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Clay Aiken

Real name: Clayton Holmes Grissom
Birthdate: N/A
Status: Single


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Clay Aiken (born Clayton Holmes Grissom on November 30, 1978) is an American pop singer who began his rise to fame on the second season of the television program American Idol in 2003. Based on album sales surpassed only by Idol winners Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, Aiken has become the most successful male and the most successful second-place finisher in that show's history.

Aiken created the Bubel/Aiken Foundation in 2003, accepted a UNICEF ambassadorship in 2005, and in 2007 was appointed by George W. Bush to a committee that acts in an advisory capacity to the President and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services on matters relating to programs and services for persons with intellectual disabilities.

Aiken made a surprise appearance on the final show of American Idol season 5, when failed auditioner Michael Sandecki returned to the show to receive a "Golden Idol" award for Best Impersonator for his Clay Aiken-like appearance. Aiken appeared without introduction in a well-tailored designer suit and longer, darker hair with bangs, looking so different that many did not recognize him until he began to sing "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me."

Aiken has made many television appearances. He sang The Star-Spangled Banner on opening night of the 2003 World Series and appeared in numerous television specials during the winter of 2003, including Disney's Christmas Day Parade and the Nick At Nite Holiday Special, where he sang the "Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth" with Bing Crosby via special effects. Aiken starred in and executive produced his first TV special (December 2004), titled A Clay Aiken Christmas, with special guests Barry Manilow, Yolanda Adams, and Megan Mullally; the special was released on DVD later that month. On July 4th, 2004, Aiken was one of the performers in the A Capitol Fourth concert in Washington, DC and performed in the Good Morning America Summer Concert Series in 2004 and 2005.

From February through April 2004, Aiken and Kelly Clarkson embarked on the "Independent Tour" as co-headliners. Following this tour, he was scheduled for a few summer solo tour dates, but demand ultimately led to the booking of fifty dates across the United States, resulting in what many fans called the "Not-a-Tour." Disney was the exclusive sponsor of Aiken's Summer Concert Tour, promoting their Aladdin Special Edition 2-Disc DVD. Each concert previewed Aiken's rendition of "Proud of Your Boy", a song originally intended for the first release of the film but cut when the Aladdin storyline changed during production. A music video, featuring Aiken, is on the Aladdin Special Edition 2-Disc DVD. On this tour he also performed a duet, "Without You," which was featured on Kimberley Locke's 2004 debut album One Love.

He described himself in Learning to Sing as a proud Southern Baptist who had journeyed away from those roots in his late teens in search of a religion with more liberal social policies, and then returned to that church because of family and social ties although he remains at odds with the church on some issues. When asked in a PBS Kids interview to name his idols, he responded, "When people ask me what three people I’d like to have dinner with, living or dead, I say Jesus Christ, Mr. Rogers, and Jimmy Carter."


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