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# 64: A super smart, caring, determined, classy, easy-going, and genuinely good, likeable guy

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Well that fucking sucks. Talk about a roller coaster ride. We had a group of 15 for Detroit, and I was calling for dinner reservations yesterday. We had all gone together purchased a ticket for one of our group who has been having rough times and hasn't been to a concert in a while. Why does it have to be Detroit? It's the only one freaking remotely close for those of us in South-Western Ontario. The great white fucking north.

Sorry for the rant. I am fortunate enough to still have a ticket to St. Charles (a 6 hour drive), but others aren't. {{{all affected}}}

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This was posted on the Clayboard:

Faye Aiken Parker: Ticket sales were better than Shippenburg which was

a great crowd but the venue was 5000 seats and in this economy that is

hard to do. Wish he could have had a venue about the size of that or

DPAC. Sorry Detroit. Know there were a lot of you going.

It just annoys me that people might get the impression that Detroit wasn't selling well, when in fact it was selling quite well as compared to other venues. Why wouldn't they have booked him into a more appropriately sized venue? Argh. I feel bad for the fans & Clay. That said, in 9 years and 60+ concerts/galas/Broadway shows, this is the first time this has happened to me personally. So I guess I'm still pretty lucky. I can't wait for St. Charles on Saturday!

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New tweet:

vote for Paul Sr's bike in the Live Biker Build off: text #4 to 97979@OCChoppers

Pictures of the bikes in question.

You know, I love that he still seems to like Paul Sr. Honestly, I thought Paul Sr. was going to be a real jerk on the show; turns out, he's a softy!

Also, this twitter conversation:

Tweet from goobgal250:

@clayaiken Who picked Fox with 4500 seats when 2 venues you performed before and Detroit Opera House have less than 1/2 capacity. So bummed!

Clay's reply:

@goobgal250 Not my choice. So sorry.
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Good morning FCA! Sorry I haven't been around as much lately -- it's finals week at my college, plus there's a staffing shortage (again!), so it's been a bit crazy. I also had a great time at another Christmas show -- the Brian Setzer Christmas Extravaganza! If you like rockabilly music, you would love this show. And thanks to my Ticketmaster prowess, honed from many years of trying for Clay Aiken tickets *g*, I managed to get us 5th row dead center seats.

If I get a chance, I'll try to find some of the YouTube clips from last night.

Oh, and -- woohoo for Nicholas David! *g*

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He is on The Voice and he made it through to the finals last night. I guess with iTunes, it's not such a surprise now who stays and who goes. Feel bad for Trevin but he didn't have the best week, that's for sure. Nicholas deserved to go through this time.

I haven't even started shopping. I don't have much to buy anyways, I joked with my daughter today that we should all just pass around a $50 bill since we just seem to give each other money anyways. I do usually fill stockings still and try to put at least one small thing under the tree for everyone though. It's not the same with no little kids... maybe one of these years there will be some again!

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Sorry fear -- I've gotten very wrapped up in "The Voice" this year, and really like Nicholas. He's one of those "old school" deep soulful voices, and I just love him. luckiest, I agree about Trevin -- he's got a good voice, but he needs a little more work under his belt, and this week really wasn't his best week. Sad that it happened this late in the competition.

This day keeps getting crazier, but I've had a new article come my way:


NUNN ON ONE: Clay Aiken Talks "Idol," Holiday Standards

NUNN ON ONE: Clay Aiken talks 'Idol,' holiday standards


2012-12-12 2012Tour--PRphoto-color.jpg


Clay Aiken broke out into the world of music and television on the second season of American Idol. His first release, Measure of a Man, sold more copies in its first week than Madonna and Beyonce's debut albums combined.

He wrote a best-selling book Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life and released Merry Christmas With Love in the same week.

Aiken caught the acting bug on Drop Dead Diva and headed to Broadway in Monty Python's Spamalot.

Steadfast is his most recent album, being released this year and coinciding with his appearance on Celebrity Apprentice, where he finished second.

Nunn tracked him down to chat a bit about his current projects and upcoming show.

Windy City Times: Hey, Clay. Are you out on tour?

Clay Aiken: I am. I'm in New York right now.

WCT: This is a holiday tour?

Clay Aiken: Yes, this is our Joyful Noise tour. This is the fifth incarnation of that. We have done it several times over the years. This is a new generation of the same theme we've had in the past.

WCT: So a lot of Christmas songs?

Clay Aiken: It is all holiday. We tried to put songs like "Invisible" in, and it just doesn't make sense to sing that and "Oh Holy Night" and "Away In a Manger" in the same set.

WCT: Fans of the album Steadfast won't hear much of that then…

Clay Aiken: Fans of Steadfast will get the same type of sound. That particular album, Tried and True, was a full orchestra big-band type of show. We do this particular show with a full orchestra. The reason I did Tried and True, which later was called Steadfast, was because I like that type of orchestra sound and it's where I love to be.

The Christmas music is in that same space for my voice, at least. It is not me trying to be cool and hip and sing Justin Bieber-y type songs. It is me singing what works for my voice and the style. I was born 20 years too late in some regards. If I had been born 20 years earlier I would have been able to sing in the '60s and '70s. Christmas music stays timeless in that way.

WCT: Were you raised on a lot of standards?

Clay Aiken: Oh, yeah; my mom had that stuff playing all the time. She used to sing so it is in my blood somewhere.

WCT: Did you have a musical background growing up?

Clay Aiken: No, not really. My mom and my uncle sang a little bit but never around the family or anything. I think when you are a kid and want to sing around people at four years old people think that is exciting. Even though you might not be that good, you are encouraged to do it. I was encouraged because I was willing to do it then I fell in love with it. That's how it happened.

WCT: You fell into being a contestant on American Idol?

Clay Aiken: Pretty much. I was nagged into doing it. Someone told me that I needed to go so I went and got cut the first day. I thought, "Well, shit! I ain't gonna get cut like this! I might not be the best in the country but I am certainly better than these fools that made it through on the first day." I went back the next week and tried again in Atlanta.

WCT: It must be fun looking back at some of those episodes.

Clay Aiken: I look back with binoculars. It has been so long ago I can barely remember it.

WCT: What do you think about this new Idol? It looks like a different ballgame now.

Clay Aiken: I haven't watched it since 2005. It has been a long time since I've seen the show. So I don't know too much about it.

WCT: I enjoyed watching you on Celebrity Apprentice and you almost won.

Clay Aiken: I need a T-shirt that says "Almost Won!" That has been my lot in life. It should have been fun to watch because we gave you enough drama.

WCT: You have been involved with so many fundraising organizations. What ones are working with currently?

Clay Aiken: I do what I can. I am focused the most on the National Inclusion Project, which is what I played for on Apprentice. It is an organization that I started to include kids with disabilities into programs for kids without disabilities. I've been an ambassador for UNICEF since 2004. I have also done some work with GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) and organizations that have tried to stop bullying with LGBT youth in schools.

WCT: Were you bullied when you were younger?

Clay Aiken: Believe it or not, I really wasn't. I am just ripe for being bullied. I am the most bully-able person you will ever meet. I'm red headed, gay, skinny and pale, which should have made me bullied all the time. But I found something that I loved and was passionate about. I sang all the time and had something I could focus my energies on. So that helped me a little bit.

Now I have been bullied as an adult a lot, but as a teenager I didn't have too much trouble with it.

WCT: What took you so long to come out of the closet? Were you worried about your career?

Clay Aiken: I kind of take offense to the "what took you so long" question, to be quite honest, because I think LGBT people need to stop worrying about what other people do. Every individual who is gay has an individual path. They take a certain time to come out. I came out to my family and friends five years before I was encouraged to do it publicly. Had I had my own way I would never have told anybody because it was really nobody's damn business! Nobody else has to come out publicly.

I think that gay men and women who have come out have a false impression that since they came out it is easy for other people. It is an individual journey for every single person. I have to watch myself now that I am out to make sure I don't say, "Since I did it, Lance Bass, Neil Patrick Harris, and Ricky Martin all did it, then everyone should do it." That's bullshit. Every single person has personal reasons for making the decisions that they make. Coming out is 100 percent a personal journey. It's not done for the benefit of anybody else at all. I didn't come out for anybody else. I had to work through my own issues with my family and the people around me.

WCT: How is your son, Parker, doing by the way?

Clay Aiken: He's doing well, thank you.

WCT: Do you want to do more Broadway shows like Monty Python's Spamalot?

Clay Aiken: I enjoyed it a lot. I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. But I did; I kind of fell in love with it. I don't have any plans to do it right now but would love to at some point, only if I got to sing. I didn't get to sing in the last one. That was not a singing show. There are not many shows for guys to sing with so many being for women. Instead of doing one for the sake of doing one then I will wait for the right one.

WCT: Your fellow American Idol competitor Kimberley Locke is playing at a gay bar named Roscoe's three days after your show in Chicago.

Clay Aiken: Is she? She has carved out quite the niche for herself. She has an incredible voice—no question about it.

WCT: What are you doing after the tour?

Clay Aiken: We are going to take a break. Doing a tour takes so much more than actually going out singing. It has been several months in the making so things we were planning on doing we had to put on hold for the tour. I don't have time to talk much with my manager because of the show. I am sure we will just reassess in January to see what is going on and possible, and take it from there.

WCT: I look forward to hearing "Mary Did You Know" at the show.

Clay Aiken: Oh good, and thank you!

Clay Aiken rings in the holiday hits at The Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles, on Dec. 15. Tickets may be purchased at www.clayaiken.com or www.oshows.com .

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Thanks ldyj and luckiest, haven't ever seen that show. Is that the one Celo is on. I heard his album multiple times in the last two days and Barnes and Noble. His version of MDYK is very similar to Clay's. He sounds a lot like Ruben. Also heard a lot of Rod Stewart. His voice sounds processed on his Christmas album. Not as gruff as I remembered.

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Clay Aiken's Three Favorite Christmas Carols

Clay Aiken's three favorite Christmas songs

By Piet Levy of the Journal Sentinel

Dec. 13, 2012 12:56 p.m.


Besides his appearances on "American Idol" and "Celebrity Apprentice," (on both of which he famously, and unjustly, came in second place), Clay Aiken has earned a reputation in recent years as a musical Mr. Christmas, thanks to the success of 2004 album "Merry Christmas With Love," (the fastest-selling Christmas album documented by Nielsen SoundScan), and by performing old holiday standards on several different tours across the country.

"I say sometimes to people that I was born about two decades too late for my musical style," Aiken told me in a recent phone interview. "Christmas music is timeless...and my voice fits the older-sounding, crooner-type stuff."

This year's holiday tour comes to the Northern Lights Theater at Potawatomi Bingo Casino Dec. 16 (local Claymates have already snatched up all the tickets). As he's done in the past, an orchestra of Milwaukee musicians will provide Aiken with musical backing, and a handful of real-life holiday stories will be shared, including a couple that happened to and will be read by locals.

And of course, there'll be a lot of Christmas songs. We asked Aiken to name his favorites, and while he says they typically "change from minute to minute and day to day," he said there were three he loves to perform the most.

1. "Don't Save it All for Christmas Day" - "I do it at the end of the show every night. The message is so valuable and important. We're so friendly around the holidays, we get shoes for homeless people and are nicer usually, and then January comes around and we forget about that stuff. That song is about not letting that happen."

2. "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" -- "We change some of the chords and we do a different version of it. I never loved it as a kid, but the producer that did the song for me in '06, the arrangement of it is spectacular, and I love it for that reason."

3. "The First Noel" -- "It's the first Christmas song I recorded, for the 'American Idol' Christmas album. Again, the producer did a really great job of it. Especially on this tour with the orchestra, its got this really triumphant and incredible brass choir that happens at the end. The brass section just blows the roof off. I love the sound."

Clay Aiken performs at 8 p.m. Sunday at the Northern Lights Theater, Potawatomi Bingo Casino, 1721 W. Canal St.

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Clay Aiken Talks Music, Fame, Philanthropy

By KARA SILVA - ksilva@shawmedia.com

Clay Aiken talks music, fame, philanthropy

'American Idol' finalist to perform Christmas Special at Arcada

Clay Aiken has come a long way since his days on “American Idol.” Among the more successful musicians to come out of the ‘Idol’ woodwork since his 2003 debut on the show’s second season, Aiken has experienced his fair share of bucket-list worthy moments and brushes with greatness. From singing for the president to kicking off the national anthem at the World Series, the North Carolina native said his success as a singer “was never expected."

After 10 tours, a best-selling memoir, five albums, and a stint on Broadway, Aiken has a lot to be grateful for this holiday season. Currently on tour performing his Christmas Special, Aiken is stopping by the Arcada Theatre for a show Saturday, Dec. 15. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets range in price from $39 to $95 each. To purchase tickets, visitwww.oshows.com.

Kane County Chronicle features editor Kara Silva recently got a chance to talk with Aiken, and covered a range of topics from music and his upcoming show to fame and philanthropy.

Kara Silva: For your Christmas Special, What do you have in store for the show?

Clay Aiken: It’s our fifth year doing a Christmas show. We’ve been around Chicago each time we’ve done it, I think. It always takes on a little different incarnation every year. We’ve done everything from me and a band, me and dancers, actors, snow, big sets and getting a community theater involved. But this year it’s me and a full orchestra.

So, this year it takes on the orchestral vibe, and I think that makes it feel more like the holidays. Something about a French horn to me says holidays.

KS: As far as songs go are you doing original music, covers or a melding of the two?

CA: Well, most Christmas songs are somewhat covers, and most of the holiday songs are somewhat traditional, but we do some traditional songs and some that are little more contemporary. But all of them, even the more contemporary songs are holiday songs that have been done before by somebody.

KS: Who do you enjoy listening to, to get you in the Christmas spirit?

CA: Recently, since I’ve been doing the show, I kind of listen to my Christmas album to make sure I remember all of the words. And my memory is getting bad. We haven’t done this Christmas show in five years. So, I’ve been refreshing myself.

KS: Going back a little bit here, when you did “American Idol” all those year ago, did you ever imagine that you’d be this successful.

CA: I went on “American Idol” as a dare. So, no not at all.

KS: Being in the spotlight, does that ever get old? Are you used to the fame thing?

CA: A little bit of both. I’m used to it now in the sense that this is sort of a new normal for me. It’s been 10 years and this is how my life is now, and I can’t take a day off from being myself, so I’m sort of used to it. But at the same time I think it’s like every job. You have a job, you like your job I’m sure – or at least I hope – there are still days you don’t want to go to it (laughs). You’d like to have a day off here and there.

Everybody has things about their job that they love and they hate. Sometimes the attention and the not being able to go out of the house without being stalked is not my favorite part but you know, you deal with it.

KS: I read that growing up you always loved singing and performing, but was [being a singer] a dream of yours or is it something talent just sort of led you into?

CA: As a kid, I sang because I liked it. I don’t even know if I was any good. I was encouraged to sing, and I guess I did it because I did it somewhat well and I enjoyed it.

It was the thing that I had. I couldn’t play sports and I wasn’t that smart (laughs). But it was never a dream to make it a career necessarily. It was just a hobby.

KS: You have a degree in special education, and you originally planned to teach children with autism, and then you got sort of thrown into the limelight on “American Idol,” have you been able to let go of your former life?

CA: Well, I started a foundation back in ’03 – The National Inclusion Project – that includes kids with disabilities in the program and kids without disabilities; and we’ve been pretty successful. We have after-school programs, summer camp programs, sports programs and recreational programs. That has been pretty successful for me and a great opportunity for me to meld the two.

KS: You’re an ambassador for Unicef, and you’ve traveled to places beset by political unrest. What are you trying to achieve through these initiatives?

CA: I think the only thing I can achieve is awareness. I can’t bring peace to the Middle East on my own (laughs). I sort of came to this place in my career on the backs of people who voted for me or people who supported me. And I think I have a responsibility. I’ve got a microphone in my hand to say things that are important; to talk about things that need attention, and I think there are a lot of causes that don’t get the attention that they really need or don’t have the opportunity for change because people don’t know about them.

I’m on a platform and I am at a place where people look at me and listen to me and I feel like I can talk about myself all the time or I can talk about things that are important and not all about me.

KS: What has been the greatest thing that has come out of your success as a singer in the entertainment industry?

CA: Oh, God. I don’t know. Every time I do something I feel like it’s the best thing I’ve done or the biggest thing I’ve done. Every time I have an opportunity I think, ‘oh wow, I just sang for the president – that’s pretty cool.’

Then I’ll turn around and sing at the World Series. So, every time I get an opportunity to do something, it’s something that I never would have expected to have the opportunity to do, and so it’s hard to just pick one.

KS: Who are your musical inspirations and have you had the chance to meet any of them?

CA: I’ve never had any musical inspirations. I really didn’t. For a musician, I’m not a music junkie. Music is a big part of my life, but I’ve never had a musical idol.

I was always a news junkie more than a music junkie. When I met Tom Brokaw in the elevator of the Rockefeller Center one time years ago, I about passed out. I was so excited. So, I have really strange idols and very few of them are musicians.

KS: So, what’s next for you, what do you have in the cooker?

CA: Right now, we have this tour, and that’s what we’re going to stay focused on. When we’re on the road it’s hard to focus on anything else because every day is busy and I have 1,500 things to do every day for the show, so we have to put everything else on hold and on the back burner.

KS: Do you have any dream projects or collaborations you’d like to pursue in the future?

CA: I feel like I’ve done so much. I mean I loved being on Broadway. I’d love to go back and do something where I get to sing. I love Trisha Yearwood, and I want to sing with her at some point.

There are a lot of things that I’d still love to do, but I don’t have a bucket list anymore. My bucket’s pretty full.

Copyright © 2012 Kane County Chronicle. All rights reserved.

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Sorry I have not been around for a bit..busy getting ready for Christmas and baby-sitting. I did two trees this year which is a lot for me..one small tree that has all my Wizard of Oz ornaments on it and a large tree with family ornaments. Looks really nice! Almost done shopping and baking.

Looking forward to the concert tomorrow..hope we can say hello, Ldyj and any other FCA';ers that might be there!


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At least Ticketmaster was quick to refund the ticket price and even fees from tonight's Concert That Wasn't. Let's see how long it takes the OFC to do the same...

Trying not to be too jealous of those of you who have concerts this week-end.


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I got my Ticketmaster refund today too. I've actually been checking every day since Tuesday since I really needed that money back. But, I need the money from the OFC more... don't they realize Christmas is a little over a week away and I haven't bought anything yet?? lol

I don't think I mentioned, for the past few weeks I have been re-reading the entire Harry Potter series.. a friend of mine is having a party next week and I hadn't touched them in ages, but I finished book 6 last night (in tears of course!). To truly have read them all in 3 weeks I have to finish by Monday but I know that won't happen. But, instead of getting ready to see Clay tonight (as I so wish I were still doing and push HP out of my mind for a while), I will instead be starting the 7th book and baking cookies for another friend's graduation party tomorrow. Not how I envisioned my Friday but there it is...

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What kinds of money do you get back from the OFC? I'm confuzzled.

I'm really sorry to hear about this concert being cancelled. I know so many of you were looking forward to it. I'll try to simmer my "EEEE" a bit for my concert tomorrow night. *g*

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