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ldyjocelyn

January through March 2016

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cinemablend.com

Clay Aiken's Hilariously Blunt Response To American Idol's Final Season Premiere

Earlier tonight, American Idol kicked off Season 15, its final set of episodes, and while some may have thought the show would pull out all the stops to bring last season’s dismal ratings back up to past highs, it was just your average batch of auditions. Or rather a below-average batch, if Clay Aiken has anything to say about it, and he definitely did, taking to Twitter to share his excellent opinions with the world. Here’s one.

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Pardon me while I make explosion sounds while waving my arms around. There are undoubtedly people out there who still truly enjoy American Idol and think that Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. are delightful and worthy of sitting behind the judge’s table for many more years. But everyone else is rather tired of them carefully choosing their words to appear as amiable as possible while protecting their own personalities. Simon Cowell’s entire persona could be summed up as one big rose thorn, so he never had to worry about doing anything but entertaining viewers through brutal honesty. And love him or hate him, it’s undeniable that he engaged people.

Aiken, whose time on Celebrity Apprentice proved him to be quite the outspoken gent, didn’t take just one shot at the program that launched him to stardom.

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The audition episodes of American Idol used to be the most popular of the bunch, and were worthy of handfuls of viral videos in the early years. But tonight’s set of tryouts was laughable as far as exciting moments went (with the exception of Jeneve Rose Mitchell and her cello), and it was all capped off with one of the lamest Kanye West TV bits since he interrupted Taylor Swift.

And to think, Aiken was actually optimistic when he first tuned in.

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Were you guys on the same page as Aiken, or are you still digging the singing competition as much as ever? Let us know, and don’t forget to tune into Fox tomorrow night for the second half of the two-night premiere.

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hollywoodlife.com

Clay Aiken Slams ‘American Idol’ Premiere: ‘I’ve Watched Root Canals More Entertaining’

Clay Aiken Slams ‘American Idol’ Premiere: ‘I’ve Watched Root Canals More Entertaining’

Wed, January 6, 2016 10:11pm EST by Christopher Rogers

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Getty/Image Courtesy of Fox

Tell us how you really feel, Clay Aiken! The former ‘American Idol’ contestant ripped the show a new butthole when he brutally dissed the reality series in a number of tweets during the premiere on Jan. 6. To see what Clay had to say, keep reading!

Clay Aiken may have been included in the audition rounds on the Jan. 6 premiere of American Idol, but after his brutal Twitter attack on the show, we can almost guarantee he won’t be asked to appear on the finale later this season. The Season 2 runner-up went HAM on Idol in a series of tweets, claiming he’s “watched root canals more entertaining.”

Clay actually live-tweeted the premiere, and that’s when he conducted his brutal attack on the show. First, he said he was “watching American Idol for the first time in a decade.” Then, he held nothing back when going after the ratings, as well as judges Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban. See his tweet below.

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What do YOU think, HollywoodLifers? Do you agree with Clay Aiken? Is Simon Cowell the reason the show was a success?

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www.ew.com

Clay Aiken slams American Idol judges: 'I've watched root canals more entertaining'

Clay Aiken slams American Idol judges: 'I've watched root canals more entertaining'

BY EMILY BLAKE

Posted January 6 2016 — 10:05 PM EST

American Idol is ending, and Clay Aiken thinks he knows why.

The season 2 runner-up tuned in Wednesday night for the show’s last season premiere — his first time watching the reality competition “in a decade,” he says — and about 20 minutes in, he already had a theory on why Fox pulled the plug.

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The judges he’s referring to — the ones allegedly more boring than a notoriously painful endodontic procedure — are Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban. Simon Cowell was still on the panel when Aiken competed (and ultimately lost to Ruben Studdard) back in 2003, as were Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. Cowell, known for his unapologetically harsh and often hilarious insults, left the show in 2010, not even a year after Paula Abdul announced her exit. Jackson followed suit in 2014.

Fox announced in May that season 15 will be Idol’s last, with CEO Gary Newman calling it “not an easy decision.”

“American Idol has been such a vital part of Fox for its run, and we spent a lot of time talking with producers about the future of American Idol and collectively we arrived at the conclusion that it was time to bring the show to an end,” Newman said at the time. “But we wanted to do it in a way that felt special and celebratory and treated the show the way it deserved to be treated.”

Only one question remains: Just how many root canals has Aiken watched?

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vanityfair.com

Clay Aiken Goes After American Idol Judges, Says Root Canals Are “More Entertaining”

Clay Aiken Goes After American Idol Judges, Says Root Canals Are “More Entertaining”

JANUARY 7, 2016 9:37 AM

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by Jeffrey A. Camarati/Getty Images

BY JOSH DUBOFF

The last season of American Idol is underway, which means there are going to be a whole bunch of retrospectives and think pieces and the like about the end of this once mighty pop-cultural institution over the next few months. Fox is no doubt hoping that others exhibit the same thinking as former Idol runner-up (who has since entered the world of politics) Clay Aiken, who tweeted that he was watching the show Wednesday night “for the first time in a decade,” reflecting, “You never know what you’ve got til it’s gone.”

But Fox was presumably not thrilled with . . . uh, everything he tweeted thereafter about the show. Aiken’s criticism mostly seemed centered on the current panel of judges, which is comprised ofJennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr., and Keith Urban.

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Eventually, Aiken said he was switching the channel to ABC to watchBlack-ish. About an hour later, presumably in response to feedback from his followers, Aiken offered up the following explanation for his stance.

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Of course, this sort of thing can sometimes have the effect of just increasing the amount of attention paid to a given show or phenomenon. (“Martha, did you hear that Clay character said the new judges on that singing show we used to watch are horrendous now???” “No, Harold, but maybe we should ask Kyle if he can set it up on that DWR thing for us so we can see for ourselves!”).

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latimes.com

"American Idol" Recap: Is Clay Aiken Right About the Judges?

'American Idol' recap: Is Clay Aiken right about the judges?

By Amy Reiter

Clay Aiken had a point. The former “American Idol” contestant (second place, Season 2) and onetime congressional nominee (Democrat, North Carolina) caused a bit of a foofaraw this week when he tweeted his dissatisfaction with the show’s current panel of judges.

“Well ... now I know why the ratings are down,” Aiken wrote in response to the show’s final season premiere on Wednesday, calling Keith Urban,Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. “boring” and chiding them for failing to react more emphatically to an untalented aspiring contestant.

“It's VERY clear now that @SimonCowell was the reason @AmericanIdolwas a hit,” Aiken opined in a series of tweets. “I've watched root canals more entertaining than these judges.”

Although I cannot, in all honesty, say I miss Cowell’s brand of self-satisfied nasty, Aiken’s irritation with “Idol’s” current judging panel is not unjustified. On Thursday night’s episode, the judges consistently spoke over or physically interrupted the auditions of some of the season’s more promising contestants, preventing the us from being able to hear and respond to them ourselves. Lopez’s steady flow of commentary prompted one talented performer to express concern that he had completely flubbed his audition. But Connick is clearly the worst offender, employing the broadest array of disruptive tools: leaving in the middle of one audition (“Keep singing,” he told the confused contestant) and in the beginning of another, only to reappear behind the singer and frighten him with a bear hug at a key lyrical moment.

What’s more, in one instance, Connick expressed a willingness to put through to Hollywood a contestant who was a complete train wreck: She insulted Urban, repeatedly forgot her lyrics and came across as woefully adrift. Thank goodness for Urban, who seemed as aghast as the rest of us at Connick’s shockingly low standards. “You so don’t seem ready for this at all,” Urban told the contestant, Californian Sarah Hayes, 26, of Middletown. “Emotionally, physically, mentally, everything was just unstable.”

So much for all that talk about setting a higher bar than ever for the show’s farewell season.

I've snipped the actual review of the contestants in the episode.

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yahoo.com

Clay Aiken Scolds "Idol" Hopeful

Clay Aiken Scolds 'Idol' Hopeful

Jeremy Belanger

January 21, 2016

On Wednesday’s American Idol, Clay Aiken returned to the show that made him famous to help audition potential contestants. And the saying goes, “No good deed goes unpunished.” A man wearing an ill-fitting wig and dress began his audition by shrieking and wildly gyrating in some sort of a dance. After tossing his wig and doing several cartwheels, he finished his performance and stared fiercely at Clay. An unimpressed Clay ask him, “What makes you think that’s American Idol material?” The contestant was shocked that Clay was not impressed. Clay even said his performance was “pretty damn bad.” He went on to scold the man for insulting American Idol by auditioning with such a poorly thought out piece. “This is a show that I like. This is a show that put me where I am today. This show gave me every opportunity in the world.” Clay dismissed the hopeful, who remarked, “You just don’t know real talent, honey.”

Clay retorted, “Honey, trust me.”

American Idol airs Wednesdays and Thursday at 8 pm on FOX.

http://fox61.com/2016/01/20/idol-auditionee-thinks-hes-got-the-moves-like-jagger-clay-aiken-doesnt-agree/#ooid=NtZTBjMDE6SeKzFuzYzyyfQsYd36d1B4

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realscreen.com

Extra: WorkShop links with B.Bold, PBS gets MacArthur funds

The Clay part:

WorkShop, B.Bold open JV production unit

Philadelphia-based indie The WorkShop has launched a joint venture production unit with New York firm B.Bold Content Studios to co-develop multi-platform unscripted content for both the U.S. and international markets ahead of this week’s Realscreen Summit in Washington DC.

The currently unnamed outfit will be headed by Benjamin Ringe, who previously worked alongside WorkShop CEO and executive producer Tom Farrell at Banyan Productions. Most recently, Ringe served as senior VP of development and executive producer at NBC’s Peacock Productions, where he was charged with generating and developing multi-platform, factual content for NBCUniversal’s properties and outside clients.

In other WorkShop news, the company has teamed with former American Idol contestants Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard to produce the travelogue series Unexpected America. The program will shadow the two musicians as they journey to popular tourist attractions across America. The duo will travel without the use of a map or GPS – unless they’re hopelessly lost – and instead rely on the kindness of strangers to lead them to unexpected destinations.

Finally, production is slated to begin on February 1 for the original series Alaskan Healing. Developed and produced by The WorkShop, the action adventure competition series will showcase American veterans as they overcome obstacles and push themselves to their limits. The series - which is exec produced by Farrell, combat veteran Flip and Mike Klein – will also offer inspirational tales of war and survival through first-hand accounts.

ETA: a little birdie came by CV to say that this is not a done deal.

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ontopmag.com

Tyler Oakley Voted Most Eligible Bachelor; Adam Lambert, Clay Aiken in Top 5

Out readers have voted YouTuber Tyler Oakley the magazine's Most Eligible Bachelor of 2016.

“Our annual Most Eligible Bachelor competition saw a particularly exciting year,” Out editors wrote in announcing the results. “In under one hour, Tyler Oakley rose nearly 20% in votes, beating last year's winner, Adam Lambert, by about 5% and finishing the competition in the number one spot at 26.4%. Congrats, Tyler!”

Rounding out the top 5 were singer Adam Lambert (2), singer-politician Clay Aiken (3), figure skater Johnny Weir (4) and model Nyle DiMarco (5).

The annual survey asked readers to consider from “100 of the most dateable gay guys on the planet,” including singer Steve Grand (6) and actor Jonathan Groff (12). Men with a broad range of backgrounds, from fashion icons to politicians, were nominated.

Oakley is currently competing on CBS' The Amazing Race.

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huffingtonpost.com

Why in the Hell is Clay Aiken on CNN?

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Why in the Hell Is Clay Aiken on CNN?

 03/08/2016 11:20 am ET | Updated 9 minutes ago

Clay Aiken Democratic candidate for U.S. Representative of North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District

Just when you think this political season can't be any more ridiculous, you turn on the TV and who is sitting on the panel to weigh in on the politics and political climate of the country?

The gay guy from American Idol.

A 74-year-old socialist is running for president, Donald Trump is talking about setting up a registry of Muslims in the U.S., and Clay Aiken is talking about politics on cable news.

Surely these are end times.

I know that seeing reality stars in the political arena must be jarring. But then again, maybe not. Donald Trump is, if nothing else, a reality star -- one whose growing influence over millions of voters is a bit terrifying. I know and like Trump as a person but let me be clear: I would never vote for him.

No matter -- I still respect where he's coming from. That's because Trump and I have more in common than our time on reality shows. We've both run for office as outsiders appealing to the increasingly vocal voters who are fed up with Washington and the politicians who seem like they no longer represent ordinary people.

During my 2014 campaign for the U.S. House seat in my North Carolina home district, I spent my time trying to convince remarkably Republican voters to vote for me despite my decidedly progressive views. In a district like mine, a Democrat must win over conservatives to even have a prayer. In fact, if every Democrat in North Carolina's 2nd District had voted for me, I still would have needed some Republicans to cross over and give me a chance.

And that meant rubbing shoulders with plenty of Tea Party voters. So there I was, gay as Christmas, campaigning at a pig pickin' where the raffle giveaway was a semiautomatic rifle and the local state senator insisted on calling our president by his full name, Barack Hussein Obama (jingoistic emphasis on the "Hussein").

Throughout the campaign, though, I came to discover that many voters on the right and left in my district (and I daresay the country), despite having very different political beliefs, shared one thing in common -- their disdain for politicians.

To be clear, I also don't want my Tea Party friends from North Carolina to keep winning elections and voting people into office. But I appreciate their involvement in the process. I appreciate that they have joined the conversation as outsiders, as voices that don't necessarily represent the norm or the expected or the typical. I certainly don't agree with them, but I think their participation should be respected.

Which brings us to 2016. What we're seeing on the national stage is basically what I experienced in my little corner of North Carolina but writ large.

Primary voters are saying loudly and clearly that they are fed up with a system that rewards those who play the political game at the expense of their constituents. On the left, we're seeing that in the surprisingly resilient campaign of Bernie Sanders, who, despite being written off as dead by the mainstream media, keeps winning more states. On the right, we're seeing it in Donald Trump's seemingly unstoppable march to the Republican nomination.

And while Trump is legitimately terrifying, I would argue that the rise of outside politicians like Trump and Sanders may ultimately be a good thing for our country.

Maybe these aren't end times after all. Maybe it's a beginning.

Maybe it's the beginning of the movement that Bernie Sanders talks about -- where power starts being taken away from the Washington politicians and put back into the hands of the people. Maybe it's the beginning of a shift in politics where those running for office are more willing to speak unscripted and unapologetically, like Trump does, because they aren't worried about the money they need to raise from lobbyists.

Maybe it's just the beginning of a real and serious national conversation about this important issue. If that's all it turns out to be, it's still an important step ... and the conversation will have gotten started by two very unexpected voices.

This is a real and important conversation, and one I've tried to be a part of for the last two years. So if you see me on CNN, rest assured I'm not there to sing. I'm there to use my unexpected voice in a different way, to speak for the outsiders. There are more of us every day.

 

 

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politico.com

Clay Aiken: My mom's voting for Trump even though he fired me on 'Apprentice'
 

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Clay Aiken: My mom's voting for Trump even though he fired me on 'Apprentice'

By NICK GASS

03/08/16 02:45 PM EST

Donald Trump may have fired her son four years ago on "The Celebrity Apprentice," but Clay Aiken says his mom is all in for the former reality star.

During a discussion on CNN Tuesday afternoon, the "American Idol" runner-up, who also finished second on Trump's show and lost to Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) in the 2014 midterms, said his mom had settled on supporting Trump despite some misgivings.

"I mean, my mother — votes Republican typically, she’s not necessarily thrilled with Donald Trump as a candidate because he fired me on Apprentice," he said. "She watched the debates, the most recent debate, and decided, and a number of people in North Carolina who I’ve spoken to have decided to vote for Trump because the establishment is attacking him and they’re tired of typical politicians."

Aiken placed second to Arsenio Hall in the 2012 edition of Trump's NBC program, nine years after coming up short against Ruben Studdard on "American Idol."

"A lot of the people who are supporting Trump are supporting him because he’s not a typical — he’s not a typical politician," Aiken said during a discussion of American Future Fund Political Action's latest ad hitting the Republican front-runner on his vulgar language.

Those kinds of attacks "have backfired as well," Aiken said.

 

 

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newsobserver.com

Another Piece of Clay: Aiken Turns CNN Pundit

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Another piece of Clay: Aiken turns CNN pundit

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Clay Aiken, the former “American Idol” star, Congressional candidate and documentary-series figure, is back in a spotlight of sorts as a political pundit on CNN.

With a couple of recent appearances on the cable network under his belt, Raleigh native Aiken, 37, explained himself Tuesday in a Huffington Post piece entitled “Why in the Hell Is Clay Aiken on CNN?”

“I know that seeing reality stars in the political arena must be jarring,” Aiken wrote. “But then again, maybe not. Donald Trump is, if nothing else, a reality star – one whose growing influence over millions of voters is a bit terrifying. I know and like Trump as a person but let me be clear: I would never vote for him.”

Making sure he’s got his social-media bases covered, Aiken also tweeted: “Advocate for equal opportunity for EVERYONE, moderate/progressive, father, and Southerner... and, yeah, I sing some too! -America's #1 Number Two-North Carolina & New York City.”

Aiken was a “Idol” runner-up in 2003, won a Democratic primary but failed to outpoll U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers in 2014, then starred in “The Runner-Up,” a documentary about the race. Referring to himself as “the gay guy from ‘American Idol,’” Aiken said in the Huffington Post piece that he’s back in the media-politics game to represent outsiders like himself.

“This is a real and important conversation, and one I've tried to be a part of for the last two years,” Aiken wrote. “So if you see me on CNN, rest assured I'm not there to sing. I'm there to use my unexpected voice in a different way, to speak for the outsiders.”

 


 

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thehill.com

Clay Aiken: I Think Trump's a Democrat

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March 10, 2016, 04:03 pm

Clay Aiken: I think Trump's a Democrat

By Mark Hensch

Singer Clay Aiken says he believes GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump is a Democrat.

“I don’t think he’s a fascist,” Aiken told host Stuart Varney on Fox Business Network’s “Varney & Co." "I don’t think he’s a racist. I think he’s a Democrat.”

Aiken, who placed second on Trump's "The Celebrity Apprentice" reality TV show in 2012, said his uncertainty about what Trump would do as commander in chief worried him.

“I think that’s what’s most concerning to me,” he continued. "I believe he’s this way and he speaks another way.

“That’s what worries me about him becoming president,” he added. "I don’t know what he’ll be as president, you don’t know what he’ll be as president, I’m not sure that he knows what he’ll be as president.

“That’s far more frightening to me than someone I might disagree with completely. I think the concern for me more is I don’t know where he falls.”

Aiken, a former Democratic House candidate, said he sees little in Trump that resembles his own political party.

“I am a Democrat and I certainly don’t agree with anything he’s saying right now, nor do I agree with anyone else on that side of the aisle who’s running for president,” said Aiken.

He added that he bears Trump no ill will, even after the billionaire “fired” him on his show in 2012.

“I like him as a person. I always say he’s kind of like that uncle that gets drunk at the wedding and embarrasses you. You love him, but you wish he’d shut up.”

Aiken admitted on Tuesday that his mother is voting for Trump.

Aiken failed to unseat Rep. Renee Elmers (R-N.C.) in 2014 during a heated House race that drew national attention.

 

 

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huffingtonpost.com

Ready for Hillary. Voting for Bernie.

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Ready for Hillary. Voting for Bernie.

 03/14/2016 10:32 am ET | Updated 11 minutes ago

Clay Aiken Democratic candidate for U.S. Representative of North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District

The North Carolina primaries have always been an overlooked and inconsequential event. Held in May of every election year for as long as I can remember, the votes rarely make a difference in the process of choosing a presidential candidate for either party. That's why, this year, the powers that be in NC made the decision to push the voting date by almost two months, to March 15th -- all the better to get in on some of the nominating action and help influence a decision.

It hasn't worked.

On the GOP side, there's still no presumptive nominee, and all indications are that there won't be one until the convention in June.

On the Democrat side, it seems more and more obvious that Secretary Clinton is on track to claim a nomination that many deemed inevitable as long as two years ago. The math doesn't look good for Sen. Bernie Sanders, and in all likelihood North Carolina's earlier primary won't do anything to upend the equation. Yet, he soldiers on. Sen. Sanders has stood firm in the face of what has seemed like certain defeat many times before -- from protesting for civil rights to the filibustering Bush tax cut extension -- because he recognizes that sometimes the first step toward making a difference is making a point.

That's one of the many reasons I'll cast my vote in the North Carolina primary for Bernie Sanders.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm ready for Hillary. I like Secretary Clinton. I anticipate her selection the Democrat nominee, she will be a formidable candidate in the general election, and I believe she'll make a very effective president. I think she's more qualified than anyone who has run for president in decades, and I agree with her on most issues. I just wish she could embrace some more of the progressive ideals that Sen. Sanders talks so enthusiastically about. She needs to be better. She needs to learn from the Bern!

Bernie Sanders draws tens of thousands of supporters to his rallies because he excites voters. He speaks to their hopes and dreams, while Hillary speaks to their heads. Let's be frank, as much as I would love to believe that the next president could make public colleges and universities tuition-free for students, we all know that's very unlikely to happen with a Republican House and a closely divided Senate. Voters know and understand that too. We've watched absolutely nothing get done for years now. We aren't naïve. But by talking about it, Bernie Sanders not only engages voters who desperately need to believe that progress is possible, he shows us all where his heart is. Sure, he may not succeed at getting these things passed, but I know that those lofty goals are his "North Star" and that shows me that he's headed in a direction I believe we need to follow.

Meanwhile, Secretary Clinton has hewed to telling us all what is possible and what's realistic. She is already acting as if she has the job. But she is forgetting that to actually win the position, it takes more than feasibility. It takes inspiration.

I appreciate Sec. Clinton's discipline. But man does it bore me to tears in a campaign. If pragmatism excited people, there would be a line wrapped around the block at every cardiologist's office in the country. And when Secretary Clinton tells us what's sensible and what the baby steps are, not only does it not stir me, it makes me worried that she's not even going to reach for the brass rings when they are in sight.

Secretary Clinton, please don't just tell us what you think; tell us what you dream! Learn from the Bern.

Bernie Sanders is also the answer to many a prayer from voters of all political persuasions this year in that he is sort of the "anti-politician". Sure, Donald Trump is also an anti-politician in this year's presidential race, but Bernie Sanders is the qualified and intelligent anti-politician.

When I ran for Congress in 2014, we framed part of our campaign around the incredible disdain that voters have for typical politicians. But I am the first to admit any everyman quality I may have brought pales in comparison to Bernie's candor and accessibility. He is perhaps the most real and relatable candidate since the first Clinton. And unlike Bill, Bernie doesn't play political games.

Secretary Clinton attacked Bernie as not being present and supportive during the Civil RIghts movement of the 1960s and 70s. Never mind the photographic evidence of him being arrested in Chicago while protesting in support of equal rights. She has also accused him of wanting to take away everyone's Obamacare -- a scare tactic that, while technically accurate, conveniently leaves out the part about Sanders' intention to replace Obamacare with free universal healthcare instead. Secretary Clinton was even quoted by the New York Times last week as saying, "I don't know where he was when I was trying to get health care in '93 and '94." Of course, now the internet has blown up with memes of Sanders standing next to her while she spoke on the topic and images of her handwritten note thanking him for his "commitment to real health care access for all." Oops!

Of course, these are typical political tactics that politicians have used for decades, and in any other election season they probably wouldn't matter. But this year they do. This is the year of the non-politician. And when Secretary Clinton and her team try to shame Bernie by using textbook political maneuvers, it's as if they are trying to fight a fire by smothering it in matchsticks. Bernie Sanders is supported and loved by millions precisely because he doesn't use tactics like those. Secretary Clinton could learn from Bernie here.

Sure, Bernie is unpolished. He is your grumpy old uncle who isn't worried that his hair is messy or that he's not wearing the right clothes. He's doesn't use a focus group to decide on the color of his ties. His speeches are written down on crumpled notebook paper which he keeps in his pocket or a binder. He barely uses the notes anyway. He just says what he thinks without poll-testing every sentence. That's a large part of why national polls show that he is considered more trustworthy than almost every other candidate. Because Bernie's not questioning everything he says himself, I don't question him either.

I don't believe that Hillary Clinton is dishonest. I don't think she lies. Actually, I think she's pretty damn good at not lying. That can that be worse sometimes. She's trying her best to combat this perception that she's dishonest and inauthentic -- and I actually feel sorry for her for having to do so -- but, boy, it's an uphill battle for her to change that perception. She can do it! I believe in her. I sat in awe of her testimony in front of the Benghazi Committee, and the nation did too. No talking points. No notes. Just direct answers. In fact, most of her best moments have been the unscripted ones.

Her series of ads that candidly show her answering questions in town halls was inspired. (I cheered out loud when I heard her answer the little girl who asked her if President Hillary Clinton would get paid as much as the male presidents did!) In televised town halls, her most powerful answers always seem to be to the questions she didn't expect, the ones she wasn't as prepared for. Why is that? It's because Hillary Clinton is the smartest, most capable, most knowledgable, most experienced person in nearly every room she's in. When she shoots from the hip, Bernie-style, she soars!

Secretary Clinton, learn from the Bern. Please, please ditch the TelePrompTer!

I want the nominee of the Democratic Party to be the strongest candidate come November. For me, this election is very much about the balance of the Supreme Court, so I'll happily be voting for the candidate who supports equal rights, who supports women's choice, who supports voting rights, and who will appoint justices who will overturn Citizen's United and get corruptive money out of politics. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both fit that bill. And they both have many other positives:

Hillary Clinton would be the most prepared and capable commander in chief that this country has seen in my lifetime.

Bernie Sanders is not a typical politician. He's authentic, and he speaks from the heart. He inspires people and I think he'd be a formidable and victorious candidate in the general election for those reasons, and a great president too.

But, if NC's votes (and the votes to come) don't make that possible, I hope Hillary watches him and picks up some of his great qualities, too.

Sometimes the first step toward making a difference is making a point.

So I'm ready for Hillary, but I'm voting for Bernie.

 

 

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thehill.com

Clay Aiken: I'm Voting for Sanders

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aikenclay_110313getty.jpg?itok=JkugNLns

March 14, 2016, 04:09 pm

Clay Aiken: I'm voting for Sanders

By Jesse Byrnes

Clay Aiken is pushing for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to stay in the Democratic presidential race, arguing his presence could help force Hillary Clinton to gin up enthusiasm and emerge as a stronger general election candidate.

The former North Carolina congressional candidate said Monday that despite Clinton being "on track to claim" the nomination, "I'll cast my vote in the North Carolina primary for Bernie Sanders."

"I'm ready for Hillary," the television personality wrote in an article for The Huffington Post, arguing the former secretary of State would represent a strong general election candidate.

"I just wish she could embrace some more of the progressive ideals that Sen. Sanders talks so enthusiastically about. She needs to be better. She needs to learn from the Bern!" he added.

He also suggested that Clinton "tell us what you dream!" and "ditch the TelePrompTer!" Aiken is weighing in on the eve of voting in a handful of states, including North Carolina, on Tuesday.

"The reason I'm endorsing Bernie Sanders is not because I'm against Hillary Clinton," Aiken said on CNN. "The benefit to having a primary, in some ways, is to strengthen the candidate."

"I think it's important to continue having a primary on the Democratic side to strengthen either candidate who becomes the nominee," he added, noting that the Republican nominee would be "battle-tested."

Beyond his standing in the Democratic race, Aiken said Sanders "has won the message primary" and pushed Clinton on many issues important to liberals. 

 

 

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ew.com

Clay Aiken calls out Trump supporters who claim to own his albums: 'You're not fooling anyone'

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Clay Aiken calls out Trump supporters who claim to own his albums: 'You're not fooling anyone'

BY DANA ROSE FALCONE • @DANAROSEFALCONE

gettyimages-499219378.jpg?itok=qEqnmdLe

(Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Hollywood Christmas Parade)

Posted March 15 2016 — 4:05 PM EDT

American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken knows exactly which demographics make up his fan base, and he has no shame in calling out pretend Claymates. Following numerous TV appearances to discuss his left-leaning politics, Aiken tweeted Tuesday at Donald Trump supporters who’ve claimed to denounce the “Invisible” singer due to his Democratic loyalties.

“Laughing at #Trump folks who r ‘throwing out’ my albums bc I dont support him,” Aiken wrote. “If ur a str8 dude over 30, ur not fooling any1. U never had 1.”

But there is one Trump supporter who likely considers herself a fan of the 2003 Idol runner-up: Aiken’s mom.

“My mother votes Republican typically,  [but] she’s not necessarily thrilled with Donald Trump as a candidate because he fired me onApprentice,” Aiken told CNN Monday. “She watched the debates, the most recent debate, and decided, and a number of people in North Carolina who I’ve spoken to have decided to vote for Trump because the establishment is attacking him, and they’re tired of typical politicians.”

In a Huffington Post article, Aiken wrote he’s “ready for Hilary Clinton” but wishes she’d “learn from the Bern” when it comes to embracing progressive ideals. “That’s one of the many reasons I’ll cast my vote in the North Carolina primary for Bernie Sanders,” he states.

Aiken had a short-lived political career of his own since appearing onAmerican Idol, with a 2014 run for Congress in his home state of North Carolina. Though he came in second to Republican representative Renee Ellmers, Aiken continues to advocate for equality and voice his political opinions, joining CNN for Super Tuesday coverage earlier in the month.

 

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variety.com

PopPolitics: Clay Aiken on What He Learned About ‘Delusional’ Donald Trump (Listen)

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PopPolitics: Clay Aiken on What He Learned About ‘Delusional’ Donald Trump (Listen)

Ted Johnson

Senior Editor

clay-aiken-donald-trump.jpg?w=670&h=377&

MARCH 20, 2016 | 01:31PM PT

Clay Aiken, the singer and 2014 congressional candidate, says that he’s taking back some of the nice comments he made about Donald Trump in the wake of the GOP frontrunner’s response to violence at his campaign rallies.

“You can’t tell me that you are going to be the person who’s toughest with Vladimir Putin if you don’t even have the balls to tell your people not to hit folks,” Aiken, who appeared on “Celebrity Apprentice” with Trump, told Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM. “And I don’t have any respect for that.”

In interviews last fall, Aiken said that Trump was a “good guy,” based on the experience he had with him on “Apprentice” and how he treated those who appeared on the show. But Aiken is now upset over what he sees as Trump’s rhetoric at his campaign rallies, as well as his recent denials that he ever said he would pay legal fees of a supporter who sucker punched a protester at a campaign event in North Carolina. Trump has said that he would do so or, when it came to an incident at a North Carolina rally, that he was thinking of doing so.

“Forget unpresidential, it’s delusional,” Aiken said.

But Aiken says that one aspect of Trump often lost in the coverage is that he “does not want to be disliked. That is hard to believe when you hear what he is saying, but he does not want to be disliked. And if he ends up as a candidate in the general election, he is going to moderate like nobody’s business, because he does not want to be disliked.”

Aiken also says that while he has had a lot of respect for Trump’s children Ivanka, Don and Eric, he is “kind of pissed” at them for not standing up to their father.

Listen below:

Aiken says that when it comes to Trump’s victory speeches, “You could just replace him with Kris Jenner and he could be saying the same thing.”

Listen below:

 

Aiken has endorsed Bernie Sanders, but he does think that Hillary Clinton has improved as a candidate. One thing she should shed, he says, is the use of a teleprompter, as other candidates speak off the cuff. “And the thing that upsets me is she is the smartest person in the room,” he says.

Listen below:

 

Listen to the interview here.

 

 

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American Idol: Ruben Studdard recalls the first time he met Clay Aiken

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American Idol: Ruben Studdard recalls the first time he met Clay Aiken

'Who in the hell is this dude by himself with all these girls?!'

BY MARC SNETIKER • @MARCSNETIKER

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(Chris Polk/FilmMagic)

Posted March 28 2016 — 1:00 PM EDT

On their own, the individual names of American Idol winners can elicit a perfectly visceral reaction from the fans who voted them into fame, but the explosion of nostalgia grows tenfold when a winner is mentioned in conjunction with the runner-up they bested — and none more so than Ruben and Clay.

Ruben Studdard may have emerged the victor from the second season of Idol, but his neck-and-neck race with eventual runner-up Clay Aiken came to define the 2003 season. In fact, it’s arguably the most potent pairing in 15 years of the show (which signs off for the last time on April 7).

Studdard recently spoke with EW as part of our mega-sized Idolretrospective — see also Paula Abdul’s fan-fic horror stories or Ryan Seacrest’s genesis of those awful commercial breaks — and the 37-year-old shared the legitimately hilarious origin story of his relationship with Aiken, back before either of them truly recognized the three-legged-race they were about to run with each other.

“I met him in our Hollywood audition,” Studdard tells EW. “One of my fraternity brothers had made it to Hollywood, too, so I was excited we would be able to hang out like we did in college. And he got cut the first day. So now my whole plan is shattered. So I go to the bar, like, man, I need to go get me a beer and just chill out. And I see this little skinny white dude at the table with six of the most beautiful women I have ever seen in my life. So I’m like, ‘Who in the hell is this dude by himself with all these girls?!’ And so I went over and introduced myself, like, ‘Yo, what’s up, man, you need some help at the table?’ And he’s like, ‘Hi, I’m Clay Aiken.’ ”

Studdard laughs, and continues: “We’ve been really cool ever since.”

Having only bested Aiken by about 134,000 votes (a paltry half-percent of the 24 million votes cast in the 2003 finale), Studdard goes on to describe life in the Idol fast lane as so overwhelming, it didn’t even matter who won. Probably.

“When I think of the finale, I think that both Clay and I were so tired that we really didn’t care who won,” he admits. “I’m sure [the show’s winners today] are tired now, but their workload is totally shrunk compared to the work we did. We used to have to do five commercials and four singles and do the show and record albums and do photo shoots for magazines every week. It was a non-stop schedule.”

 

 

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huffingtonpost.com

Trump, You're Fired.

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Trump, You’re Fired.

 03/30/2016 11:00 am ET | Updated 1 hour ago

by Clay Aiken Democratic candidate for U.S. Representative of North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District

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BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES

Dear Mr. Trump, 

Maybe it takes one to know one. Maybe the fact that I have lost three times on a national scale has given me a special insight. But I can assure you, I know one when I see one, and you, Donald Trump, are a loser.

I took the liberty of looking up the word “delusion” for you since your advisors clearly haven’t. According to the dictionary, delusion is “a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary.” Frankly, I can’t think of a better word to describe your campaign.
You can’t win. The majority doesn’t like you.

That being said, I’m going to do something that you have absolutely no capacity to do. I’m going to apologize. Not to you. I’m apologizing to anyone who may have heard me over the past few months imply that you are an inherently good person. You are not. You are an awful, egomaniacal, attention-seeking fool.

I wish I could remember the gracious person I met while doing Celebrity Apprentice.

Unfortunately, the blabber and idiocy that has dribbled from your mouth over the last eight months has completely wiped any positive memory away. Most unfortunately, perhaps, is that it has been wiped away for many millions who at one point may have had some degree of respect for you. You are now virtually impossible to listen to without screaming at the television.

Admittedly, it took me a while to come to my senses. You of all people can certainly understand how difficult it is to see another point of view. The truth is, I didn’t want to accept the arguments that you were a danger to this country. I did not want to believe that you were the hate spewing, violence-inciting demagogue that so many have seen you as from the moment you announced your candidacy. I wanted to believe that, deep down, you were a good person who was just incredibly caught up in the adoration of a very vocal group of supporters. I wanted to believe that you were saying the things you were saying, not because you believed them — not because you truly thought Mexicans were ruining this country or that we should ban Muslims from the United States — but because you were so hungry for attention and power that you would say whatever was necessary in order to get people to cheer for you. And while that in and of itself is a pretty disgusting and narcissistic trait, I hoped it was all for show and not representative of your core values.

I was wrong. 

I hate saying that, but at least I can say it.

Campaigning is very difficult. One of the interesting things that I discovered during my campaign two years ago is that often times it’s very easy for a candidate to live in a “bubble”. When you’re surrounded by staff who are optimistic, and you’re always speaking to excited audiences, it’s very easy to miscalculate the level of support that you have amongst the general population. I will be the first to admit that my run for Congress was an incredible long shot. It was not a race that I necessarily expected to win and I certainly lost by a large margin. But even though it was a long shot there were many moments when I would speak to a Republican voter who would tell me how much they liked me and how much they were looking forward to voting for me instead of the Republican. In moments like those it’s very difficult not to get enthusiastic and believe that you can win. What I failed to recognize was that for every voter who came up to me and told me they were going to vote for me there were 10 other Republicans who are absolutely not supporting me. 

It’s that damn bubble. 

Donald, rest assured, your bubble is about to burst. For every voter who comes to you and enthusiastically cheers on your campaign, there are hundreds that find you revolting. And according to your 68 percent unfavorable rating, the people hate you. They really, really hate you. 

If you think you are still in control of this campaign, you are delusional. Uh-oh, there’s that magic word again. 

People should not be injured physically when attending one of your rallies. Taking that thought one step further, you should not be condoning brutality at your rallies! The fact that you encourage supporters to punch protesters in the face and then insist you never have — despite video evidence to contrary — is completely ... well... you know the word. 

If you are scared of Megyn Kelly, how the hell are you going to take on our enemies. Tweet them into submission? That’s not how the real world works.

The only one committing atrocities against your First Amendment rights is you — inciting violence, offering to pay legal fees for anyone arrested for cruelty in your name, harboring woman abusers like your campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, priding yourself in endorsements, some of which come from hate groups like the KKK and bigots like Jerry Falwell Jr.

All is lost. 

Your supporters turned to you because they are against establishment politicians who are “on the take” and so easily bought and sold. They want change. What they fail to recognize is that you are one of the ones doing the buying and selling! 

I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that you believe you answer questions intelligently or the fact you can lie so easily to voters. I have watched all the debates and town halls and it baffles me that you can rattle off untruths with such ease. You look into that camera and tell Americans that the unemployment rate is in the 40th percentile without even the slightest bit of evidence. (Sort of ironic coming from a guy with name recognition linked to the phrase, “you’re fired” and a clothing line that’s manufactured overseas.) The latest statistics show that America’s unemployment rate is 4.9 percent. This isn’t a guess. This is a fact. Remember those?

What does it matter, though? You’ll say something entirely different tomorrow anyway. You change your positions more often than the canisters in your spray tan gun. However, unlike most of your platform, you can’t walk back the hateful things you’ve said to offend vast swaths of the American public — women, African-Americans, gays and lesbians, Latinos, Muslims, pretty much anyone with any common sense. The damage has already been done. Congratulations. You once had a vast and respected empire, and the name “Trump” was once synonymous with luxury and quality. Now it’s just synonymous with bullshit. This is the vile legacy you leave your grandchildren.

And it’s only a matter of time before the American people see to it. “You’re fired.”

 

 

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