Left: Clay Aiken's first audition; Clay after the first makeover.
Apparently, this past Monday, January 28, 2013, marked the 10th anniversary of the broadcast of Clay Aiken's audition for the second season of American Idol. I do remember the audition, which made me sit up and take notice of that voice. You see, I was on board with Idol from the first season, when I loved Kelly Clarkson, and enjoyed Jim Verraros. This was back in the days when Idol was trying to find their feet, having been so awfully lucky with the first season, and a winner like Kelly, with a true abundance of talent. She had success with "A Moment Like This", her coronation song, and followed it up with "Miss Independent", a song co-written by a favorite of mine, Matt Morris. But we were still a year away from her great triumph, on the release of her second album, and "Since U Been Gone", off the great album "Breakaway". So hopes were high for the second season, with pressure to follow up the success of the first. When this geeky kid from Raleigh, North Carolina, made his way in the room, the show was ready to mock him, you could see it in Simon's eye. But then he sang. Watch as his voice changes minds.
It is very easy to say "the rest is history", but that would be putting a pretty bow on things. Aiken's star would shine all season long, never hitting the bottom three all season long. And while the fans might have been battling, between Clay and Ruben Studdard, both men stayed above the fighting to be friends. Ruben was named the winner, and Clay was in second place. But Clay's first album, 'Measure of a Man' was verified double Platinum, selling just shy of 3 million. When he toured, tickets were hard to come by, and he was a name on Broadway that was selling tickets. He has raised money and awareness for several charities, guest starred on shows like 'America's Next Top Model' to 'Scrubs' to '30 Rock'. He was also the runner up when he appeared on 'The Apprentice', just behind Arsenio Hall. Along the way, he also had a baby with a good friend, which Clay raises. He took time from his busy schedule to post a clip on YouTube to make the occasion.