ldyjocelyn

# 65: "Clay Aiken's Not Just Any Joe"

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Thank you for bringing everything over! Love the pics and EEEEEE to Clack!!!! I can't wait!!

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Scarlett was given permission to take pictures. She wasn't given permission to shoot video.

CRAP. I apologize for getting people's hopes up, I was just going with what I was told. Telephone tag....

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Thanks to Scarlett, from Facebook. EEEEEEEEEE!

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Oh my.

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Good morning!

Final few images from last night, via Scarlett:

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Slurp.

I also want to apologize for getting everyone's hopes up regarding video. Miscommunication between Fear and I on that front. I feel terrible about that.

I was so looking forward to hearing Invisible as a ballad.

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Fear and ldyj, thank you for all the reports. Don't worry about miscommunication. Those of us who weren't there appreciate all you are doing. No one's perfect!

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Where is everyone? Surely not here? This morning we went across the street to Hazelnut Creperie for breakfast. So awesome. Then eventually we found our way to a Super Walmart to stock up on some stuff that we either can't get or pay too much for a home. Now we're back at the hotel, hanging around and surfing until 2 p.m. and time to check out the silent auction items. Then I think we're going to back to Vapiano's for an early dinner/late lunch.

The mood here is so conflicted. I'm sharing a room with 3 others. I still say everything's going to be ok and he's going to do Broadway, but sometimes I wonder if I'm just in denial. Oh well, if I am I am in my happy place anyways so it's all good. Even if he sings Touch this evening as his only solo song (because apparently that's all we're getting), I'm not going to read anything into it except that he's being a little shit and he enjoys winding us all up. I will, however, have to think long and hard about coming back for gala next year. It's a lot of money, travel, and vacation time for just one solo song. I hope Clay realizes that it would really alienate a lot of people in the fandom who can't or can hardly afford the "cheap" $250 ticket. Of course, this is all just hearsay and who knows, we may get 3 or 4 solo songs.

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I'm here. At RDU. Got bumped yesterday heading to Santa Fe to visit a friend. Didn't even realize it was the same weekend as the gala. If I'd known I could get a ride and a free ticket, I wouldn't have done it, but them's the breaks. I already put my friend off once - at Christmas time to see Clay instead. Ah well.

Am loving the photos and still pretty appalled at how some fans have made so much of so little. Luckiest, don't let them get to to you.

Thank you Fear and ldyj for all the reports and ldyj for the gorgeous photos!

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I'm in and out today -- Saturday is errand day! Plus I have homework to do! But there is roasted garlic bean soup waiting for me tonight -- along with more red reports!

Glad everyone there is having fun, even if the mood is just kinda weird. My thoughts: enjoy Clay. He's a keeper.

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Thanks so much for the reports and pictures! I can imagine the mood for some mood be a bit subdued this year. Hopefully everyone still has a nice time.

Busy day today. Got GD all signed up for her skating lessons this morning and we skated for about an hour and a half. So much fun! She informs me that we're going back again tomorrow...alrighty then!

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Quiet works for me with having more on my plate lately. lol I have the wedding to go this evening so I hope to come home to red reports! :)

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Ok, we are getting dressed and ready to head over. Doors open at 7:30, and we are in the balcony. It should be a party up there! I didn't win anything in the silent auction but I did bid on a few small items. Of course, I bought a raffle ticket in hopes of winning a pair of VIP passes to next year's event. There were some very, very nice items that I would have loved to own....a mosaic of BOTW from AI2, a gorgeous b&w Kevin Hees picture (autographed), a quilt, so many wonderful Clay items. Congrats to whoever went home with them!

We went back to Vapiano's for dinner, and we figure we'll head back there again for dessert or drinks after the gala (whatever seems more appropriate LOL).

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The National Inclusion Project just posted this picture on Facebook. I see Fear!

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From geekette at the CH:

Man w/guitar and a dozen kids singing "This Little Light of Mine". Now Clay, snarling on the audience's singing...

Gray suit, no tie, nice hair. He's being charming, as usual.

Snarking on himself for flubbing a line - said he was trying to act like he wasn't reading, but oops. Now pics from the start through all the galas (so we could see how skinny he was ;-).

Jerry Aiken - good speaker. But he's not Clay. National Inclusion Project 4* charity rating, and has raised almost $10 million - hope to go over tonight.

Presentation of the $50k+ check to Clay and Diane.

Honorees next.

Tim's Place - his restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and hugs. What a cutie

Keala Settle (sp?). Singing Hero Lies in You?

Clay joins with I Wanna Know What Love Is

There have been many videos by the memory Lane committee. Good job.

Founder's award - Cindy (I didn't catch the last name).

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More from geekette:

Cute story about Mona Hood, who took over for Clay with Mike Bubel. She's been with the family for 11 years now, and integral to Diane's ability to do what she does for NIP.

Dwayne Ballen: sportscaster, blogger, writer, and rather of an autistic child. Julian's world, I think is his blog and book. Interesting guy, I'll have to check him out

Habitat international. Can't compress. Another interesting group.

Team Long Brothers. Young kid who does triathlons while towing/pushing his little brother (CP).

Kids from the beginning, Foundation for Respect Ability - anti bullying. Much needed!

Now the raffle... Costco. I didn't win (surprise!). Celebrity Apprentice photo (clay said "which we've erased Aubry O'Day from - ha!). Then the gala tix.

Jukebox - Keala is doing her best Vanna White. Clay's attempting to be an auctioneer. LOL. $12k

Dutch auction - 200 kids to camp! Woo hoo!

Final song, new to me. You are the song? Lyrics included "you are the breath in me, you are the melody"

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This looks to be the song he finished with:

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Or maybe not. geekette isn't sure, but she's in a noisy, crowded bar too.

Who knows??!?!?!!?!?

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Our balcony seats were good, on the right side of the stage, second row, but there was a speaker hanging down from the ceiling that obstructed my view of the screen. They showed the fans giving their "happy birthday" messages to the NIP prior to 8 p.m., and our group was briefly shown (we taped it at Drowsy Chaperone). I really enjoyed the duet with Kaela, it was a lot of fun. The honourees were great and inspiring as usual. Prior to the auction of the jukebox, Clay was chewing gum. LOL. He was well spoken and funny and charming, as always. After the auction, Clay killed some time talking and thanking people while they were tallying up how many kids we sent to camp. It started sounding like he was wrapping things up, but I tried to believe he was still going to sing for us. He made some reference to career path earlier and then something about changing paths and then he was telling us he had one song to sing for us before the end, and it went dark with just a spotlight on him. I remember words like "you are the song, and I just sing along" or something like that, and then one line about "you are beautiful, even in the silence" that made me kind of realize that maybe this could be goodbye. And then he backed out of the spotlight and disappeared while some people applauded and others were sitting in shock or crying. There were different reactions. I was kind of in between shock and applause I think. We all left and wandered away and found different bars. I had a drink. I never drink. Maybe I"ll feel better about it in the morning but this wasn't the gala I was hoping it would be. It started out great. It didn't finish great. I don't know what the song means. I'm not saying it means he's quitting entertainment. But it felt like a goodbye to something to me.

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My impression after reading around is that the folks who went into the Gala with the impression that he is leaving took the last song as a good-bye because they were already in that mindset and yet there were also people posting who I really thought would be upset and were not. It really is a mixed bag but it seems like a lot just thought it was a thank you song and nothing more. What is the saying "negativity breeds negativity" I think that is what is happening in the fandom and unfortunately Clay gets the blame when I think there is more than enough to go around.

For me..he hasn't said good-bye to me yet..I was not at the Gala so the only tangible thing I have in regards to what is going on is his blog and to me that was not good-bye. So until he comes out and definitively says "I am not going to be singing or performing anymore and will be doing X, Y or Z" I am going to stay in the wait and see car.

Kim

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{{{{{{{luckiest1}}}}}}}}}

aikim, I basically agree with you, although luckiest throws a bit of a wrench into your thoughts. Since I wasn't there, I'm not going to add to the speculation. There's really no need to, as there seems to be enough other places to go around!

Some red recaps:

I was at the gala tonight. I had a great time. I did not see it as a goodbye.

Interesting....I was at the Gala and in my mind, Clay's last song was a beautiful good-bye to his fans. Add that to the comment about changing careers and it makes perfect sense to me.

By far, the program this evening was amazing. Each honoree was special in so many ways and the Gala was all about them (as it should be)

There were lots of tears because of the touching presentations from all the speakers. Each one showed what inclusion is about. It was also wonderful that so much money was raised by the National Inclusion Project.

I was there. I am now in my room. Some observations:

Jerome flew down the steps and shut someone down near the front rows during Clay and Keala singing. Camera? Video? I don't know, but Jerome stopped it.

Keala looked very pretty in a vivid, short, red dress. She was excellent at playing the part of game show model. Clay made a big point to announce that she has been offered 3 Broadway roles. He called her one of his newest great friends. They were really great together and I loved their song.

Brett helped bring out the Juke Box. It started at $5,000. I believe it sold for $12,000 to a man (couple?). Two hundred kids were sent to camp, with a few people sending 20 children @ $5,000 each.

The honorees were great, but this part of the gala seemed longer to me. I think Clay didn't sing more because he sang last night, and because the gala was about 2 1/2 hours, with him emceeing.

I've only been to three galas, but this one felt different somehow. The venue was lovely and rather intimate. It didn't seem as if there were as many elements of fun. I guess part of it was not enough of Clay singing.

The one thing that Clay said that really caught my attention was, "Career change." I'm 98 % sure he used these words. That scared me. During the last song, I was so busy watching for people I might recognize on the slide show that I wasn't as focused on the song. I did not recognize the song, which didn't help. It was very dark on the stage and he simply slipped away as he finished singing.

I'm not sure where the nostalgia for the last 10 years ends and the worry about the new career change begins. That mix may be a big part about why people do not know what to think!

Back to the room from the gala - nice evening - so many touching stories tonight. No angst here, no fire, except on the top floors in the hotel this morning.

The one emotion I got from the evening is that Clay is thanful for the support he has had by the gala attendees, the staff and volunteers. he seemed deeply touched by the honorees , even had a moment with one of the Logan Brothers. The whole thing was a very positive experience for me. The people in the cheap seats with me seemed to applaud very much, I guess we see things differently up in the nosebleeds.

here I'll get down a red report before I forget anything. I didn't take notes this time, so the order of things is anybody's guess. I did not get a transcript, this is just a recollection of the ideas of what they said.

When Clay first did his hosting at the podium, he was moving along in his speech so well, you could not tell if he was reading, it sounded like he had it memorized, but then at one point he stopped and admitted it was on the screen and made the next line sound like too many big words for him -- said something like ' yeah that sounds like me' making fun of having a prepared speech, but really he was very good at his speeches tonight.

Clay was at the podium telling how the foundation started and how Diane was instrumental -- he said he had asked her what to do about having the funds but no foundation -- she had told him to just do it! She came out in from the side to take a bow but that apparently was not planned, there was no spotlight for her. Clay was a bit snarky like she was trying to get more limelight, he hadn't expected her to come out, it wasn't in the script (reminds me of the Tonight show interview when he snarked on other guest Howie Mandel stealing his limelight).

to be continued...

more remembered bits from gala presentation...

When they were announcing the first of the founders awards, it seemed like this was scripted. It was heartfelt and sounded like they were really trying to surprise the winner by starting to reveal her contributions bit by bit, starting with general things that might have applied to several nominees. I wish I could have been close enough to see his eyes to see if he was enjoying this delay in knowing who was chosen. I had binoculars, but darn I never took them out. The winner came up and gave a very big hug to Diane and then one to Clay. She ended her acceptance by thanking her alpha beta chapter (is that right?) for helping her she said she did not do these things alone. I don't know her but I could see Diane was very happy.

Then it seemed like he was going off script to tell a story about going off to Idol. He had auditioned here in Charlotte only a few blocks away from where we were (or maybe that is where he waited in line) and of course "got cut" and went to Atlanta the next week to try again because he was stubborn as we all know. He had met Quiana Parlar here in Charlotte. But when he was going to go to idol he told Diane he was going off to Hollywood to be a big star or something like that. Diane interrupted and said he had actually said "I am important now". He admits this. Anyway, he had been helping Mike Bubel and had been telling Diane now he couldn't continue to work with him since he was going off to Idol. He said at this time he was working for Autism Aid--- (OK, Autisim something, can't recall full name of Autism program)--- some times he went to the Bubels but sometimes he went for in for trainings. Things like CPR -- he said please nobody choke now (like he didn't pay much attention to some of the trainings, I gather LOL). Anyways, at one of the trainings he met this woman who was just getting into helping autistic kids. And he had suggested to Diane for her to ask if she (Dawn) could be the one to replace him with helping Mike. OK I wish I can recall the exact wording of this next part, but can't == but he said he recognized such high intelligence (it sounded he was talking about Dawn's intelligence) but then added "in me" -- that he was soooo smart for finding Dawn, since she has been so wonderful for Mike and Diane. It was very funny, he was snarking on being haughty, he's so smart (yeah, smart ass).

They then gave her the founders award and this must have been a big secret and surprise. Diane said Dawn was going to be so mad… She did come up and accept and thanked her family. She didn't punch Clay (ha, she could have).

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