Saturday, February 21, 2009

Clay Aiken - Free at Last

From a People Magazine Exclusive:

Clay Aiken Leaves Record Label

By David Caplan

The rumors started when his likeness was removed from his record's Web site and now Clay Aiken is setting the record straight: the former American Idol has parted ways with RCA Records, Aiken's rep has confirmed exclusively to PEOPLE.

"We were unable to come to terms in a recent contract negotiation, and decided that it was best to move on," the rep, Cindi Berger, said Friday.

Although the gossip community is trying to spin this as "RCA dumps Clay Aiken", I think it is just another step in a master plan that Clay put in place quite some time back. I think he has been working towards this goal for some time.

Think back to before "A Thousand Different Ways" came out. Clay and his Executive Producer (and future mother of his son Parker) had put together an album of originals. Just what would be expected in his case. But, no, RCA turned down the album and told him to do a cover album of love songs. Since he was under contract what else could he do? Then, at the AI5 finale, he pulls a switcheroo on AI and we have the watercooler moment - here's the video:

This was shock and awe at it's best - but did RCA capitalize on it? Did they release a single right then and there and promote the heck out of it? Nope, they let it all die on the vine, released the wrong single, one that the original version was still playing ad nauseum on AC stations, and then sent him out on interviews designed to discuss his sexuality and not the album.

I think Clay decided at that point to get on with his life.....on his terms.

Thus we got Spamalot. Spam, Lovely Spam.

What a surprise. Broadway embraced him. Broadway supported him. Broadway PROMOTED him. Who Knew?

Then we learn Clay and his Executive Producer, Jaymes Foster are having a child. We learn it the bad way, the wrong way, from TMZ and the fandom spent some time wondering and worrying about that situation. This was a little blip in Clay's master plan, I am sure. I hates TMZ. AHA, in a People Magazine exclusive, Clay comes out as a Gay man. Some of us were not so surprised, some were totally blindsided and have since embraced who Clay is - oh, and a few have fallen away because they couldn't deal with the gay. Their loss.

In the midst of all this, "On My Way Here" is released. Surprise, no wonderful press releases from RCA, no single released ahead of the album, no video. Nothing. I think Team Clay was not terribly surprised, I think they knew it was the last album with RCA, but it's a terrible shame that wonderful album did not get heard. Thank you, Clay, for dedicating it to the fans.

Now, finally, he is free. All over the Clay Nation fans are rejoicing. The song of the day seems to be "Fantasy".

As you glide in your stride
With the wind as you fly away
Give a smile from your lips and say
Are you free yes I'm free
And I'm on my way

Here's a video of his performance of this song on the AI stage.

I am excitedly anticipating the opening of the next door in Clay's career. I think he has walked through fire and come out the other side, his own man. Although the music business and the nasty gossipy blogger types have treated him shabbily, he has earned the respect of many important and powerful people in the entertainment business and I think he will have the last laugh.

Clay's Fan Club
Clay Aiken News Network - A great new fan site - Don't miss it!!

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Clay Aiken Blog

A wonderful new Blog has been started and I wanted to put it up here with links. You don't want to miss it! Lots of pictures and articles from a group of enthusiastic Clay fans.

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Friday, January 09, 2009


Clay Aiken and Spamalot

Who knew, at the beginning of 2008 that I would make three trips to NYC in the coming year, a place I hated visiting when I worked in NJ and had to go into the city on business. I mean, "who knew". ™ King Arthur.

So, in I go on the first trip. Part of the fun of Spamalot is getting the peasant seat. Not to spoil it, but it's the place to be. They rotate between seats A101, B101, C101 and D101. We didn't know the significance of this at first and sure enough I'm off to NY with an A101 and a B101 ticket in my pocket. Alas, I was not to be the peasant, but they're darn good seats.

I also had a seat in the first row of the mezzanine and I would have to say, that's the best place to see the show and see all the action.

One wonders, I suppose, why a person would see the same show multiple times, but Spamalot is a show that seems to always have something new, be it the Knights of Ni coming up with a new and unrepeatable name - or Rick Holmes with his outrageous French accent coming up with a new taunt - "I throw my shoes at you".

Oh, and then there's that Clay Aiken guy playing brave Sir Robin who sings and dances and soils his pants regularly, thereby negating the "brave" part of the description of his role. Clay did a wonderful job and was accepted on Broadway without all the crap he seems to find in the music business. I think he'll be back someday in a meatier role, hopefully with more real singing. But, Spamalot was funny, engaging, and a great first start. I came to love several of the other actors, namely David Hibbard who plays Patsy, King Arthur's sidekick; Rick Holmes who plays a myriad of roles, including Sir Lancelot, the French Taunter and Tim the Enchanter; Tom Deckman who is hysterical as "Not Dead Fred", Prince Herbert, the Historian and the minstrel who torments Sir Robin in the "Brave Sir Robin" number.

The trip in May was to see what we thought was the last show Clay would be in. Hundreds of Clay Aiken fans filled the theatre, along with Python fans and others. The place rocked, it was clear the cast loved Clay and, well, love was everywhere that night. There were so many people at the stage door Clay came out on the roof to wave goodbye to us all.

Then, all heck broke loose.....the album, "On My Way Here" dropped, Parker was born, Clay decided to tell the public he was gay and all of a sudden he was back in Spamalot in September, his run to continue until January 4th. So, another "finale" to attend, LOL. One's head spins considering all that Clay has had on his plate this year. But, boy, all the stage door pictures and video show a man who is happy, who is glowing and I think is back on track carrer wise as well as in his personal life. There are even rumors he has a very attractive, talented guy in his life and I hope it is true. No more "A Lover all Alone".

It was funny coming back to the show with a new King, Michael Siberry and a new Lady of the Lake, Merle Dandridge.

I think if I could see only one more show I would prefer to see Jonathan Hadary and Hannah Waddingham - maybe just because I saw them first and the roles "fixed" that way in my mind, but at any rate the new players did a good job. Michael played the role in a more comic manner, whereas Jonathan did it kind of dead pan with other players bouncing off him. Hannah, on the other hand, was just much better in the role. I missed her.

Sardi's, the famous Broadway restaurant acknowledged Clay's debut on Broadway by adding his caricature to their walls. As the newest portrait, it hangs on the wall just as you enter the restaurant, but will be rotated, as all the pictures are.

Now, this is a poster!!!!! If every floor on that building is 10 ft, it boggles the mind the length of this one !!!!!

Alas, all good things come to an end. Clay's last night was January 4th. The cast played a lot of jokes on Clay and/or the audience and it was side splitting funny - much funnier to those of us who had been often enough to know where the little extra's were thrown in. For example, when Clay does the yodel, Lance and Galahad usually pull him back in line....this time they left him out there and he had to move back by himself. Or, in the Killer rabbit scene when the knight is be-headed by the bunny...this time he gets up, headless, and takes a bow. Funny stuff.

The show closes January 11th, although the touring company will continue. Richard Chamberlain will join the cast in the King Arthur part and Merle Dandridge will continue as the Lady of the Lake.

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