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"