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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Clay Aiken answers fan questions

6a00e54ede41cc88330120a7e1f0f9970b-320wiClay Aiken,  in Atlanta to tape some pledge drops for Georgia Public Broadcasting Tuesday, gave me a few minutes to talk about his career and answer some fan questions.

Aiken, who came out with an album of standards in June called “Tried and True,” is also prepping for his one-month concert tour with Ruben Studdard that kicks off in Asheville, N.C. Friday.  He said the two will be on stage the entire time and do a “Sonny and Cher” type variety show.  He didn’t want to reveal what he was going to sing but it’d be fair to say he’ll definitely do a few from his most recent album.

The show’s first leg does not come to Atlanta but he hopes to include the city, presuming a second leg is in the offing in the fall.

The focus on standards, he said, wasn’t a deliberate effort to re-brand himself away from pop. It’s simply something he likes to do and is comfortable with. In other words, he is working the Michael Buble/Harry Connick Jr. route, a perfect venue for public broadcasting. He played his album at a concert in Raleigh that will air on Georgia Public Broadcasting August 1.

During the interview, he was friendly though he did say at one point (with mild annoyance) that a lot of the questions I received from fans sounded like questions he’s already answered relatively recently.

I asked one token “Idol” question about Simon Cowell leaving. He thinks it will hurt the show but won’t necessarily kill it. He said he can’t really stand watching the show anymore and hasn’t done so regularly since season five. He says it’s gotten a bit too glossy compared to the early days. Last season, the only segment he watched was when Ruben showed up.

And when I asked if he feels any different since he came out publicly, he cagily answered: “I think that’s relatively short sighted to assume I wasn’t out before… Nothing has changed.”

I had joked that this was my Barbara Walters question, but it was clear I couldn’t put him to tears. “I think I’d put you to tears before you put me to tears,” he responded and laughed.

Here’s the interview in two parts:

152 comments Add your comment

JTesla

July 21st, 2010
10:34 am

Thanks Rodney. Very interesting, good questions. It’s great to give the fans a video interview.

Rickster

July 21st, 2010
10:39 am

he was friendly though he did say at one point (with mild annoyance) that a lot of the questions I received from fans sounded like questions he’s already answered relatively recently.

Well, gee Clay, maybe we didn’t see/read/hear the interviews in which you already answered those questions. If you don’t want to answer the same questions more than once… don’t do more than one interview!

JTesla

July 21st, 2010
10:47 am

By the way, my comments were regarding the written interview portion… I havne’t been able to get the video to work yet, it says that it is not available. Anyone else having issues?

Rosita

July 21st, 2010
10:58 am

Sonny and Cher? Ruh Roh . . .

kelly&carriefan

July 21st, 2010
10:59 am

I actually watched it. It went fairly well. IMO, there’s always a certain level of awkwarness in his interviews. It could just be me. In any event, thanks for sharing, Rodney.

Also, the whole cover/standards thing isn’t so much a “re-branding,” etc. I’m surprised a fan asked that. He went on tour years ago doing that. I know. I saw him @ Chastain. I’ve seen him twice and he’s always been quite entertaining. (The other time he co-headlined with Kelly, so clearly I was there. ;) )

I will give him credit for a very funny line regarding why he doesn’t watch Idol anymore:
“Once you’ve seen how the sausage is made, you don’t want to eat it…” – Clay Aiken

:lol: Oh, Clay.

Mercedes S.

July 21st, 2010
11:23 am

Thanks for interview, RoHo; you did a great job, as always, and Clay answered in his usual, polite manner. Can’t believe he didn’t watch the Adam season, since it was so similar to his – the #2 did better, in the long run than the winner.

Rickster

July 21st, 2010
11:25 am

I think Martin & Lewis would be more appropriate… unless Clay…. never mind.

Hillary

July 21st, 2010
11:26 am

Jesus Rodney! How did you do it. I have never seen Clay so talkative and open. You are good at listening and staying on point. Good job.

Deirdre

July 21st, 2010
11:36 am

I thought this was a great interview. As clay got more relaxed with Rodney, he became very personable, very friendly. I think he’s a great talker. He’s not a yes and no answer sort of guy.

He mentioned an interest in judging although he didn’t say Idol. He would probably make an excellent judge. Not so much as a replacement for simon but as a mentor/guest judge.

And I have to say that I agree with him whole-heartedly about Idol becoming too “slick”. Compared to his season, Idol is a much more polished show. And much more full of itself. I think we’ve all been talking about the benefits of Idol going back to its roots. Simplifying itself.

Excellent interview, Rodney.

JTesla

July 21st, 2010
11:44 am

He would make a good judge, but I have a feeling that producers of whatever thing he might become a judge of would expect to pigeonhole him into a certain judge stereotype. I do agree with him about Idol becoming too slick, of course I stuck with it, but then I don’t get the sausage bit.

Sam

July 21st, 2010
11:51 am

Clay is still my 2nd fave Idol contestant ever (after Kelly of course). He has such a wonderful voice, and I appreciated the way he came in as the Nerd King, soaked up every suggestion Simon made, and left a cute guy. That said, I don’t buy his records, but still love to hear him sing.

I also agree with him re the “slick” remark. The first 3 seasons were so much better than all this stuff added now. Fix the kids up a little, but don’t turn them into wax figures! And the band and a bit of backup singing is good, but now these are turned into the glossy productions you used to see on the Academy Awards shows. too much a production – you sometimes can’t hear the singer for the background noises.

Deirdre

July 21st, 2010
11:52 am

Rodney asked about Idol and Clay said he doesn’t watch it anymore, hasn’t sing 2005. He said there were a number of reasons why one of which was once you know how the sausage is made, you don’t want to eat it anymore. Also he doesn’t watch because of the overproduction of the show now as compared to when he was on it. Kelly refers to her season as Ghetto Idol when she compares it to how Idol is now. Clay was season 2 so he was pretty much one step up from Ghetto idol.

Deirdre

July 21st, 2010
11:53 am

’scuse me again “hasn’t SINCE” not “sing”

Deirdre

July 21st, 2010
12:00 pm

Oh and while I remember…thank goodness he cut his hair!

Sandi

July 21st, 2010
12:08 pm

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Rickster

July 21st, 2010
12:16 pm

you been imbibing on the royal wine, your queeness? :-)

Deirdre

July 21st, 2010
12:18 pm

Every chance I get Sir Jester!

Rickster

July 21st, 2010
12:22 pm

Reminds me of a great Hollywood Squares joke:

Peter Marshall: “Paul, what’s the difference between a royal highness and a serene highness”
Paul Lynde: “A fifth of the royal scotch.”

:-)

Rodney Ho

July 21st, 2010
12:27 pm

My past five blog entries have been about Clay and Ruben. What year is this anyway? 2003? (I was still 18 months away from doing a blog at that point, though…)

rt

July 21st, 2010
12:30 pm

Thank you for the video interview. Very interesting. I was glad someone asked about a Christmas CD/tour. However, for those who have not seen Clay in concert, the “mild annoyance” you mentioned relative to questions already asked was more Clay being snarky than serious. In concert he is witty and snarky so I didn’t take his comment as him being annoyed at all.

JTesla

July 21st, 2010
12:33 pm

Making up for lost time Rodney. Can’t wait until you hit Season 1 and give Kelly and Justin some major blog loving.

Rickster

July 21st, 2010
12:45 pm

Careful, wt… you use the word ’snarky’ in this blog and you’ll definitely pique JT’s interest!

Deirdre

July 21st, 2010
12:55 pm

A couple of times, during the tape, when Rodney mentioned the name of the questioner, Clay closed his eyes as if he’d heard it before and he knew what was coming.

Sometimes fans can be so demanding that they actually hurt a performer more than help him. I think Clay may be dealing with a couple of people like that.

Kathy

July 21st, 2010
1:25 pm

Great interview. Clay is very genuine and articulate and comes across very natural. I listen to his new album which I think is just great. I enjoyed the earlier years of Idol much more that the recent shows. I still tune into the show mostly to see the former alum come back. That is what the show needs to concentrate on. By promoting their own they(Idol) are promoting the show.

wreckedpizza

July 21st, 2010
1:29 pm

Thanks, Rodney. Scintillating stuff, there. Hopefully the Clay fans will be happy as the interview was crisp and not confrontational. He’s doing well, happy with his life and career and made some good points about American Idol.

Now, let’s have some focus on season 3!!!!!

Rickster

July 21st, 2010
1:55 pm

Since it’s slow… here is another long-awaited “American Idol Auditions we wish we’d have seen” – Jim Nabors

Randy: “Dawg! That was unbelievable! No way that voice comes outta you. But, for me, it’s just not right for the show.”

Paula:That was amazing! I love your voice. And thank you for serving your country, Mr. Pyle.”

Simon: Well, gollleeeeeee! I wasn’t expecting that from you. I’m gob smacked. But it was all a bit ‘karaoke’ for me. So I have to say no.”

musicfan

July 21st, 2010
2:13 pm

Enjoyed your interview. Thanks for the videos.

Becky

July 21st, 2010
2:15 pm

Thank you for putting the video up in 2 parts! I can sit and listen to Clay talk all day! He is witty and articulate!! Great interview!!!

Deirdre

July 21st, 2010
2:28 pm

I also think a part of the interview that is very telling regarding Clay’s fans is when he talks about how wonderful it is to vacation abroad because nobody knows him. It seems like being in a place where he is not recognized is almost like heaven to him.

susanna

July 21st, 2010
2:40 pm

What an engaging personality to go with that fabulous voice!!! I’m looking forward to the tour and the PBS special in August. He may complain about fan recognition, but there is no way he doesn’t acknowledge that his fans are extremely supportive, and have gotten him where he is today.
He and Ruben will have a wonderful time together, and their performance should be fantastic!!

Mary

July 21st, 2010
2:43 pm

Thanks so much for asking my question! ;) Love Clay!

Emily

July 21st, 2010
2:56 pm

Please choose your questions more carefully the next time you interview Clay Aiken I could be Clay’s
new girlfriend I sure hope He comes to Muskegon,MI for his Christmas tour and please ask Clay if
he had gotten a birthday card from his 2007 Christmas tour in Kalamazoo

JTesla

July 21st, 2010
3:01 pm

Emily, I’ve got some bad news for you.

Emily

July 21st, 2010
3:13 pm

I heard about the break up with reed and I had a bad break up as well with my boyfriend Clay Aiken
was my only chance to have somebody please

Deirdre

July 21st, 2010
3:20 pm

Emily, sweetie…unless you have a very odd name for a boy, it just isn’t going to happen with Clay. He doesn’t play for your team.

JTesla

July 21st, 2010
3:23 pm

Also, I’m willing to bet, even though he does appreciate his fans, that dating an obsessed fan is something that he will never do. Ever. Ever ever ever ever. EVER!

Deirdre

July 21st, 2010
3:28 pm

I think the words “restraining order” have probably popped into his head more than once or twice.

April

July 21st, 2010
3:40 pm

Thanks Rodney for the Clay Aiken interview. Really enjoyed it!

Caroline

July 21st, 2010
3:43 pm

Absolutely HATE the hair – I was so loving the long hair with the stubble -he looks much more handsome that way. He comes off as a smartass in this interview but I still love him.

sakura

July 21st, 2010
3:43 pm

Deirdre

July 21st, 2010
3:20 pm

Emily, sweetie…unless you have a very odd name for a boy, it just isn’t going to happen with Clay. He doesn’t play for your team.

–you nailed it D! i was just planning on lurking (very slow day at work) but this comment really woke me up from my slumber.. lol!

Llana

July 21st, 2010
4:00 pm

I really enjoyed the interview videos, thanks so much, Clay is such a witty man!

Joanne

July 21st, 2010
4:03 pm

I love some Clay Aiken !! His voice can melt all of Alaska! He talks a mile a minute and trips over his tongue alot , he’s hilarious ! Can’t wait to see him!

Emily

July 21st, 2010
4:15 pm

Listen all you fans and Claymates I am not like you guys at all because you all are overly protective
obsessive and shrill over Clay Aiken I am truly in Love with Clay Aiken and I bet he feels the same way
so deal with it and leave us alone

kelly&carriefan

July 21st, 2010
4:21 pm

Y’all, ummmm, I have no words. I mean, I do, but well, my mama taught me not to argue with a fool.

:D

JTesla

July 21st, 2010
4:22 pm

Normally I wouldn’t believe Emily, but since it reinforces my world view (regarding Clay fans) I’m going to treat it as if it is normal.

Deirdre

July 21st, 2010
4:34 pm

If Emily is serious, then I’m feeling a little sorry for her.

I’m leaning more toward “internet hoax”.

Jess

July 21st, 2010
4:36 pm

Why is Clay such an arrogant jerk?

Trudy

July 21st, 2010
4:40 pm

Emily: Honey, you do know that Clay is gay right? That means he doesn’t like girls or have girlfriends.

Emily

July 21st, 2010
4:40 pm

Clay Aiken Is no jerk he is the most beautiful man in my eyes and no I am not an Internet Hoax

thisjustin

July 21st, 2010
4:43 pm

Emily – LOL! I really love Clay’s sense of humor, the fact that he doesn’t take himself so seriously & is comfortable enough to wear his feelings on his sleeve in interviews. I’m dumbfounded that RCA never promoted him internationally as he would go over like gangbusters in Asia & Europe for sure. He already has lots of overseas fans just from what they’ve picked up on from TV & the internet. Decca really needs to market him all over to get the most bang for their buck. I’m sorry that he’ll lose his anonymity, but that is the price you pay for fame & fortune in this world. Perhaps he’s happier being a mid-level star than all the craziness that went with his first 3 yrs off the show.

kelly&carriefan

July 21st, 2010
4:44 pm

D, clearly, it’s no hoax. She’s posting from Egypt. Lovely river.

thisjustin

July 21st, 2010
4:47 pm

Jess – why are you such a judgemental malcontent?

Deirdre

July 21st, 2010
4:47 pm

I think she’s posting from Bellevue.

JTesla

July 21st, 2010
4:49 pm

K&Cfan, I like that “posting from Egypt…” we might need to use that a bit more.

Deirdre

July 21st, 2010
4:49 pm

k&cf…you have completely lost me on that one.

Deirdre

July 21st, 2010
4:50 pm

Looks like the Clay fans and the trolls are gonna do battle. JT..POPCORN!

kelly&carriefan

July 21st, 2010
5:01 pm

JT, I’m glad. I think it’d be stupy not to use it! Blogspeak, y’all.

D, Egypt, river…The Nile? :D

Emily

July 21st, 2010
5:02 pm

Clay Aiken is not gay he only said that to protect his image and his career You do not really know him as much as I do Cause all I know that he was born and raised by a lot of women in his life that means he loves and respects all women and if you all do not believe me then ask Clay

Rickster

July 21st, 2010
5:05 pm

You’re in de nile, your queeness, :-)

Rickster

July 21st, 2010
5:07 pm

and I am outta here!

G’night, everybody!

JTesla

July 21st, 2010
5:09 pm

Emily, that information actually comes from Clay, he’s been asked. Repeatedly. I’m talking multiple times. So many times that he is sick of it. So many times that all his fans and all those that don’t care are sick of it. “Protect his image”, now I know that you are not being honest. Very funny.

Where was I, oh yes, popcorn. I leave Emily to the true fans, if there are any stopping by.

Deirdre

July 21st, 2010
5:12 pm

Thank you, thank you…I’m a little slow on the uptake today!

Trudy

July 21st, 2010
5:12 pm

Emily, sweetheart, I hate to break it ya but Clay loves the man stick. Ask him yourself.

thisjustin

July 21st, 2010
5:20 pm

Rodney, forgot to thank you for the great vid!! Keep ‘em comin’!

Emily

July 21st, 2010
5:21 pm

I told you he is not gay and I have proof just watch on the Standard and on air with Ryan Seacreat
did you Know that clay is uncomfortable around men since both his dadand birth father made him
miserable

Emily

July 21st, 2010
5:23 pm

I really don not know how you call your selves Clay Mates

Numa

July 21st, 2010
5:27 pm

So that’s where washed-up American Idol contestants eventually go: PBS!

Trudy

July 21st, 2010
5:33 pm

Emily: How does saying he is gay “protect his career”?
Clay is very comfortable around men that he is sexually interested in.

Deirdre

July 21st, 2010
5:33 pm

And this thread hasn’t even been on the front page.

JTesla

July 21st, 2010
5:35 pm

This is good comedy.

Mercedes S.

July 21st, 2010
5:37 pm

And how does Emily feel about Clay’s love child with ANOTHER WOMAN?

Deirdre

July 21st, 2010
5:38 pm

Forget the popcorn. I think we’re gonna need a net!

zion

July 21st, 2010
5:39 pm

I like Clay’s music.

Emily

July 21st, 2010
5:40 pm

That’s it I’m done with you so called Clay Mates in fact I’m no longer talking to you

Eveready

July 21st, 2010
5:41 pm

You mean you like other people’s music that Clay sings.

Emily

July 21st, 2010
5:43 pm

I’m gonna sit in my corner and pout because someone told me the truth.

Emily

July 21st, 2010
5:44 pm

Cause I’ll manage to have Clay Aiken has my Boyfriend no matter what you say I’m done with the Clay mates trash talk

Emily

July 21st, 2010
5:45 pm

He’ll be my boyfriend even if I have to have a sex change!

JTesla

July 21st, 2010
5:46 pm

You know it’s an act when you get the “no longer talking to you” line followed by two more posts.

guggenheim

July 21st, 2010
5:47 pm

Good luck with that. Let us know how it goes.

Eveready

July 21st, 2010
5:49 pm

I’ll give her this. She has a more entertaining act than Clay Aiken.

Alex

July 21st, 2010
5:59 pm

Enter your comments here

Deirdre

July 21st, 2010
6:00 pm

Alex

July 21st, 2010
6:07 pm

LOL!! That jerk doesn’t need to go overseas to be unrecognized or left alone; nobody (except the few rabid Claymates left) knows (or cares) who is is HERE! The abysmal sales stats of his latest boring CD prove that. What a joke!

Deirdre

July 21st, 2010
6:19 pm

Alex, I see you figured out that you have to actually write a comment before you hit the submit button.

I’m not a huge Clay fan, but he’s pretty well known in this country, album sales not withstanding. He came in second on a huge hit TV show….a second place that is still, in some circles, under dispute. He’s doing just fine in the fame department. People magazine cover last year, PBS special, 5 albums, a Broadway show.

I’m not worried about Clay.

I am, however, a little worried about Emily.

Rosita

July 21st, 2010
6:19 pm

Beulah, peel me a grape.

Sherry

July 21st, 2010
6:40 pm

Excellent interview Rodney. Thank you for your reasoned, interesting presentation.

thisjustin

July 21st, 2010
6:41 pm

I’ve been to hundreds of concerts over the years of many genres, most of them pop/rock, tho. Clay’s shows are far more entertaining than many much more revered musical legends that I’ve seen. Best was the Who for 4 hrs & REM at their peak & worst was a tie between the Go-Gos & a more recent radio show where everyone just seemed to be going thru the motions (including Adam Lambert).

Mercedes S.

July 21st, 2010
6:43 pm

If emily was real she’d know how to spell Claymates

Sherry

July 21st, 2010
6:47 pm

Sorry Rodney, that your interview comments were hijacked! Didn’t you do an interview with Clay a few years ago?

Eveready

July 21st, 2010
7:08 pm

Clay is well known all right…. As a cultural joke.

Emily

July 21st, 2010
7:26 pm

You are all slime balls you know that

JTesla

July 21st, 2010
7:30 pm

And you all thought she was gone!

Highlander

July 21st, 2010
8:36 pm

Good manners prevent me from commenting on Emily.who is obviously mentally deranged. …Oops! :oops:

Highlander

July 21st, 2010
8:37 pm

I swear I hit the comma key not the period after her name.

kta

July 21st, 2010
10:09 pm

Thank you for a great interview. Can’t wait for the tour!

Harm

July 21st, 2010
10:13 pm

Bless your heart. Emily

Mercedes S.

July 21st, 2010
11:08 pm

And that, Harm, is the final insult!

Bunch of great movies opening this Friday, btw.

cindy

July 21st, 2010
11:10 pm

Ditto to “thisjustin”, I also have seen the “best of the best” when it comes to concerts…okay revealing my age here..including the actual “BEATLES”. But you know what? Clay puts on a damn good show. What I like about him is, no tour is the same. He mixes it up, I have seen Paul McCartney countless times, he is the “supreme” act of the last ..how many years? But once you have seen him, the next will be the same…it is spectacular but it will be the same. Okay Clay is small potatoes in comparision to Paul..but he is creative and fun and I thoroughly enjoy his concerts. A great singer, very funny and original……looking forward to he and Ruben..just a fun night with lots of fun music…can’t ask for more.

JTesla

July 21st, 2010
11:21 pm

Clay deserves a second page of comments. Thanks to the next person that makes a post.