Monday, April 21, 2008

American Idol Success Stories

Clay Aiken is the reason why so many "American Idol" also-rans dream of the "wild card" policy being reinstated. The skinny pencil-necked kid with the unexpectedly mature voice was eliminated early on in Season 2, but he was invited back to the show as a wild card contestant. After that, he never landed in the bottom three, becoming a massive fan favorite and making it all the way to the finale. He eventually lost to Ruben Studdard, but given all the attention he received after "Idol" (he made the cover of "Rolling Stone" before Ruben did, for instance), he was clearly Season 2's REAL winner. Still the top-selling "Idol" runner-up of all time with 5 million albums sold, and now a hit on Broadway in "Spamalot," Clay is readying his first album of all-original material in five years, "On My Way Here." And with a title track penned by Midas-touched hit-maker Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, Clay's new CD is sure to carry on his "wild" success.

Bobby Bank/ - Tuesday, April, 15, 2008, 1:15 AM

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Fear of the Unknown

So much GOOD news lately...for which to be thankful.

The skating special...the upcoming Spamalot run on Broadway...the entertaining "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader" appearance, that netted the Bubel/Aiken Foundation $300,000...the BAF golf tournament...a new publicist...the surprise appearance at Harvard on behalf of UNICEF, and at the special educator's conference in North Carolina...the Christmas tour...

Oh, and something about a NEW CD coming next year...? Yeah, all exceptionally GOOD stuff!

It occurs to me that ever since Clay told the world he was moving on from the petty media bashing, that well,....he truly has. He is living his life, fulfilling his potential, making a difference. It also occurs to me that I have seen very little "bashing" of Clay in the legitimate media of late. Sure, the anonymous bloggers and miscellaneous "anti-fans" are still out there spewing their sewage, but they are of no relevence to Clay's life, or mine. In fact, most people outside the Clay Nation are not even aware of them.

No doubt there are still those lazy and untalented "journalists" in the legitimate media who will occasionally fall back on the practice of filling up their space and building up their word count and hits with unoriginal comments about Clay; but perhaps some of them have moved on as well.

Perhaps some of them have realized that the public ridicule of a self-confessed heterosexual male, using gay-based comments as insults, is really just a way to publicly ridicule all gays. Somewhere along the way, it has sadly become socially acceptable to gay bash a straight guy that is perceived to be gay. The unenlightened and homophobic public takes out its rage and contempt on him and others because they subconsciously want to bash all gays.

However, once a gay man comes out publicly, their hate speech becomes non politically correct, even punishable; witness actor Isaiah Washington losing his job for his homophobic slur against fellow actor T.K. Knight.

Clay has served long enough as the media proxy for homophobic bashing of gay men; to be harrassed and ridiculed for something he is not, on behalf of those who are not MAN enough to face off against true, OUT gay men for fear of being labeled "homophobic." Unexplainedly, some of the gay media are often the worst offenders.

After all, the true meaning of "homophobia" is "fear of homosexuals." Surely the gay media isn't afraid of itself. Is it?

I think what some of the unenlightened are truly afraid of isn't gay men. Perhaps what they are really afraid of is Clay himself, and what he represents.

More to come.

touchstone (n) a basis for comparison; a reference point against which other things can be evaluated

©touchstone 2007

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Debunking the ReUnited Tour (that never was)

Reunited? I guess not.

Clay put the kibosh on this rumor in a recent blog at his fan club. His sharing of factual information sure did light a fire under Miss Kimberley it seems, as she released a snide, passive-aggressive in your face tirade about it soon after.

My, my, my. How notoriety can change one. It seems she took on the public persona of many of her supporters - bitchy diva. Or maybe she was always that way, who knows.

Interesting poll results - despite the the mostly moaning and bitching on the fan boards, if you add the "yes" votes (9) and the "maybe" votes (9) then possibly a few folks really would attend a concert to see these three reunited.

But now, due to Clay's probity in setting the record straight, and Kimberley's bitchy tirade of a reply, it will never happen.

I feel the worst for Ruben; he probably would have just had a good time singing with his old friends.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Anybody Wanna (Soft) Rock?

Vacations. Gotta love them.

But you miss so much! Being a Clay fan is almost a full time job. Seriously; you take a week off and Clay blogs twice, a tour is promoted and debunked, and the Rosie/Ripa ripoff rears it's ridiculous head yet again. the Clay World Turns.

I found the results of the first poll very interesting. There were 40 votes total. It seems that 85% of voters would prefer Clay to tour with a band next non-holiday tour, as opposed to 15% who prefer the orchestral accompaniment.

I agree. But then I love the pop-rock flavor lead guitar and bass bring to the mix.

Jesse Vargas is an amazingly talented musician, arranger and performer. He did a wonderful job with the songs from A Thousand Different Ways, and I do feel that the strings and woodwinds brought just the right flavor to the songs from the CD. Sean McDaniel did a bang up job as well, and added much to the arrangements. But just think of the vibrant intensity some rock guitar would have brought to I Want to Know What Love Is, or the amazing energy a few well placed guitar riffs would have given the radio medley.

However, the stand out portion of the concert, for me anyway, was the warm and fuzzy one-two punch of the final two songs in the set - Lover All Alone and Because You Loved Me.

And without the plaintive yearning of the solitary cello and the swell of passion the strings brought to those performances? Well, it just wouldn't have been right.

So for this tour - the orchestra was perfect. For the Christmas tour - the orchestra is perfect. But for the next pop tour? I'm hoping for a full out guitar-centric band; complete with keys, horns and percussion. I'm not one who yearns for the mysterious "Rocker Clay" that so many dream of, but I love the energy a live band brings to the stage.

And I think Clay does too. I've seen the proof.

But then again....we'll always have "party all night!"

photo by shineinnc

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Friday, September 07, 2007

He's Clay Aiken...Good Night!

Thanks to snowluv4 for the video.

Good Night Clay.

touchstone (n) a basis for comparison; a reference point against which other things can be evaluated

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©touchstone 2007

©touchstone 2007