Sunday, December 28, 2008

I Survived You

He sure did. Clay Aiken is a survivor.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Duet with Bing Crosby

I was watching this tonight and enjoying Clay's beautiful voice and how well he harmonized with Mr. Crosby.

Peace on Earth. Can it be?


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Jukebox Tour

Clay Aiken started off the Summer Tour of 2005 when someone put a quarter in the JukeBox

50s banter + Unchained Melody


The 60s


Motown Era

Ain't No Mountain High Enough


Banter + Bridge Over Troubled Water




I Can't Make You Love Me

Measure of a Man Medley

A Thousand Days

Tears Run Dry

Back For More




Friday, December 05, 2008

Stage 46: American Idol is Fixed!!

You may remember that I blogged about this book in October.

This is an excerpt from the book.

Stage 46: The Reality of Reality Television

During this first weekend in town and in between the photo shoots and rehearsals, the contestants signed their lives away. They gave up all their rights for performances and music for the duration of the show and for several months, even years, after the show ended. While signing the contracts, they were promised two full days off a week, usually the day after the show and one day on the weekend. The other weekend day would be spent in a recording studio or shooting cheesy music videos for one of the show’s several sponsors. This agreement of two days off did not last long, as the parent company pimped the contestants out every way they could: from ice cream to lip gloss to board games and video games. Each time another deal came through, the contestants were required to do a photo shoot so they would have fresh photos and videos to go along with the products and help with the marketing.

After two weeks into the live shows, the only time off the contestants had was at night, when they slept. The contestants were a little disappointed to learn that they would be earning considerably less per week than they all had originally thought. One would think that the contestants would be paid very well, especially since they were bringing in millions of dollars a week for the parent company. This was hardly the case: they were paid the bare minimum each week for their performances. I am sure it was more than any of them made on a weekly basis before they started the show, but they could have been paid a lot more. In my opinion, they deserved more, as did everyone else involved with the show, including myself.

The songs the contestants sang each week came from a preapproved list, and the singers each had the opportunity to pick the song they wanted. Once they picked the song, they rehearsed for a day, singing the song that they chose, then Andy and James would have the opportunity to listen to each contestant perform their song. If they did not like the way the singers performed the song, they were forced to change it, even if the contestant did not like or wasn’t familiar with any of the other songs that were on the weekly preapproved list.

This was very unfortunate; some of the contestants were critiqued by the judges harshly over the way they sang or because of their song choice, when in all actuality Andy and James forced them to sing the songs that they did.

To me this was always odd. I had my suspicions even before I started working on the show that people on the inside might have a hand in crowning the winner. Nothing confirmed my suspicions more than something that happened one day during rehearsals, which are closed-door. Only a limited number of people are allowed onto the soundstage: the rehearsals were done with contestant stand-ins, not the true contestants.

This was always off-limits to me, but in the middle of season I was given an urgent message to be delivered to a staff member who just happened to be sitting in on the rehearsals. So I made my way downstairs and over to the door that led to the soundstage where a security guard was standing. After reading the message, he opened the door and let me enter.

I entered from behind the stage and walked along the right wall, around to the front of the stage where the individual was sitting. Andy and James were up on stage with the stand-ins, making sure the camera operators knew how the elimination was going to unfold, where to focus the camera, and which contestant to follow. I thought this was weird: the performances would not be happening until the next day, and the eliminations a day after that, so there was no way to know who was going to be eliminated. Voting hadn’t even taken place yet for the show that they were rehearsing for.

All the stand-ins had the contestants’ names whom they were standing in for written on two large stickers, one on their chest and one on their back. It was very clear who was representing whom. I stood in the back for a few minutes because the person I needed to deliver the message to was busy discussing the show with Andy and James. I didn’t want to interrupt, so I waited my turn.

I continued to watch as Andy and James could not make up their minds as to how they wanted to make the elimination happen. After running out of options and getting frustrated, they used a previous routine that was used a couple of weeks before.

I waited until Andy announced that the rehearsals were wrapped for the day before I delivered the message and returned to the office upstairs. As I watched the live show unfold the next day, I thought that all of the contestants did very well, except for two of the male contestants. I figured that both would be in the bottom group the following day and that one of them would be eliminated from the show and sent packing. Many of the people in the office thought the same thing that I did, so we were all shocked when one of the best performers was eliminated the following day.

After the office calmed down following the shock of the elimination, I finished the last few things I needed to get done before my fifteen-hour day was over and I could head home. While I was driving home, it dawned on me that the person who had been eliminated was the same person who had been eliminated during the closed-door rehearsals just two days before.

That was too much of a coincidence for me. From that day on, I figured that people on the inside had a hand in how the results of the show were handled.

Or in less polite terms, your vote doesn't count.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

O Holy Night: The Measure of a Singer

Clay Aiken is unparalleled as a live performer. Listen to him sing O Holy Night in concert. The video is not a professionally produced one by any means, but his voice overcomes that handicap. At one point he appears to be communicating with one of his sound engineers. Don't let that distract you too much. Its a live show :)

and for those who think that David Archuletta is the second coming or that he is Clay Aiken 2.0, here's David's version.

Here is Josh Groban, for those who think he sets some kind of standard. This is live from the Vatican and a professional production. No really!

and for the hearing impaired, here's Clay's O Holy Night in ASL.

What do you think?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Talks about Fatherhood, Spamalot and Coming Out

Clay Aiken talks about why he returned to do another run in Spamalot and about life as a father. He and Jaymes Foster (Parker's mother) are raising the baby together and Clay talks about what he does best as a father. He is good at quieting Parker when he cries and is unfazed by diaper duty. Clay admits "He owns us".

Today's ET teaser indicates that there will be more on Parker's surgery and how he and Jaymes coped with it. Clay also talks about his apprehension and how he braced himself to be boo-ed by the Spamalot audience the day after he came out as a gay man.

Needless to say, he was pleasantly surprised at how accepted he was and how normal his life is. He admits that his friends were right and he is glad he did it.