ldyjocelyn

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

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NBC tweet

Quote:

@nbc: Detectives, don't miss @ClayAiken, @Ashanti and @TaylorHicks guest star on tonight’s all new @nbcsvu. http://t.co/5XihftYq3dZ

SVU Writers Room tweet

Quote:

@SVUWritersRoom: For those of you wondering, @ashanti, @clayaiken and @taylorhicks got along great. #AmericanDiva #SVU http://t.co/d5QUiq43Qk

Quote:

@SVUWritersRoom: An #AmericanDiva, and the fellas agree #SVU http://t.co/h4DzKlJ88g

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I just got home a few minutes ago, and just flipped on the DVR to start SVU from the beginning. As I expected, he was on in the first 5 minutes -- and he was freakin' adorable! I loved his "crossed arms" look at the beginning, and then -- he and Ashanti looked like they were having a blast, groovin'! Very cool!

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Backstage pictures being tweeted, from SVU Writers Room:

For those of you wondering, @ashanti, @clayaiken and @taylorhicks got along great. #AmericanDiva #SVU pic.twitter.com/d5QUiq43Qk

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It was a worthwhile watch - the rest of the show I mean. Glad I didn't turn it off after Clay's part.

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The Clay parts are vaulted already. If you want to rewatch the entire episode, it's on NBC's website here: http://www.nbc.com/law-and-order-special-victims-unit/video/dissonant-voices/n42619/

Sorry Canadian friends. I wish I knew why they did that....

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He was a cutie!

I finished ny Xmas shopping. Yay. Love the internet because I don't have to hit the mall once!

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nationalinclusionproject.org

Champions Gala 2013

Our 10th Anniversary Gala Champions Gala, found us in Charlotte, North Carolina, bringing us back to where our co-founders Clay Aiken and Diane Bubel started the organization. Charlotte is North Carolina’s largest city and offered attendees to the Gala a number of wonderful sites to see and places to go.

Many attendees arrived on Thursday night before the Gala and had fun sitting in the lobby watching friends and acquaintances arrive. People fly from all over the United States and Canada to attend this event each year. One person even flew in from Japan and another from New Zealand! Each person who arrived was greeted with hugs and cheers.

Friday night the Project hosted the VIP reception for Gold and Platinum ticket holders. The event started at 7:00pm, but people filled the hall early in hopes of finding a seat close to the stage. Diane Bubel along with the staff came out to the hall and approached each group of attendees to chat and thank them for their support. Held in one of the Marriott’s Ballrooms, the event featured drinks and lovely desserts – including a birthday cake for the Project!

Executive Director Jerry Aiken opened the evening by welcoming all in attendance, updating everyone on the Project andPDI-1017.jpg letting them know what was ahead for the evening. At each person’s place at their table were a couple of wonderful items – a 10th Anniversary lapel pin, post cards featuring some of the art drawn by campers over the summer and a scroll. Each scroll was a copy of a letter from a camper writing about their great summer camp experiences. While people got their bid numbers and enjoyed the desserts, individual pictures of all in attendance were taken with Clay and Diane.

Pictures were followed by a question and answer session with the co-founders. Comments about Project programs such as Wrapping for Inclusion, volunteering at Let’s All Play camps and attendees’ personal experiences with inclusion were shared. Next up was the live auction where Clay chose long-time fan and supporter Ethel to join him on stage to help with the PDI-1042-300x200.jpgbidding. A Balloon Ride with Clay and his mother Faye Parker for 4 went for $14,000 and a dinner for 15 with Clay went for $55,000! Thank you to everyone that participated in the auction!

The very talented pianist Ben Cohn joined Clay on stage as the entertainment portion of the evening began. Together they had decided to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Clay’s first album Measure of a Man and performed 5 songs from the album. They concluded with a ballad version of Clay’s biggest hit “Invisible.” It was a perfect way to end the evening.

On Saturday the 12th, the Silent Auction was held in the Marriott’s ballroom. A number ofPDI-1074-300x200.jpgwonderful items from trips to jewelry to drawings, photos and more were available to the highest bidders. In addition to the items waiting for bids, raffle tickets were available for 3 big items: a large framed and signed Celebrity Apprentice photo, a $500 Costco gift certificate and 2 VIP tickets for the 2014 Gala. Alongside the raffle were two displays from the Gala’s Memory Lane committee. One featured a display of the art from the summer camps. Sticking to the Gala theme of “The Power of Inclusion” and how “art can draw us together” the children were asked to draw what inclusion meant to them. They all did a fantastic job. The second display was the Anniversary Wishes tree. People had submitted in advance their memories of the Project along with their Happy 10thAnniversary wishes which were placed on the display as leaves. By the end it was a very full tree of well wishes and good thoughts to be shared with the staff and Board of the Project.

The actual Gala was held Saturday evening at the McGlohon Theater; a beautiful old church that had been converted to a theater. Playing for the attendees as they entered was a

put together by members of the Memory Lane Committee that featured supporters, camps and kids wishing the Project a very Happy 10th Anniversary.

PDI-1181-300x199.jpgThe program kicked off with the young people from the Foundation for Respect Ability, an organization that seeks to convert “bystanders” into “upstanders” and offers anti-bullying programs and services to the community. The children performing were an inclusive group of Upstanders from Lake Wylie Elementary School in Charlotte, NC. Each one seemed to be having a great time, each in their own way. All in attendance happily joined in their song “This Little Light of Mine.”

Next up was the evening’s host Clay Aiken. He welcomed everyone to the event and thanked everyone for their 10 years of support. He also announced that October 12, 2013 was declared by our Secretary of State, Elaine Marshall, to be National Inclusion Project Day in North Carolina. Click here to read the whole Proclamation.

Diane, Clay, and Jerry each spoke on stage with dedication to the purpose and goals of The National Inclusion Project. Each one adds so much to the organizations and their love and respect for each other shines brightly.

The highlight of the evening was the honorees and Champions of Inclusion. First to be honored was

. resizePDI-1223-300x200.jpgTim was born with Down Syndrome and has always exceeded expectations. His father Keith’s vision has always been to be successful and to make a difference in society by helping persons with career barriers become economically self-sufficient. When Tim began to show interest in owning his own restaurant someday, Keith knew their next steps. In October of 2010, they celebrated the grand opening of Tim’s Place – a restaurant in Albuquerque that is open for breakfast and lunch, seven days a week. Tim offers free hugs on his menu and is very excited about fulfilling his dreams to own a restaurant. Tim keeps track of all the hugs he gives and was able to add over 300 hugs while in Charlotte! He also let us know that he has a very special someone in his life and plans on asking her to marry him next Spring! He asked that we keep our fingers crossed that she says “Yes!”

The second honoree was Habitat International, Inc. Habitat is a leading supplier of artificial-grass and indoor-outdoor carpet products for The Home Depot, Lowe’s and other retailers. They are dedicated to providing jobs for hard to place workers. Founded by David Morris and his father Saul in 1981, the Chattanooga, Tennessee company has become a role model for other businesses, disability advocates and the general public. Seventy-five percent of Habitat’s workers have a physical or mental disability, or both. Habitat’s “able” workers often out-produce the competition 2-1. Habitat’s slogan, “A Company of Positive Distractions” and its philosophy of love, kindness and compassion honor the special diversity of the people who work here. At Habitat, it’s the people that matter most.

resizePDI-1297-150x150.jpgThe third honoree was

– two brothers who share a love for each other and for racing and showing the world a little bit about what inclusion is all about. Eight-year-old Cayden is unable to walk or talk on his own, but his ten-year-old brother Conner had an idea that would allow them to participate in sports together. A year and a half ago, they began competing in triathlons together. Conner swims while pulling Cayden in a raft, bikes with his little brother towed behind him in a trailer, and pushes that trailer when they run. Seeing the brothers working together has inspired onlookers, while bringing Conner and Cayden closer than ever. Their amazing determination and spirit is inspiring and could be felt throughout the theater.

The evening’s Keynote speaker was Dwayne Ballen – a blogger, author and father of a son with Autism. The audience was blown away by his honest portrayal of his relationship with his son Julian and the struggles Dwayne faced within himself when Julian was diagnosed with autism. His sharing of the family’s experiences during their journey with autism was both enlightening and uplifting.

Also included in the evening were some other special guests, special videos and special presentations. The Memory Lane committee put together 3 videos to share for the evening. One highlighted the

from the day Clay and Diane decided to give it a go, up to today. Another highlighted the importance of the
that the Project works with; the camps, Boys & Girls clubs and more. How Let’s All Play has made a difference in the life of all the children it has brought together. The final video was all about the
– why they volunteer, what have they brought to the Project and the joy that it brings them.

The Volunteer video brought us to the presentation of the 2013 Founder’s Award which each yearPDI-1275-150x150.jpghonors a very special volunteer. This year it was given to two individuals. The first was a very deserving volunteer and supporter Cindy Skuce. Cindy has worked tiredlessly for many years to run events and promote the Project and inclusion in her home state of Rhode Island. A second Founder’s Award was given to Mona Hood – Mike Bubel’s caregiver for many years. The kind words and love in the presentations from Clay and Diane were so touching. You can tell that both winners mean so much to the Project family.

The evening’s entertainment was quite special as well. Tony nominated performer Keala Settle sang a wonderful solo number and then brought Clay on the stage for a duet of “I Want to Know What Love Is”. Another special performance of “Don’t Laugh At Me” from the kids from the Foundation for Respect Ability had everyone in the audience on their feet. Clay then brought the actual Jukebox from his 2005 Jukebox Tour on the stage to auction it off to the highest bidder. It went for an impressive $12,000. The highlight of the evening is always the Send a Kid to Camp Reverse Auction. To send a single child to camp is $250. Starting with 20 and going down to 1; those in the Theater generously raised their bidding numbers and ended up sending 240 kids to camp! Thanks again to all who bid!

PDI-1348-150x150.jpgThe evening ended with a heartfelt thank you from Clay for all the support that he organization has received over the last 10 years. He followed it with a final song “You Are The Song”. As he sang, on the screen above him were photos of fans and volunteers from over the 10 years. It was a wonderful was to end a fantastic night and weekend.

Overall, the weekend of events raised over $400,000 for the National Inclusion Project. Thank you to all who were involved in making this Champions Gala one of the most special. (Including those that sent in recaps for to use above!)

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Wow....I am so glad that the Gala was so successful on this 10th anniversary. So many children have been helped by the foundation and I hope it keeps growing stronger in the years to come. I really enjoyed SVU last night. I thought they integrated the storyline and the singing contest so well at the beginning. Watching Clay "bopping" along to the music made me smile. Then again, he always makes me smile, so nothing new there. :cocktail:

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It's been a busy few days for me -- one where everything in my workplace seems to be going RIGHT for a change! Anyway...more on that later. Also, more on my thoughts on the Gala and Clay and SVU later...but I just found this article on Clay's good friend and thought I would share.

Ousted "Biggest Loser" Contestant Ruben Studdard has Lost 104 Pounds

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Glad to hear Ruben kept it up once he got home. I was so sad that he got booted this week.

I felt better that I could fill in that gala survey about my experience this year. I hope if enough people take the time to do that, perhaps they will adjust the format next year back to what it used to be.

For the skating fans here, NBC will have a couple of hours of coverage on Sunday of the NHK Trophy in Japan featuring Daisuke Takahashi. From what I read this morning, he is back on form and killing it. :)

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We got a couple of hours of the China Cup last Sunday. I'll look for the NHK Trophy this week.

I have a couple of hundred bulbs to plant this year. I keep finding them on sale at Costco and found another bucket full after we removed a tree this week. It better warm up soon or they won't get planted.

I answered the survey but there wasn't much that I complained about. I did suggest that a band on the stage always made it very festive. My group was pretty happy after the Gala. I don't think any of them felt short changed and they all had $250. seats. I felt a little worried after someone pulled me aside to say what they had heard. Fortunately my group was very upbeat and cheered me up. The next morning talking to Faye and Diane helped a whole lot. I think there was a bunch of folks upset about the blog and that hampered their experience.

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That AI clip is pretty darn cool! Clay came home...and the heavens opened and gave him some credit!

Actually, it's pretty amazing to watch how many people they've "started."

I also watched another clip from last night regarding AI -- an almost 5 minute piece previewing the upcoming season. I gotta say, the chemistry between Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. was hysterical (good eye candy as well). Keith actually speaks! JLo was having fun too, and didn't act at all like a diva. It may be hard to not watch this year.

I'm still basking in the glow of Clay on my teevee the other night. He looks like he had a blast on that show!

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Clay Aiken photobombed! I am shocked......mr low key went in front of a camera willingly! Something's afoot.

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Hahaha that was cute! He's too funny!

So how's everyone? :) My new job has made me a very tired person! I get up at 330am for a 5am shift, I'm off by late morning and love that part of it but man has it screwed up my body clock, which still isn't used to the new hours! I think I slept 10 hours last night and today's my day off...

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That is a tough schedule shortyjill. Congratulations on sticking with it.

Very cute video. Clay seems so much more comfortable in his skin lately.

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Hello?

Love that Clay videobomb! He's so funny and charming. Gotta love him!

shortyjill, I hope you enjoyed your day off today -- by sleeping! I can do early work stuff, but I can also see where it would throw by body clock off! Anyway...have fun with the job!

Hubby and I went to see Straight No Chaser again last night. They are so much fun, and such a talented acapella group. Stayed afterwards to meet the guys and get autographs, so I didn't get home until after midnight...only to turn around and be up to get to church by 7 a.m., as my handbell choir played this morning. I am now officially tired!

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Take it easy guys. Hope couchie is doing well with her packing.

My one and only granddaughter turned 11 today. Of course we were not invited, but my son came by to pick up the gifts I bought for her. I went crazy in the Discovery store when we were in Charlotte with all the scientific games, books and toys.

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not really packing yet, just trying to get rid of things that we don't want to take. Didn't get too much done with my mom gone. I wanted to do more but I got a good start. We got the official notice in the mail and we have to move by January 10th. It will be interesting. Have no idea yet where I'm going.

Hope everyone had a good weekend. Finally watched the SUV tape. Was he anything more than the beginning? I thought it was just the opening bit so deleted after watching it then thought ..uh maybe I deleted too soon.

I'm on the fence about watching AI this season. I'm not a fan of JLO on this show. And the guys don't entice me so much that it makes me want to watch. I got sick of Keith calling women baby last year. I get my music fix on The Voice although I surprisingly miss Usher this season. He turned out to be my favorite judge ever on any sort of reality show and I've never really been a fan.

I'm off Friday so looking forward to a three day weekend and my vacation next month that I am determined to take despite all this moving stuff.

Fear, I'm probably not remembering some things youv'e said but why were you not invited. Birthdays are big deals!

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Couchie, our DIL has not allowed us to spend time with GD or even invited us to their home for the last seven years. Grandparents have no rights in NC. We've reached out only to get our hands slapped. Sad story. Probably part of the reason Mr Fear and I enjoy working with kids in elementary school. Despite this life is good and we are enjoying our new home and neighbors.

Good luck in finding a new home couchie.

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