Debbie Gibson and Ruben Studdard. Jerry Aiken gave a wonderful overview of the Project’s year and the accomplishments which included over 200 programs providing inclusive experiences for 25,000 children annually. The first honoree was Loretta Claiborne, partially blind and intellectually challenged who learned how to walk, then run and she hasn’t stopped since, running multiple marathons and is a Special Olympics athlete.

The second honoree, Steve Eidelman is the former head of ARC of the United States who partnered with other disability organizations to develop the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities. Their goal is to train the next generation of inclusive organization leaders.

The Founder’s Award went to Shelley Anderson for her volunteer efforts in support of The Project through the Major Gifts Campaign. Also honored was Dr. Pricilla Brame for the time and effort spent in laying the building blocks for the future of the Organization.

The final honorees were Bridget and Nancy Brown. Bridget, born with Down Syndrome, along with her mother Nancy has lived a full and inclusive life, as Bridget was the first Down Syndrome child to be included in her school district.

Although Dee Snider couldn’t be there in person, he introduced the live auction portion via video, surprising everyone.

From the national Inclusion’s website recap:

The National Inclusion Project

“The live auction was a great success. Two dinners with Clay went for $22,000 each and a special experience with Clay at Arsenio’s new upcoming talk show went for another $17,000. The highlight however was the “Send a Kid to Camp” Auction. To send a single kid to camp costs $250. Starting with 20 and going down to 1; those in the Theater generously raised their bid number to send their chosen number of kids to camp. Overall, the auction raised over $140,000 to make sure no child sits on the sidelines!

The entertainment part of the evening continued with solos and duets from Ruben Studdard, Debbie Gibson and Clay Aiken accompanied by a great band led by Ben Cohn. With Clay’s special performance of “The Real Me,” the 2012 Champions Gala came to a close. “

You sang ‘Everything I don’t Need, ‘to Love Somebody’, ‘Invisible’, and ‘The Real Me’. Invisible?? Really?? Shirt tugs and everything!! Awww, excuse us while we thud a moment. My god, that’s a word from the past!

Good job with the Gala this year, Clay. We can’t wait until next year’s!

You also made a video for D. .L. Hughley's new one-hour, satirical documentary, "D.L. Hughley: The Endangered List". Short but very, very funny.


You appeared on Dr Oz on the 28th on the ‘Reparative Therapy’ show. You do very well on these kinds of shows, Clay. You don’t let anger or frustration show, you give thoughtful, intelligent, measured responses and you make your point without shouting, yelling, or getting mad. Sometimes we wonder how you can do so without imploding.

On the 16th, you appeared on Sirius XM Radio’s ‘Morning Jolt’ with Larry Flick. Most notable was the fact that you’re either writing another book or taking part in a book about what it felt like being closeted. Can’t wait for that to come out. Heh. Irony.

November 23rd: Tour!Tour!Tour! The Christmas Tour starts. Joyful Noise 2012 with orchestra and a Brass section, which you clearly loved!

Happy birthday Clay!


More Tour!Tour!Tour! The show was really wonderful, Clay. You sounded great, you looked great, you had four, count ‘em, four outfit changes, you were chatty with the audience, the flow of the show felt good, and you seemed so very joyful. We hope you had a good time dong the tour and we also hope you keep doing them.

Time to wind this up. If we missed anything or got anything wrong, it’s solely the fault of the author, including all grammatical errors. And forgive us, we were tired and actually fell asleep in the middle of typing up this long-winded diatribe. Luckily, we saved it first.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Clay. We wish for you, as always, peace, love, joy, and laughter.

Special thanks go to: 'The Clack House' and 'Finding Clay Aiken' message boards for the timelines, discussions, twitter quotes, etc., thanks to all the Clack Gatherers, and, most of all, to the Clay Nation, those wonderful fans and friends who keep the whole thing going, year after year after year. MUAH! We love you all!