Clay Aiken offers insight on Garner 'Idol' hopeful

Posted May 11, 2011
Updated May 12, 2011

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— Eight years ago, Raleigh native Clay Aiken was right where American Idol contestant Scotty McCreery is now.

Aiken's five albums, which sold millions of copies, and stint on Broadway started with the hit television show.

"I've said it many times and I'll say it again: If I could go back and do what I did on the show every week, forever, I would do it," Aiken said.

He doesn't watch the show regularly, but has taken the time to tune in for Garner's McCreery.

"He's very different than me, isn't he?" Aiken joked. "If he makes it to finale, even if I don't watch, I'll call in."

After all, the Triangle has a real knack for supporting its hometown stars, Aiken said.

"The Triangle is without question better at rallying behind our own," he said. "I strongly believe a large part of why I made it as far as I did was because of this area."

scotty and clay Clay Aiken offers insight on Garner 'Idol' hopeful

He described having "no idea what's going on" when he made it to the finals. He's confident that McCreery feels the same way.

It wasn't until Aiken came back for his homecoming celebration and sang at the Durham Bulls game that the reality of his popularity sank in.

"Sky 5 dropped me in the middle of the field and it was the first time I had seen (anything like it)," he said. "There were 10,000 people or more people who were there screaming and it was the first time I had (realized), oh wait, people watch this show."

Aiken finished in second place on American Idol in 2003.

If McCreery survives the vote on Thursday's American Idol, which airs on WRAZ Fox 50, he'll be back in Garner Saturday for a concert and parade.

Voting ends at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. Viewers can call 1-866-436-5703 or 1-866-436-5707 or text the word "vote" to 5703. Viewers can cast up to 50 votes online.


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  • ez4u2say May 12, 2011

    Thank you! larterl & macmom2 for getting it "Just Right"!!! The only thing performing artists owe us is "THE BEST PERFORMANCE" they can muster! We have NO RIGHT to judge their private lives! If you like/love their artistic gifts, then buy their CD's, buy tickets to see them perform live, & support whatever causes they endorse!!! If you don't care for their genre or performances, then just DON'T buy their CD's, etc. Is YOUR character, life, history so PERFECT that you would be willing to have it scrutinized down to the last detail???? If not, then LEAVE CELEBRITIES ALONE!!!

  • smurph92703 May 12, 2011

    I think the residents of NC should be proud that such a mix of awesome talent has been represented on IDOL by our state! What other state can make that claim? Gay, straight, bi....what difference does it each his own. What's important here is the talent and representation! This competition brings notice and tourist dollars to our state and boost the economy in a roundabout way. I'm proud to call NC home and proud to acknowledge ALL the IDOL competitors, past present & future, from our state!

  • macmom2 May 12, 2011

    Thank you WRAL and Debra Morgan for a great interview with Clay. He has "been there and done that" on Am. Idol and knows what he is talking about. Clay is so respectful and appreciative of his hometown and this area -- such a shame he is not shown the respect in return. As UNICEF Ambassador, he has traveled to Somalia, Uganda, Mexico, and other countries to check on children there. His foundation, the National Inclusion Project works for kids with special needs. Those who are criticizing him and being judgmental need to take a page from his book and do some good in the world rather than typing ugly remarks about this man. Plus, this man has an amazing voice. Music is subjective, I understand that -- but one can not be a fan but still appreciate others opinions. Thanks again, WRAL, for your support of all our local talent.

  • NC Reader May 12, 2011

    larterl -- I agree.

  • NC Reader May 12, 2011

    My goodness. I think what's missing among some of you posters is some good old Southern manners. This is a singing competition, not a referendum on who is living the life you most approve of. I'd vote for Scotty just because he has such a beautiful, deep bass voice -- and stands out from the others with his country twang (and I don't even really like country that much). Although Clay's a good singer, I preferred Ruben -- must be the deep voice thing.

  • Fireflies Rock May 12, 2011

    Wow, there are a lot of meanspirited people posting on this site. I would imagine Clay's opinion was requested as another local past performer on AI, nothing more/nothing less. His experience would certainly be relevant if that was the point of the story. I watched Clay and Reuben back then, and thought they both had great voices and seemed like nice, polite, friendly people. Why anyone's sexual orientation would come into play in a singing competition is beyond me. There's someone that appears gay in every season, which I would expect as gay people actually do exist in the general population (no news there, I shouldn't think!). Every performer still in the running on AI has their own unique style & fan base. Each will most likely have a career in music and I wish them all well, personally.

  • ez4u2say May 12, 2011

    I feel sorry for most of the posters here who have nothing better to do than BASH Clay Aiken. The personal lives of those in the entertainment world are NONE OF OUR BUSINESS!! I was a fan of his voice during AI2 & still am. He has an AMAZing voice & has used his celebrity to raise money for the betterment of those less fortunate.
    I am also a fan of Scotty McCleery, have online voted for him & hope he makes the final 3. He deserves it!!! The Country Music world will welcome him with open arms!

  • wralfan May 12, 2011

    I love how everyone things Scotty has morals just because he wears a cross around his neck. I think Clay used that same "christianist" imagery to reel in the sheep, I mean fans, too. Was it P.T. Barnum or Billy Graham who said there was a sucker born ever minute?

    Now don't get me wrong, Scotty appears talented. And he was always a nice employee when I shopped at Lowe's Foods. Let's just not all fall for the tailored image and hype sold to the masses on the teevee.

    If you like his performances, then vote. If you like his albums when released BUY them so he'll make more music. Just don't buy into any manufactured narratives about him.

  • living the dream May 12, 2011

    Their both great singers. It will be interesting to see Scotty's career progress. If (when) he puts out is first album you bet I'm buying one!

  • grandmagail May 12, 2011

    Talk about wierdos, there are a whole crowd of them making comments on this article. What right do you have to judge Clay Aiken? I don't believe in homosexually myself but judge not, lest you be judged. Judging other people is not my right, it's God's.