Clay Aiken offers insight on Garner 'Idol' hopeful

Posted May 11, 2011 10:07 p.m. EDT
Updated May 12, 2011 6:19 a.m. EDT

— 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."

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.