Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Unchained Melody

I am in love with this song and there are so many excellent videos of Clay's performances that it's hard to choose the best one. I saw this one at The ClayBlog and her description of that performance is well worth checking out. I'll quote a small portion:

I spoke with the videographer, jojoct, about this recording because when I listened in headphones, it truly sounded like Clay was singing directly into my ear. She told me that there was a center speaker right in front of her (which they moved slightly because it blocked her view). This speaker seemed like a center channel on a surround system - it seemed to be mostly the vocals, without the reverberation of the bass. So listening with headphones, this recording comes as close to having Clay sing directly into your ear as any that I've heard.

This is what it's all about. That incredible voice and that incredible man.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Out of Sight!

Clay Rocks! He's out of sight! Well not really. Even when Clay is out of sight he's not really gone.

Clay does a lot of humanitarian and charity work between tours and recording sessions. In mid March 2005 he went on his first mission for Unicef. A tsunami had devastated the coastal regions around the Indian Ocean and Clay was asked to go to one of the hardest hit areas, Banda Aceh, Indonesia, to witness the dispersement of aid that was sent to the area and to determine the effectiveness of the relief programs in the aftermath. Unicef sent cameras to record the trip, as they do with all celebrities, and captured some sweet moments of Clay doing what he does so well, relating to kids in need.

Before he returned home, he made a stop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to give a short speech at the Forces of Nature Benefit Concert to thank the people for their donations and thank the relief workers for their time and sacrifices to help the people of Indonesia. The best part? I know this may sound crazy but he didn't go there to push a new song or to be the fanciest looking pop star in the room. He went as a humble guy to say thank you.

What a riot he is! He arrives at the concert all decked out in his Superstar duds to a red carpet crowd who knew he must be somebody important but he looked like the janitor. That's our Clay. Ever the diva, lol.

He added his hand print to the commemorative banner.

But one of the coolest things about that appearance was that he gave the speech in English and then surprised the crowd by saying it again in Bahasa. The crowd was thrilled!

He was also invited to the Royal Palace to have tea with the King and Queen. I love that he wore the traditional Malaysian men's suit. The green matches his eyes....sigh.

Of course Bai Ling had to wrap herself around him. Hee!

Gotta love the guy. I sure do!

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

American Idol Winners

Congratulations to Taylor Hicks, America's Newest Idol...... but who could have predicted that Clay Aiken's new haircut would win American Idol 2006?

If you pay any attention to the entertainment news and the bloggers, you'll know that this is true. Q104 in Atlanta declared it first and they were only the first. Best Week Ever had a poll asking who won AI this year, Taylor Hicks or Clay's hair, Clay won in a landslide. Oh and I hear that Prince was there too.

Michael Sandecki won a silly award for the best attempt at impersonating a Star during his AI audition this year. One guy tried to do Cher, another attempted Michael Jackson and Sandecki went for the geeky Clay Aiken effect. They don't call them bad auditions for nothing. He was on the Today Show this morning, riding his 15 minutes that began when Clay graciously encouraged him to keep singing. He was surprised by Clay joining him onstage for what Michael expected to be his solo rendition of Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me. His shocked and thrilled reaction when he saw that Clay had walked out to join him onstage and started to sing was TV gold. It continues to be the talk around the watercoolers of America. Blogs exploded with the topic. Look at this technorati result for yesterday.

If you missed the show you can see it at Youtube or click on the player below.

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Sailing Takes me Away

There is a rumor going around that Clay will be covering some songs from the 80s and 90s along with the originals on his upcoming new CD. One of my favorite songs on the Jukebox Tour last summer was a hit from the 80s by Christopher Cross. I would love a studio version of this song. Clay sounds so amazing when he sings it live in concert, I can hardly imagine what a professionally produced version would sound like, but I'd be happy as heck to find out.

If we consider that covering a song from another artist is a tribute. then Clay pays Christopher Cross quite the compliment by choosing this song. I'll include a player of both Mr. Cross's version and of Clay's. You decide if Clay does it justice.

That, of course, was Clay. Now let's listen to Mr. Cross.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Celebrate Me Home

Clay sang this song as the closing number for the first act of his Christmas play during the Joyful Noise 2005 Tour. I don't think I have ever heard a sweeter song than this. I found out later that it was written by Kenny Loggins whose music I had not heard before and I came to appreciate what a gifted writer he is. While Clay was on the tour, his house was in the final stages of being built in his home town of Raleigh, North Carolina and I think about how happy he must have been to look forward to moving home. He sings the song with such sweet longing that it makes me want to cry every time I hear it. I can imagine the long bus rides between venues and how he must have felt that with every mile and every song he was that much closer to being home.

Celebrate Me Home - Kenny Loggins

Home for the holidays,
I believe Ive missed each and every face,
Come on and play my music,
Lets turn on the love light in the place

Its time I found myself,
Totally surrounded in your circles
Whoa, my friends

Please, celebrate me home,
Give me a number,
Please, celebrate me home
Play me one more song,
That Ill always remember,
And I can recall,
Whenever I find myself too all alone,
I can sing me home.

Uneasy highway,
Traveling where the westerly winds can fly,
Somebody tried to tell me,
But the men forgot to tell me why,

I gotta count on being gone,
Come on woman, come on daddy,
Be what you want from me,
Im this strong, Ill be weak

Please, celebrate me home,
Give me a number,
Please, celebrate me home
Play me one more song,
That Ill always remember,
I can recall,
Whenever I find myself too all alone,
I can make believe Ive never gone,
I never know where I belong,
Sing me home.

Please, celebrate me home,
Give me a number,
Please, celebrate me home
Play me one more song,

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Monday, May 15, 2006

I'm Turgid, Clay! Really I am!

Clay isn't interested in limp noodles and Lord knows I can't blame him. No, not that kind of limp noodle! Sure, there have been some rumors and gossipmongers that just can't get past Clay's complete lack of concern when it comes to labels and stereotypes. I admire him so much for not changing anything to fit some fake macho image or to skew his image to fit this judgemental world. He has more backbone and strength of character than I could ever muster under such bigotry and snobbery. Oh, and the opposite of limp is turgid.

You go on with your bad self, Clay. Don't let them get to you! In the meantime, I want you to know that I have the kind of passion and enthusiasm for life that you may be looking for in a wife. I don't need my hand held and I can make up my mind without needing to please. I'm no doormat, Clay. I have opinions and interests that are not always the same as yours. I wouldn't be afraid to disagree or to tell you the truth if you asked my advice. I don't need your wealth or your fame to complete me and I have career goals and a world to conquer of my own. I just admire you for being the strong and sensitive man that you are, but then I'm just a fan and I'll never meet you. That's OK. I have a really nice guy that I hope I deserve and you're just a pipedream, I know it. I hope you settle down one day with a nice kindergarten teacher that will give you those twins you dream of.

In this interview, from Nov 2005, Clay describes what he hopes to find in his future wife.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Elvis Lives!

Shocking elimination week followed the AI template as set on previous seasons. Chris is out and now there are 3. Yawn.

According to an article on

Elvis, the original American Idol, is also one of the great pop-star nightmares: The gloppy tentacles of success got their suction cups all over that one and pulled him down and away. The thought of Clay Aiken’s arteries clogged with fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches…it’s sad beyond description.

I have to agree with Tom Gliatto, I immediately think of Clay Aiken whenever I think about Elvis. Well, I didn't before last summer, but I do now. Clay's summer tour 2005 was called the Jukebox Tour, aptly named because he sang over 70 Rock & Roll #1 hits from the 50s till today. One of the sets was a tribute to Elvis and I think the AI finalists should have studied the video of Clay singing the crap out of Elvis. This is how it's done guys! He captured the essence of Elvis without becoming an Elvis impersonater or doing a karaoke preformance. His voice is superb and just because I like you, the readers, I'll embed a player to show you what last night should have been. Wait till you see what he did with Sam Cooke, Earth Wind & Fire and Prince! Maybe another day. Watch this!

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A Star was Born!

I've been reading the articles and message boards for the remaining American Idol contestants. Surprise! Surprise! They are trying to re-create the best season of AI they ever had. It won't happen! Unlike the following 3 seasons, the 2nd season was still fresh enough and the contestants sincere and innocent enough to have been an exciting, if frustrating, ride.

We didn't know about the massive manipulations yet, although as the season wore on it became more and more apparent. The voting was done passionately and VFTW didn't interfere with the outcome. Not that they have much impact now. They are only legends in their own minds, but I digress.

This year, just like the preceding 2 years, is so appallingly predictable that the shark has been thoroughly jumped and jumped and jumped.

The saddest thing is that with all of the talk about the level of talent this year being so good, I find myself looking around to see if anyone else is just as puzzled as I am. Where are the Wow! moments? Where is the goose-bump inducing, hit-it-out-of-the-ballpark home run performance? The best I can say for this crew is that they don't suck as bad as season 3. That's a compliment, believe me!

The premise of the show got lost after the first 2 seasons. Where is the search for a Superstar in this Gong Show of a Survivor series? It isn't about singing anymore. Does anyone really think that these 4 remaining contestants were the best singers out of 100,000 auditioners in America? I think not. These are caricatures, desirable types that populate a cast chosen for their ability to fit the template. The producers only goal is to create fictional drama to draw in viewers and to increase their advertising revenue. These contestants are the CGIs in a massive video game where someone is spit out into the reality of the music industry to sink or swim. The best performers with the most talent rarely make it to the top.

Look at the CD sales and you'll see how America really voted. With their wallets and with their ears. There are only 3 successful alumni from this show. Kelly, Clay and Carrie. The rest are hanging on for dear life but will sink into obscurity because the PR was good initially for the winners but they weren't what America really wanted. This is where the show is failing. Every year there are more and more angry viewers who are catching on to the fact that the votes don't determine the winner. Any Superstars that emerge from that show make it in spite of the show, which is why Clay Aiken is truly a phenomenon. He didn't get the winners' treatment but still managed to make it. That takes considerable talent and boatloads of hard work.

End of Story, and eventually, End of show.

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