Or, is he the Sultan of Scandal? Would you believe The Dean of Disrepute?
I’ve been eagerly following the wondrousness that is Clay Aiken Live, as he begins his annual holiday tour; this version of which includes solo performances with local or traveling symphony orchestral groups, led by musical director Jesse Vargas, a veteran of the first Joyful Noise holiday tour.
In my mind’s eye, I always dreamed of just this very thing. Essential Clay - a mic, a spot, and an orchestra – delivering the dulcet tones that make up such beautiful and captivating holiday songs as “Emmanuel” and “My Grown Up Christmas List.”.
The lucky fans in attendance receive a blessed holiday gift – all the music that has begun to define Clay as the voice of Christmas present. From Clive’s favorite, “Christmas Waltz,” to the magnificent show ending encore and title song of the recent EP, “All is Well,” Clay brings the spirit, and the reason, for the season to everyone in his presence.
And, he’s bringing more. Much more.
He’s bringing humor, he’s bringing playfulness, and he’s bringing a cocky new attitude. And I like it!
Who would have ever thought back in September, when Clay angrily confronted Diane Sawyer about the media’s constant prying into his private life, that just a few short months later he would be publicly laughing about the "next big tabloid scandal?" For that matter, who in a million years would ever imagine that a mere three days after the “national debate” (tm Inside Edition) sparked by the “hand over mouth” incident with Kelly Rippa, that Clay would parody himself on national TV during a major music awards show?
Yet here he is, holding court on stage, in the middle of a symphonic Christmas concert, laughing about the possibility that he could be the cover boy for next week’s National Idiot tabloid rag. Not only laughing about it, but snarking big time about his alleged "love child," a "…skinny, little redheaded kid running around" somewhere.
Clay may have grown up a bit sheltered, raised without the benefit of a strong male role model. But make no mistake – the man has received the education of a lifetime in the past three years. He’s seen the children of Uganda that move through the night to seek safety in city shelters. He has held the small hands of orphaned children in the tsunami ravaged Banda Aceh region of Indonesia, and he has no doubt heard the devastating stories of being in the midst of the war torn Middle East from his brother. Last, as well as least, he has been enlightened to the rotten-souled industry types of Hollyweird, not to mention some freaky “fans” along the way.
Let’s put some things in perspective here.
I don't see the world through the eyes of Clay Aiken. But through my own eyes, I can see that Clay has come full circle. Through his life experiences, his recent humanitarian work, and his dealings with those in the “pop culture” media, he has learned how to separate the honorable from the hubris, and to laugh at the envious wannabes who deign to smear his name, impugn his character, and harm his career. He has also learned that his fans are beginning to learn the same.
Many people don’t seem to understand the position Clay took in regard to the discussion of his private life. “Just one statement,” some pleaded. “Just say it one more time,” as if one or twenty one more times would suddenly cause the topic to dissipate. I think not; not while the pop culture media exists only to showcase the foibles and flaws of our stars. Not while a large segment of the American public still desires to know the failings of the American rich and famous, so as to make them feel more worthy as flawed human beings themselves. No, whatever he may say, they would continue to challenge him.
Because that’s what they do.
Grammy nominated artist James Blunt recently said, in answer to a personal question, “My music is for sale. My private life is not.” The thought process that states celebrities sign away their privacy when they decide to seek fame is obsolete. An entertainer owes the public nothing but to entertain us. Preferably in the course of doing their job. Singing, performing, acting – it’s a job, not a commitment to lay bare the most personal aspects of their lives. Unless they so choose of course.
I’m taking Clay’s lead. I’m laughing at these sad little people who seem to have no purpose in their lives other than to prop themselves up by besmirching those who are more talented, more influential, more treasured and admired. I’m rolling my eyes at their pitiful little hate filled commentary, because seriously, their words are meaningless to me, or to Clay.
They came at him for almost a year, a huge pile on from all sides. They didn't hurt him. He's still standing, still singing, still making a difference.
From now on, I will read it and not weep, but laugh. Loudly and with much passion. Or most likely, I’ll just skip it and not read it at all.....
Look at the big picture. Nothing they can do, or say, means anything, in the big picture. Listen to Clay. He knows what's important in this world, he's seen it. He is a man of substance, significance, and purpose.
Welcome back Mr. Aiken. You friggin rock.
touchstone (n) a basis for comparison; a reference point against which other things can be evaluated
Concert photos by Invisible926.
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