I am no longer a People Magazine subscriber since I started downsizing my subscriptions and periodicals. But the October 2, 2006 issue of People with Anna Nicole Smith and her son Daniel on the cover, contains this humongous spread and article on Clay Aiken, so I had to snatch it up from our local grocery stand with utmost immediacy.
That was a nice cap to the Clay buzz that went on for the last couple of weeks, and am just glad Clay’s doing so well. His album, A Thousand Different Ways, is #2 — it actually sold 211,000 — second to Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds on the first week of release. For a cover album, I think it’s a superb effort.
What is also superb is how Clay is handling his interviews with the likes of Jimmy Kimmel, Jay Leno, Larry King and Diane Sawyer. As interviews go, they always ask the same questions, so this helps to allow for crafted, well rehearsed responses once you hit the tube. But leave it to Clay to inject his trademark gregariousness into every appearance, making it always fresh. So no matter how squirmy those questions can make him feel, Clay is always ready with a hearty chuckle to bring his points home, which are:
- yes he’s on Paxil and it helps prevent his panic attacks no thanks to the castigating bullies of the world who have been harrassing him all these years
- no he’s not answering the gay rumors because it’s none of anyone’s business and whatever he says won’t change anyone’s impressions anyway
- he wants to have kids one day in the biggest way, so I’m putting myself on the line here by saying, see he’s not gay; he wants to be a father so badly he can’t be gay, right?
Out of all the interviews and appearances I’ve seen of Clay the last couple of weeks, my favorite has been the one he made on Jimmy Kimmel. What I find so intriguing is how much the relationship between Clay and Kimmel has evolved over the last three years. As it goes, when Clay first got out of American Idol, Jimmy Kimmel was a late night host who catered to a predominantly male audience. And to cater to them, Kimmel would continually bash Clay, using him as the butt of the rudest late night “humor” you could imagine. What followed was nothing short of amazing as Clay’s fans bandied together to protest Kimmel’s actions. I remember participating in many a spamming session designed to bring down Kimmel’s star. Sure, I was impassioned then, but that was three years ago and was going through some “first-time parent jitters”. I’m not as melodramatic now. But nevertheless, something happened — perhaps Jimmy Kimmel heard our grievances, perhaps Kimmel really got taken by Clay (yeah we always thought he had Clay envy…), perhaps he wanted to open his show to female viewers — and now Clay and Kimmel are best buddies.
If Clay fans can forgive and embrace Jimmy while they line up for Clack, I’m more confident that there’s hope for world peace. But one thing’s for sure, you need to count Simon Cowell out of it…. that jackass.
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