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ClayManiacs.com  |  Archive  |  Media & Appearance Archive  |  2003: PRESS & MEDIA
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Author Topic: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA  (Read 13592 times)

Marilyn

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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2010, 10:26:48 PM »
 AFI Proposes National Expansion of AFI Screen Education Center
Tuesday July 29, 12:30 pm ET

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  CLAY AIKEN ON CAPITOL HILL - YAHOO ARTICLE
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2003, 01:15:02 PM »
 
Joined by Clay Aiken, AFI Leadership Urges Congress, DoED to Support AFI's Screen Education Program in Schools Nationwide

Quote
WASHINGTON, July 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Executives of the American Film Institute (AFI), accompanied today on their visit to Capitol Hill, the White House and the US Department of Education by AMERICAN IDOL's Clay Aiken, urge the expansion of AFI's Screen Education Center into schools across America....

"We are so pleased that Clay Aiken has joined with AFI today to help emphasize education's crucial role in American life," Firstenberg said.  Clay Aiken, who was completing his studies to become a special education teacher before the AMERICAN IDOL competition and his astonishing rise to super-stardom, supports AFI's efforts to expand the K-12 AFI Screen Education Center program nationwide.

"Since I've had to put my own work with special needs kids on hold for now, I am excited to do what I can to support worthwhile educational efforts, particularly those which reach kids who might otherwise fall through the cracks. The AFI Screen Education Center programs certainly work with highly motivated students, but also engage those who for one reason or another-language barriers, learning disabilities, different ways of processing information-haven't enjoyed success with their studies before. I'm here to thank members of Congress and the Department of Education for supporting this great program," said Aiken.

Congressional leaders, including Majority Leader William Frist (R-TN), Senators Dole (R-NC), Edwards (D-NC), Feinstein (D-CA), Boxer (D-CA), Specter (R-PA), Harkin (D-IO), Mikulski (D-MD) and Lott (R-MS), plan to meet with the AFI delegation.
The day includes a 9:00 a.m. White House meeting for Clay Aiken...


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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2010, 10:28:28 PM »
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  THE ARTIST VS THE ARTISAN - ARTICLE
« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2003, 09:48:18 PM »   

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American Idol: The Artist Versus the Artisan
by Alexandra Corbin (2003/07/29)

For many centuries pundits have debated the difference between these terms. Instinctively – we all know it. The difficulty is in describing exactly what it is we know and how that translates into the medium of voice.
Clearly – the world is falling head over heels over OBC (Our Boy Clay). There are many reasons why he is the right man for the times. He is the recipient of our collective need for freshness and lightness and charm to relieve national anxiety and dread. We needed something new, an interactive reality Rocky story to develop under our noses with a favorable ending we could actually control and predict. Our need to control the outcome of anything at that point had an addictive momentum in and of itself. This is the total opposite of where we had been -- sitting like ducks in a pond dodging grenades and threats for well over a year. So yes, the geek to chic, the Rocky story, the everyman boy next door personality, the apparent naiveté, the accent, the Huck Finn' ness of the guy all hit us where we needed it most – in the realm of belief and hope. Had it not been Clay it might have been someone else. But it is Clay and as such he must rise to the challenge. Which he is; baring his flesh, grinding, smoldering his eyes, catching red thongs, playing at sexy and making it very believable. Is he laughing after the shoots? Gawd, I hope so, but Huck has molted.

Clay three years ago would never have been the same phenomenon, sorry – I can’t see it. The times make the man. But he is here, nevertheless and we love him. Had it not been for American Idol, he would never have had the gumption to keep kicking in doors with his cd’s and getting invited to leave. He hungered for stability smarting from his first six years of phobic nomadism and fear of drowning. Had it not been for AI’s audition road system he might never have taken himself to Atlanta and would have remained a woeful asterisk in Charlotte with a painful rendition of Over the Rainbow -- and it was "god awful." The mania grows and Clay can sustain it. He has legs -- as they say in the industry and that is what this article is about.

The first lesson I ever learned and probably the only one I ever learned at film school was from a wizened old lady who bored me to death except for the first sentence out of her mouth: “Don’t bother writing if you haven’t got a heart.” At the time -- I truly believed I didn’t. But life had dealt me some blows and I did have a heart -- it had been sorely broken. But then, we all have had our blows. So what really makes a heart and what did she really mean? And here is the nub, the crux of artist versus artisan and why Clayton Aiken is an artist and Trenyce is an artisan, and why Ruben could be an artist but is still not yet completely.

A heart is a human being who is not scared to feel the pain of feelings both good and bad and who can channel it into their métier. It is the role of an artist to interpret universality of human behavior and emotions and draw it neatly into a composition
that tames it and releases it in such a way that it is modulated and drawn out by means of the tools of the trade; sounds, notes, tempo, phrasing. And in so doing he draws us out and pulls us along. The artist must first be an artisan. He must be a master craftsman. He must know his notes and how to use them and hit them and round them and balance them better than anyone else given the quirks and qualities of his physical voice. He must know music. He must be able to combine words with sounds and imagine a high note and hit it because he has hit it a million times before and it is no longer a mountain he can’t climb. But this is an artisan still -- beautiful execution, impeccable technique.

When a heart that has felt enormous feelings through sadness and happiness, who has grappled with extreme misery in children both in his own childhood and in others, and is not frightened by it, but runs toward it where others shy away, and then takes a note that describes loneliness -- this is a man who brings something different to the sound. It is the melding of all his elements expressed in a vibration that derives from an enormous brave heart and allows his mastery of the métier to tame it enough to enunciate it more, specify it, encapsulate it. When he pulls out a note, his voice may not be the greatest instrument, but there are layers of nuances to it that no one can explain but only a true artist can amalgamate. We feel through it.

A tall thin man who gently holds a mic and leans his head out over his neck with a voice that tells you how human he and we all are, who stands and bends like a willow whip, alone like a line itself that can describe a sentiment by bending or straightening, or curling or springing, adds to the physical expression of that emotion and even more to the notes alone. We have a visual expression of a feeling as well. I could not take Clay with my eyes closed. I need to see his body draw the music for me like a painter pulling a line across a page. There is grace in his litheness, beauty in his gate and moves when he is entranced by the sentiment and evoking through sound our primal feelings; bounce in his joy, romping in his happiness, quiet and steadiness in his intensity. He doesn’t know how he does it. Other artists don’t know either except that they have enormous hearts that need to express and find a concise way to do it. They just know how to pull out a sound and make it sing and you can’t teach that. You feel that.

Art is the controlled and selective presentation of an aspect of humanness that is enhanced by the artist through their unique personality and guts. Clay has guts. When Ruben stops protecting his feelings and starts to let his heart break while he sings, then he too will be an artist. When he lets himself feel the exuberance of how positive life can be and then actually be that exuberance for three minutes, then the sounds that he has masterfully crafted for twenty years will become art. But he has to be brave enough to feel it thoroughly. An artist must put himself into every song. This is a lot to ask. It could be exhausting. It certainly is rewarding because when it works, we all now know what’s inside your heart. It is what’s inside ours. You have just called it back for us in a way that we can revisit it and never forget. This is art. This is Clay.

ARTIST VS ARTISAN
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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2010, 10:29:11 PM »
Melodie
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CLAY SINGS "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" TO SEN. ELIZABETH DOLE
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2003, 12:38:09 PM »   

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'Idol' star Aiken sings to Sen. Dole in D.C. trip
 
By Teresa Black : The Herald-Sun Washington bureau
Jul 29, 2003 : 9:52 pm ET

WASHINGTON -- Raleigh native Clay Aiken took a break from his "American Idol" tour Tuesday to sing "Happy Birthday" to N.C. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, visit the White House and promote a film education program.

"There was a time when I wanted to be a politician," Aiken told a group of staffers at the Capitol. "It's nice to be here to meld two worlds that are new to me."

Before his rise to stardom on Fox's "American Idol" talent competition, 24-year-old Aiken was a special education major at UNC Charlotte. On Tuesday, he met with officials from the U.S. Department of Education and the American Film Institute to promote the expansion of the K-12 Screen Education Center program, which encourages literacy through filmmaking. Aiken's cousin, Mitch Aiken, works for AFI.

"It was pretty exciting when Mitch told us about this cousin from North Carolina," said AFI Director Jean Picker Firstenberg.

Through the AFI program, high school students improve their literacy skills by turning books into movies. A video presented at a Capitol luncheon Tuesday showed students acting out "All Quiet on the Western Front," by Erich Maria Remarque.

Aiken said the AFI program also gives kids with disabilities the chance to work with children who don't have special needs.

"He has a huge heart and a very mature mind, and he's already setting up his own foundation for children with special needs," Firstenberg said of Aiken.

"The goal today is to get money for this program in your neighborhoods," Aiken said at a news conference peppered with young fans.

Among the devotees was 15-year-old Emily Rehm of Maryland.

"I just hope no one starts screaming or going crazy," she said before Aiken arrived. "Then he won't come over here."

Aiken joined other politicians at a small luncheon at the Capitol, where he passed out CDs of his single, with the songs "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "This is the Night."

http://www.herald-sun.com/durham/4-376527.html
 
 
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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2010, 10:29:35 PM »
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  CLAY AIKEN ANNOUNCES BUBEL-AIKEN FOUNDATION - ARTICLE
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2003, 01:00:05 AM »   

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Clay Aiken Announces Start of Bubel-Aiken Foundation
Wednesday July 30, 2:22 pm ET
Press Release   Source: Wachovia Corporation
American Idol star makes surprise proclamation during Wachovia's Manhattan grand opening

CHARLOTTE, N.C., July 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Wachovia's Manhattan financial center grand-opening festivities Monday were punctuated by a surprise announcement from Clay Aiken, the American Idol II runner-up who joined New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Wachovia executives for a press conference and ribbon-cutting ceremony in Rockefeller Plaza. After a grand entrance and a few kind words about Wachovia, Aiken, a North Carolina native and long-time Wachovia customer, surprised all in attendance by announcing he would like to open the first official account in the name of his new Bubel-Aiken Foundation, which he said he was starting to benefit mentally challenged children. ·  (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20030730/NEW020 )


"The Bubel-Aiken foundation is something I was going to have Wachovia help me set up and manage anyway, so I just thought 'why not do it today,'" said Aiken. "Diane Bubel is a close friend of mine from home and she changed my life because she's the one who encouraged me to audition for American Idol. That's why I'm starting this foundation in her name. Hopefully we can make some positive changes in the lives of children with mental disabilities." Wachovia, which opened its first two Manhattan retail financial centers Monday in Rockefeller Plaza and at Madison Avenue & 45th, granted Aiken's request and gave him the honor of opening the first official account at the Rockefeller location. Ben Jenkins, head of Wachovia Corporation's General Bank, graciously accepted the offer to open the Bubel-Aiken Foundation account for Aiken, which was completed immediately following the press conference, and also offered to make a $10,000 donation in Wachovia's name. "We are thrilled that Clay Aiken thinks so highly of Wachovia that he would announce the start of his foundation during our grand-opening celebration," said Jenkins. "Despite his meteoric rise to fame, Clay remains true to his passion -- helping those in need. Wachovia is proud to help Clay make the Bubel-Aiken Foundation a success."

CLAY ANNOUNCES FOUNDATION START UP
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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2010, 10:32:42 PM »
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  THE RETURN OF AN AMERICAN IDOL - ARTICLE
« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2003, 12:40:08 PM »   

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The return of an American idol
His old principal at Leesville Road, the current students there and his former teachers answer the question: Clay who?
B Y G R A N T B R I T T
July 30, 2003

A little touch of fame can make a man weary. Good Morning America, MTV and a slew of other media giants have been after him to tell his side of the American Idol story, but he's turned them all down. Richard Murphy is Clay Aiken's high school principal, but he's been besieged by the media like he was the Idol millions of people have made their favorite son. Principal Murphy says that he has refused offers not because he doesn't think Clay's worthy but because the timing was bad. "I tell them Clayton Grissom, whom we knew him as, [Aiken is Clay's mother's maiden name] had his day here, and we certainly support him, but the other kids, they won't do Good Morning America in the middle of AP exams. Then they wanted to do an MTV special during final exams, so basically I've kept below the radar screen because this is not about us or not about me, it's about Clay."

The Leesville Road High School principal is a bit wary of the media after his Rolling Stone experience. He says that the interviewer didn't take notes and that he was misquoted. The Stone had Murphy saying that Aiken "was absolutely a gift. A gift." The principal says that what he actually said was that Aiken had a gift. "Any child is a gift to us; I don't mean to put him in a category other than any other person who entrusts us to look after our kids. They are gifts to us. But he had a very special gift, and he's choosing to develop it."

By now, most of the country knows about Clay Aiken's gifts, thanks to his exposure on American Idol. Aiken went from being one of 234 applicants chosen in an Atlanta contest in October 2002 to becoming the second-place finisher seven months later in a contest viewed by an audience estimated at 24 million.

Ironically, Aiken's second-place finish has gotten him more publicity than winner Ruben Studdard. Aiken's poise and graciousness have earned him as many points with fans as his looks and singing style have.
The Idol-to-be also glowed from without as well as within. Before his makeover, the future pop star's wardrobe made him a high school standout. "You don't see too many yellow, high-top Converses," Murphy says of Aiken's shoe selection. "And he used to wear madras pants as well."

Though Aiken has downplayed his prior performing experience, it's obvious from his onstage demeanor that he's comfortable in front of people. [On one fan site, his "official questionnaire" lists his past performances as being limited to "school functions in high school."]

"There's nothing shy about Clayton," says Murphy. "Clayton was very at home in front of a school of 2,000 kids and at pep rallies, singing or onstage in front of a packed audience for our musicals. There are people who glow or develop in the limelight, and he was one of 'em."

The principal says that Aiken's gift was constantly on display in the musicals and school assemblies. "Anybody who's ever heard Clayton sing knows that he's been blessed. He was not only very talented vocally, but he was quite the young actor, too, as I'm sure that a lot of people can surmise from watching him. And he's worked hard to develop it."

The 24-year-old stirs up quite a reaction when he returns to his old haunts. When Aiken stopped by his old high school recently, even though it was the last day of school and most of the student body had already left, the principal was roused from his office by a commotion in the building. "I saw these young kids, these young-looking girls running down the hall," the principal chuckles. But it was the reaction of another, older group of women's reaction to the Idol's return that really amused Murphy. "He was visiting his teachers, and it was kind of ironic to me that the teachers that were here when he was here were able to chat with him as if he had a brain instead of being some heartthrob--it was as if he had never left. But the teachers who were not here when he was here, I'm talking about middle-aged women, were acting like the Beatles had just come to town."

Aiken may not be as big as the Beatles, but his fame has made an entourage and a bodyguard necessary. Still the singer doesn't seem to be affected by the trappings of fame. Murphy says he's still "just as accommodating as he could be--just a nice kid who was brought up working at the local YMCA."

And although the principal says Clayton was not a disciplinary problem, his acerbic wit noted by teachers and the principal during school days is still in place. "We were just sitting around chatting, and I began carrying on a conversation with his bodyguard," Murphy recalls, "and his bodyguard was from the same town out in Southern California where I spent some time. And Clay looked over at me at one point and said, 'That's good, Mr. Murphy, that's so typical. I come back to visit you and you find more things to talk about with bodyguard than you do with me.' "

But rather than be put off by it, Murphy, like the others who have come in contact with Aiken in person or on TV, is an admirer of his wit, along with his personality and his talent. "He was different, but he wasn't one of these on-the-edge kids," Murphy says fondly. "There are a lot of people, who, walking down the hall, what you see is what you get. It wasn't a kind of, 'Hey look at me--I'll do anything I can to capture your attention.' It was just who he was."

THE INDEPENDENT - DURHAM, NC - ARTICLE
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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #20 on: September 07, 2010, 10:37:10 PM »
Cruiser
 CLAY AIKEN TAKES WASHINGTON BY STORM - PEOPLE MAGAZINE
« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2003, 12:42:08 PM »   

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Clay Aiken Takes Washington By Storm
STEPHEN M. SILVERMAN
and CANDIE JONES
   
America's almost "Idol" Clay Aiken ventured to America's capital Tuesday to emphasize his other passion beyond singing -- education, reports PEOPLE.
And he was one busy guy. After a closed-door meeting with officials at the U.S. Department of Education (including Education Undersecretary Eugene Hickok and Assistant Secretary for Special Education Bob Pasternack), Aiken said: "Since I've had to put my own work with special needs kids on hold for now, I am excited to do what I can to support worthwhile educational efforts, particularly those which reach kids who might otherwise fall through the cracks."
The 24-year-old crooner later went up to the Capitol with members of the American Film Institute to discuss the institute's K-12 Screen Education Center program.
Aiken, in D.C. as part of the "American Idols Live Tour," also took a private tour of the White House and stopped in to pay a surprise visit to his home state senator, Elizabeth Dole (R-North Carolina).
Nicely dressed in a suit, the lanky Southerner sang "Happy Birthday" to Dole, who turned 67. It was the first time the two had met.
As for the concert, The Washington Post critic adored Aiken, extolling his "epic voice and flirty ways" and calling him the evening's winner, "if not the show's."
The Post also had nice things to say about "AI" champ Ruben Studdard, 25, saying that he has "charm."   

PEOPLE MAGAZINE ARTICLE
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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2010, 10:37:42 PM »
Cruiser
  BUFFALO NEWS - ARTICLE
« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2003, 08:11:15 PM »   

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"Idol" chat ...

Alex Moshenko, 10, of Amherst recently had a chance to meet his idol, and Clay Aiken left a lasting impression. Aiken was the runnerup in this spring's "American Idol" television show talent contest and Alex, who is autistic, had longed to meet him. "It was more than special, it was a moment Alex will never forget," said his mother, Monica Moshenko. Aiken just happened to be playing HSBC Arena on July 19, which was Alex's 10th birthday. His mother had written to Aiken asking for a backstage meeting.
"Clay came in, walked up to Alex and said, "Hi, how are you doing?" Moshenko said. "Alex's eyes just lit up. Clay then asked him about school. Alex was thrilled." Moshenko asked Aiken to tape a public service announcement for the Buffalo Niagara Walk for Autism on Sept. 14. Aiken, who studied special ed in college, agreed. "Clay's really a nice guy," Moshenko said.

BUFFALO NEWS ARTICLE
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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #22 on: September 07, 2010, 10:39:19 PM »
Cruiser
  RDU NEWS 14 RALEIGH - ARTICLE
« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2003, 11:21:15 AM »   

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Fans gear up for Clay to come home
Updated: 8/5/2003 9:50 AM
By: Heather Moore & Web Staff

Fans are snatching up Clay Aiken T-shirts as the "American Idol Tour" heads to the Triangle.   

As Clay Aiken gears up to come home Wednesday, fans are literally gearing up to welcome him.

Fans stocked up on tons of Clay Aiken merchandise during his run for "American Idol" and now with the "American Idol Tour" hitting the Triangle this week, hometown fans want the world to know Clay is still their idol.

PKD Screen Printing is the only company authorized by Aiken to make official Clay Aiken stuff and they’ve been so swamped with orders, they have a Clay coordinator, whose job is to fill fans’ Clay needs.

“We’ve sold shirts to every state in the United States,” owner Paulette Disbrow said. “We’ve sold to Canada. We’ve sold to Great Britain. We’ve sold to New Zealand.”

“About two weeks before the concerts in other places, they start calling and placing their orders to make sure they get their T-shirts in time for the concerts,” coordinator Deanne Phillips said.

Fans stocked up on tons of Clay Aiken merchandise during his run for "American Idol" and now with the "American Idol Tour" hitting the Triangle this week, hometown fans want the world to know Clay is still their idol.

Concertgoers won’t find official Clay Aiken merchandise at the concert Wednesday night. There, they'll only find "American Idol" items so fans are coming in now to get their Clay Aiken gear early so they can wear it to the concert.

“Everybody wants the blue concert T-shirt to wear to the concerts,” Phillips said. “These ladies from Virginia had been on vacation in Kentucky, went home, spent the night, got up the next morning and came to Raleigh to pick up Clay Tshirts just to be ready for the concert.”

“The thing that touches me about Clay is he's reached the human soul in a way that none of the great evangelists, none of the politicians have been able to do in my lifetime,” Disbrow said.

A portion of the proceeds from Clay's official gear goes to the Autism Society of North Carolina and the YMCA.

Disbrow said the company has already contributed more than $13,000 to Clay's charities.

RDU NEWS 14 ARTICLE
 
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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #23 on: September 07, 2010, 10:41:07 PM »
Cruiser
CHARLOTTE OBSERVER - ARTICLE
« Reply #23 on: August 09, 2003, 11:36:05 PM »   

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"Idols" grow closer without show competition
LEIGH DYER
The Charlotte Observer

In a recent telephone interview from New York as the concert tour was wending its way to North Carolina, Aiken, 24, spoke to The Observer about his life since "American Idol." (His words are edited for length and clarity).

Q. Reviewers of your concerts have said that when you come out on stage to sing your first song, the screaming gets so loud it drowns out your singing. What goes through your head when that happens?
'Please be quiet so I can hear my song.' (laughs) They added some microphones in the auditorium to pick up the audience. I asked them, 'Can you take the audience out of my monitor? Because I can't hear my music.' And he said, 'You're going to have to get used to it, because I already took them out.' It's just a lot of energy for the last three of us who sing. There are some loud screams.

Q. I've also heard you've gotten some underwear thrown at you on stage. (Laughs) I have gotten a few panties. It did surprise me. I went, 'What in the world? This has to be for somebody else.'
I've also gotten two pairs of Depends. They have notes attached that say, 'From your older fans. We love you too.' People are very creative. I think they're doing it to embarrass me. No matter how many times it happens, I always blush. Ruben always makes fun of me.

Q. Are you guys staying pretty good friends during the tour?
Everybody is actually probably closer. We're not going through all the competition and stress of the show anymore. Nobody's getting voted off of the tour. Everybody's pretty laid back and easygoing, so we're really getting along extremely well.

Q. Before the show and this tour, you hadn't had the opportunity to do much traveling, had you?
I had not done any, really. Just like the show, everything has been fast, furious and trial by fire. I went through the show and had all of the experience of being on TV all of a sudden, really quick. And now I'm having all of this traveling happening really fast. I don't think I've been in the same city to sleep for more than one night yet.
In Washington I got to go to the White House and Capitol Hill. I'd never been there before at all. I used to want to be a politician back in school.
I met Bob Dole -- he knew a lot of information about what had happened on the show. I guess after you retire you have more free time to watch "American Idol."

Q. What are you looking forward to doing the most in N.C.?
Just seeing family and friends. "Primetime Live" is in Raleigh for three days because they're filming a special (about me) for sometime in September. I'm doing a lot of filming while I'm at home.

Q. What's the music like on your upcoming album? A lot of it is similar to "This is the Night." It's not a huge departure for me. It remains true to who I am and my character. Nobody has to turn the radio down when the kids are in the car. It's a pop sound. There are some upbeat, catchy pop songs, like the one song "Invisible" that I do on the tour. There are a few things that are reminiscent of some Steve Perry stuff. And then there are some covers. "Solitaire" is hopefully going to be on the album.

Q. Between your song hitting No. 1 on the charts and now the concert tour, it seems you really are living the life of a pop star. Is it everything you thought it would be?
It's been more than I thought it would be, really. Sometimes I used to think they had it easy. All they have to do is go up and sing a song, and they get paid for it. I am wrong about that. It's a lot more work and less sleep than I thought it would be.
I'm just amazed at the amount of support that people have shown, and how enthusiastic the fans are.
I'm so thrilled to be coming back to North Carolina. It's going to be quite a show.

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER ARTICLE
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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #24 on: September 07, 2010, 10:43:29 PM »
Cruiser
ABC NEWS ENTERTAINMENT - EDITORIAL
« Reply #24 on: August 14, 2003, 10:19:20 PM »   

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Recall Ruben
If the American Idol Winner Broke the Rules, Let’s Demand a New Vote
CommentaryBy Heidi Oringer Aug. 14

As the only person not running for governor of California, I'm demanding a recall vote — not in the Golden State gubernatorial race, but in American Idol.
 
American Idol winner Ruben Studdard should have his title revoked if he really did receive money in exchange for wearing 205 Flava Inc. shirts during his appearances on the Fox talent competition, as has been reported. Contestants on the TV show are banned from accepting outside contracts, according to a statement by Michael Jaffa, vice president of business and legal affairs for American Idol Productions Inc. A lawsuit recently filed by Willie and Frederick Jenkins, owners of the Birmingham, Ala.-based 205 Flava Inc. clothing company, contends Studdard approached them with the idea of receiving a fee in exchange for donning their duds on national television. The designers contend Studdard asked for compensation totaling $10,000. They also claim checks were written for $1,000 a week. These eventually escalated to $1,500 per week as Studdard advanced in the competition, the suit says. The Jenkinses go on to allege that these checks were made out to Studdard's brother and manager to keep the paper trail from leading back to the singer. This legal wrangling originally began with a suit filed by Studdard himself, who alleged the Jenkins brothers were using his image for profit. Studdard's suit contends that 205 Flava Inc. kept his photo on its Web site, which has enabled the company to garner more than $2 million in sales. Thus far, both suits have been filed in court and the Jenkinses' lawyer, LaVeeda Morgan Battle, held a news conference where she revealed what she said were copies of the checks to Studdard's brother. Studdard has yet to respond to the allegations on his own. His attorney, Byron Perkins, has told The Associated Press, "The public will hear from us soon," and has declined further comment. Ron Edwards, Studdard's personal manager, told me likewise, saying, "No comment pending things we're working on." Producers of the show are equally tight-lipped. "We don't comment on the contestants' personal lives," said Eric Green at 19 Television. So, where do we go from here? Other Contestants Got the Boot In case there are 10 people out there who haven't watch the show and don't know, it's important to note that other contestants have been kicked off American Idol for various infractions. Franchelle Davis, aka Frenchie, was given the heave-ho because she had appeared topless and posed in a lurid manner on a Web site. Frenchie contended that she was over 18 when she posed for the photo and that she did it to help pay her way through college. She didn't, however, make mention of this little impropriety when she tried out for the competition. When producers found out, they banished her from the show. Another contestant, Corey Clark, got the boot after producers learned that he had been arrested on three misdemeanor counts, which included battery (the alleged victim was his teenage sister), criminal restraint and resisting arrest. Clark was eventually dismissed, but not before he was given the opportunity to explain to the viewers that his banishment came as a result of not being honest with the producers. Apparently, had he confessed his legal predicament when he was originally being considered, he would have been allowed to continue. The same is supposed to be the case for Frenchie. Let the People Decide The fact of the matter is, if Ruben actually violated the rules of the show, then regardless of his immense (no pun intended) talent, he should relinquish his title. But to whom — the second-place contestant, Clay Aiken? Not necessarily. You see, this show, which has become a phenomenon, is supposed to represent more than just a shot at fame for a talented few. It has separated itself from other such competitive shows by allowing the American public to be the decision makers. Millions of people tuned in each week to watch their favorite performers and hundreds of thousands of those folks took the time to call in and vote, to give the one they thought most worthy a chance at fame and fortune. Frenchie's Web involvement and Corey's arrest did not make them any less talented as individuals. Nor does Ruben's alleged profiting from wearing a jersey make him any less of a singer. But the question is: Were rules violated, lines crossed, regulations dishonored? If Frenchie and Corey would have been allowed to continue in the competition, who knows what the outcome would've been? If it's proven that Ruben did benefit financially for wearing the 205 shirts, then what should happen? What if this had been revealed while the show was going on, wouldn't he have been eliminated along with Frenchie and Corey? I know there are a lot of woulda-coulda-shoulda items here, but something fishy is going on, and the American Idol that America chose may not be someone to be idolized after all. Time will tell as more details unfold, but if in fact the claims against Studdard are true, then we've been foiled once again by reality TV. As Simon Cowell would say of a first-round American Idol reject, "It's appalling." 

Heidi Oringer is director of entertainment programming at ABCNEWS Radio.

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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #25 on: September 07, 2010, 10:46:37 PM »
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  CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR - ARTICLE
« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2003, 12:43:01 AM »   

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N.C. happy for, if bemused by, its 'Idol'
Charlotte cheers loudly for returning college boy Clay Aiken, but classmates are a little puzzled by the fuss
By Erik Spanberg | Special to The Christian Science Monitor
 
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A little less than 12 hours before Clay Aiken will take the stage with the rest of his "American Idol" colleagues at the sold-out Charlotte Coliseum, he stands in a nondescript radio-station conference room surrounded by adoring female fans and the city's mayor.
"What a great role model for Charlotte, for North Carolina, and for the whole country," says Mayor Patrick McCrory, after declaring Aug. 8 as Clay Aiken Day. McCrory reads a proclamation and then gets down to business. He snares an autograph and a photo of his niece, Molly, with Aiken, the unlikely, gawky heartthrob known for his carrot-top coiffure and Broadway-meets-pop crooning.
The nine Idol alums touring arenas this summer - led by Ruben Studdard, who beat runner-up Aiken by less than 1 percent out of 24 million votes - now find themselves in the role of conquering heroes in their hometowns of Birmingham and Raleigh, N.C., respectively. Charlotte, the largest city in the state, staked claims of its own because Aiken attended the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.
Somehow, Fox TV's blend of glorified karaoke and high-school talent show entranced millions of viewers. Studdard and Aiken have scored hit singles, though airplay has plummeted precipitously for each since the second "Idol" show left the air in May. Both have albums coming out later this year: Studdard with Clive Davis's J Records and Aiken with RCA Records.
The 39-city "American Idols Live!" tour, wrapping up on Aug. 31, scored sellouts in Raleigh and Charlotte this month. The Idol tour is sponsored by Pop-Tarts, but no one, save Rolling Stone, seems cognizant of the joke. Ninety minutes before show time, Aiken runs around the side of the arena to wave hello at a line of fans snaked halfway around the building. A mob of veteran Pop-Tart shoppers surges forward before Clay makes his getaway.
Backstage, several of the female Idols - Trenyce, Carmen Rasmusen, Kimberly Caldwell, and Julie DeMato - are kibitzing in sweats and T-shirts.
Nearly a year of media saturation has left them not quite jaded, but not quite wide-eyed, either. They swiftly dispense with a variety of queries, but grow weary when the topic of Clay arises. "[When we talk to fans], it's 'How has the whole experience been? Are you tired? And where's Clay?" Ms. DeMato says. Ms. Caldwell quickly corrects her: " 'Where's Clay' is always first, then the other two."
No one seems resentful, but Aiken, despite finishing second, has become the most popular Idol, even surpassing Studdard, the rotund teddy-bear champ.
Aiken's routine now includes regular meet-and-greets with fans and the media. He's accompanied by a bodyguard who resembles an NFL linebacker and a petite publicist who is a cross between Bridget Jones and Lucky Star-era Madonna. Both keep Aiken on a strict schedule, and both serve as caddies for the array of stuffed animals, colognes, and other gifts that fans bestow on him.
Angela Coachman and Amy Pusey, a pair of 22-year-old UNC-Charlotte graduates, were among the Clay admirers, wearing form-fitting red shirts to the show. They both majored in special education, like Aiken, and attended class with him every day for several years. "He was always the class clown," Ms. Pusey says, grinning. "He was the only guy in every class - it's a small major and it's all girls - and Clay was always joking around."
Did last month's Rolling Stone cover boy have many admirers in college? "He had lots of friends," Ms. Coachman says. "I'm sure he's not having any trouble with girlfriends ... now."
Even so, Aiken resonates much more with the Sela Ward-Lifetime gang than the Reese Witherspoon-"Friends" set. Judging by the arena crowd, the combination of geeky chutzpah and hammy showman is a winner among middle-aged moms.
Kimberley Locke, a 25-year-old administrative assistant from Nashville who became an Idol alongside Aiken, knew where matters stood in Charlotte.
"We're in Clay Town, obviously," Locke says onstage, eliciting an overwhelming, and sustained roar as she introduced him. Aiken emerged from beneath the stage, sporting a natty black suit, purple tie, and a grin reminiscent of Alfred E. Neuman. He launched into "This Is the Night," a soaring pop ballad that melds Barry Manilow with Andrew Lloyd Webber. With dry ice flowing over the stage, Aiken's by-the-numbers moves - arms spread wide, hands clasped over his heart - produced thunderous squeals. "There's no place like home, that's for sure," he said after several minutes of applause. "I am amazed."
For his former classmates, the $30 Clay T-shirts and $10 Clay posters (to say nothing of the throngs of self-proclaimed Claymates) seem just as hard to fathom.
"It's weird to think that all these people are here to see Clay," says Pusey. "I'm happy for him, but he still seems like the same old Clay, y'know?"

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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #26 on: September 07, 2010, 10:49:47 PM »
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  ST LOUIS TODAY - ARTICLE
« Reply #26 on: August 16, 2003, 08:10:08 PM »   

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American Idols are idling on radio playlists
Kevin Johnson - Post-Dispatch Pop Music
08/16/2003

Thank "American Idol" for re-inventing the amateur talent show, not to mention inspiring a raft of inferior imitations.

But, despite the proliferation of talent contests, "American Idol" remains the best. For two seasons, with a third on the way in January, we've grown accustomed to — even to love — Simon Cowell's bitchy barbs, Randy Jackson's insufferable "dawgs," Paula Abdul's constant tears and Ryan Seacrest's tousled hair. They are the constants in a weekly musical drama featuring fame-seeking singers giving their all — even when they have nothing to offer.

Sure, "American Idol" has spawned its share of bombs. The "From Justin to Kelly" movie and Justin Guarini's CD vanished quickly — thankfully. But most of what comes out of the "American Idol" camp is sunny and successful from season one champ Kelly Clarkson's hit CD to the quick sales of singles from Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken to the hot "American Idols Live!" tour coming to Savvis Center Sunday night.

The franchise is at the top of its game.  So why hasn't radio tuned in?

Regardless of how popular "American Idol" CDs and singles are in record stores, the music can't catch a break on radio, including St. Louis airwaves. Radio is the consistent hitch in the "American Idol" onslaught. The notable exception is Clarkson, who's accepted at pop and adult contemporary stations. But the others are suffering, including the top two from the show's second season, Studdard and runner-up Aiken, along with Guarini.

When Aiken and Studdard released double-sided singles of their songs "This Is the Night" / "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "Flying Without Wings" / "Superstar," respectively, sales figures startled the record industry. Aiken was good for 393,000 copies his first week out, while Studdard brought in 286,000 copies. Those CD singles flew off the shelves, while many radio programmers looked the other way.

On Billboard magazine's Hot 100 Singles Sales chart, Aiken is enjoying his eighth week on top, while Studdard is No. 3. But on the Hot 100 Airplay chart, neither artist is listed.

One local Aiken fan, Ami Christianson of Glendale, called it an "American Idol" taint. "A lot of DJs see 'American Idol' as a cheesy show and have this idea (the contestants) haven't paid their dues yet. This instant stardom doesn't make it legit. But what's legitimate and what's not? Who decides who's good and who isn't," says Christianson, who has never heard a song by an American Idol on the radio.

"The public wants to listen to this, or they wouldn't be buying it," says Christianson.

So why has radio shunned "American Idol" music? Some say the music isn't good enough, doesn't fit in with what's hot or that the show is just a fad. Others suggest the music doesn't work outside of the context of the TV show.

"You can't deny a hit record," says Dwight Stone, program director at KATZ-FM (100.3 the Beat), one of a couple of stations in St. Louis playing Studdard's "Superstar."

But some of his on-air cohorts have decided you can.

KATZ's main competitor, WFUN-FM (Q95.5), isn't playing Studdard. A representative from the station said they were "waiting to see the development of the song. But we're big fans of Ruben's."

Taylor J. is music director at KSLZ–FM (Z107.7), the most likely home for "American Idol" music. But that's not what's happening there. "We're not touching those songs," says Taylor J. "That Ruben song is good, but it completely doesn't work with what we're doing. Neither does the Clay song. The songs aren't compatible with everything else that's going on."

Clarkson is what's going on at Z107.7, along with Justin Timberlake, Eminem, Avril Lavigne and Michelle Branch. Guarini never made the cut. "It was really unfortunate timing for him. The movie bombed, and, the same week, they wanted his song to break," says Taylor J.

It's just as tough for Studdard and Aiken. "The singles were disappointing. We were hoping what was produced out of the second 'Idols' would be closer to Kelly," she says. "It's beyond me why the producers and record companies aren't trying to do the same thing."

Z107.7 targets 18-to-34-year-olds, and Taylor J. believes those two songs sound older than their demographic. "Maybe the record company knows they already have 18-34 locked in, so they're trying to get the older audience, then come back to the core audience. We hope that happens," she says.

She has faith Studdard's CD will come through for them once she learned he's recording with rapper Fat Joe.

Greg Hewitt, music director at adult contemporary station KYKY-FM (Y-98), tested Studdard and Aiken's songs on air but didn't get much response. "I wasn't a big fan of either of those songs," Hewitt says.

That wasn't the case with Clarkson. "We played (Clarkson's first single) 'A Moment Like This.' At the time it was a novelty. Nobody knew what this girl was about, if she'd have a career. But of all the people on the show, she's the one who probably does. We had great success with (follow-up single) 'Miss Independent.' We're still playing it."

But Studdard and Aiken are a different story for Hewitt and Y-98. "There wasn't anything terribly special about either one of them. The good thing about 'Miss Independent' for us was that it was fun, upbeat and danceable. Clay's and Ruben's songs were a little 'schlocky.' They didn't have great appeal for our audience, and requests died down. Ruben didn't do anything different that made his song special, and Clay's song wasn't great."

But there's a different feeling at KATZ and KMJM-FM (Majic 105), sister stations to KSLZ, all owned by Clear Channel Radio. Stone says Studdard did a great job with "Superstar," which is played alongside hip-hop hits by David Banner and Bone Crusher. But stations with hip-hop formats are shying away because it sounds too old. Stations fear listeners will "punch out" because the record is too "ballady."

Though Stone wanted to take on Studdard's "Superstar," he didn't play it immediately. "At first I was the same way (as the other stations)," says Stone. But Stone allowed history to play a part in spinning Studdard. Before coming to St. Louis, Stone worked in Birmingham, Studdard's hometown. He remembers Studdard coming to the Birmingham station when he was part of the group Just a Few Cats.

Studdard asked Stone personally why he wasn't playing his new record. "Relationships go a long way. So I said I'll give it a shot. It doesn't make sense to watch someone grow and not give them a shot," says Stone.

But what if Stone didn't know Studdard? "That's hard to say, because I do know him. But all the stations playing it are doing well with it. You can't say it sounds too old. Look at Ron Isley. He's the oldest man in the game," says Stone of the lead singer of the Isley Brothers, who is still a force at R&B radio. "So don't be afraid to play the man who won the respect of the country but not the respect of the playlists."

Chaz Saunders, on-air personality at KMJM, says her station embraces "Superstar" because "American Idol" is so popular. "The whole 'American Idol' thing is the biggest thing people are talking about. It's huge. So I think if radio stations are going to play it, now is the time. The record is a good record. I hear a hit. We wouldn't be playing the record if it wasn't a hit," says Saunders. "The phones are going off the hook for it. People are calling for it."

"When it's your season, it's your season, and right now it's Ruben's season," adds Saunders. But she thinks the song could be bigger. "Ruben needs some work, some PR work."

Joe Litvag heads up the St. Louis offices of Anschutz Entertainment Group/Concerts West, which is promoting "American Idols Live." He chalks up the problem with radio to radio's strict formatting, playlists tightening by the day and big corporations dictating what stations must play.

"They can't think outside the box and play something they might not normally play. But if the product is solid enough, I think they'll play it," Litvag says. "Radio play, or lack thereof, has no effect on ticket sales. Sales are extremely strong. We've already surpassed paid attendance figures from last year."

With or without radio, Litvag believes that "each one of the 10 finalists from the second season has the chance to become stars in their own right."

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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #27 on: September 07, 2010, 10:52:42 PM »
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  PEOPLE MAGAZINE - Q & A
« Reply #27 on: August 18, 2003, 12:42:20 AM »   

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The American Idol runner-up talks about his new album, his friendship with Ruben and the power of Stevie Wonder
 By AMANDA ORR
 
"It's a lot of hard work," says Aiken about recording his first album, Measure of a Man.   
 
What's the measure of a man? If you're Clay Aiken, it's more than just a vote tally on American Idol. Ever since his second-place finish on FOX's hugely popular talent hunt (behind "velvet teddy bear" and good friend Ruben Studdard), the big-voiced 24-year-old from North Carolina has topped the charts with his single "Bridge Over Troubled Water/This Is the Night." Aiken is now finishing up work on his hotly anticipated debut album, Measure of a Man. PEOPLE caught up with Aiken while he was in Washington, D.C., lobbying lawmakers to support the American Film Institute's Screen Education Program. It's a subject close to Aiken's heart: He was on his way to a career as a special education teacher before competing for the Idol crown.

When will we get to hear your album?
Soon. We are very close to being done — almost finished. We're actually waiting on Ruben (Studdard) to finish because his album comes out first. We're best friends, but we want to make sure that we don't compete with each other.

So, you and Ruben actually are best friends?
Oh my goodness, yes. We see each other every day, but when we don't, we talk on the phone. Is making an album what you thought it would be? It's a lot of hard work. Ruben and I talk about how amazed we are when we listen to older albums like Stevie Wonder (made) back in the '70s. You think to yourself, Stevie Wonder had to sing that song all the way through from beginning to end — with the band, in one take, with no mistakes, because they couldn't cut and paste. It amazes me. And that's what surprised me, is how intricate the recording process is today. The microphones pick up any little difference between takes so you have to go back and record things over and over again. And you know, sometimes it gets a little old, especially when you're not singing the whole song. When I'm singing one line at a time, seven times in a row, I'm thinking, "I'm sick of that line, let's move on to the next one."

Who are you working with on the album?
Well, my album is solo, so there aren't any duets, but I'm working with a lot of amazing producers like Steve Morales — who wrote and produced for Enrique Iglesias and Shakira — Cathy Dennis, who wrote and produced Kelly Clarkson's "Before Your Love," and Desmond Child, who wrote a lot of Ricky Martin's biggest hits. I like that fact that every producer I've worked with is unique so they all bring something else to the table, and I learn something different from each one of them. (But) everything on the album is true to me. There is nothing that is inappropriate. It seems like pretty often I have to turn the radio down when somebody comes on. This is an album that you can play completely through without having to turn it down at all.   

After the album, what else is in your future?
I'd love to sing a duet with Faith Hill. I really want to sing one with her. I hope she reads this article. I know Simon said I should do Broadway, but it's not anything that I ever thought I'd be interested in. Maybe down the road I might consider it.

How are you adjusting to fame?
It still confuses me. Sometimes I just don't get it. Like today, I was did a press conference and there were fans there. And I was just never star struck personally.

Do you still get tips from judges Simon Cowell or Randy Jackson?
Nope, I don't. Randy helped us put the band together for the tour, and we got some really good advice from him about how to tour, and how to do a live show. That was really beneficial to us. Simon Cowell's record label is distributing the album when it goes international, so I haven't had any contact with him yet, but I will when that happens.

You seemed so confident on stage during the show. Were you nervous at all?
I was scared to death inside, but I told myself, "You can be nervous all you want to before and after, but while you're out there, you better hide it." Because if it shows, you'll get voted off.

What do you want people to say about the album when it comes out?
I want them to say, "I have seven copies."
 
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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #28 on: September 07, 2010, 10:54:44 PM »
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  BILLBOARD - ARTICLE
« Reply #28 on: August 18, 2003, 03:53:37 PM »   

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THE LONGEST 'NIGHT': Clay Aiken's "This Is the Night" / "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (RCA) becomes the longest-running No. 1 single from the "American Idol" franchise on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Sales chart, as it remains in pole position for the ninth consecutive week. The previous record-holder was the single "This Is the Night" succeeded, "God Bless the U.S.A." That song by the American Idol Finalists was on top for eight weeks in a row. The first "American Idol" single, "A Moment Like This" by Kelly Clarkson, ruled for five consecutive weeks in October-November 2002.

"This Is the Night" -- which has managed to retain its crown despite some extremely close competition from Korn's "Did My Time" and Hilary Duff's "So Yesterday" -- has the longest consecutive run at No. 1 since Madonna's "Die Another Day" led the list for 11 weeks in a row from November 2002 through January 2003.

Aiken's tenure at No. 1 on Hot 100 Singles Sales faces a new threat, from another "American Idol" single. The spin-off series "American Juniors" comes to a conclusion Aug. 19, and the single "One Step Closer" (Jive) will debut next week. If the American Juniors debut at No. 1, it will be the third consecutive single from the Simon Fuller-created franchise to be No. 1 on the sales chart. The last time a non-"Idol" single was the best-selling single in the U.S. was the week of April 26, when "Picture" by Kid Rock featuring Sheryl Crow was in its 12th non-consecutive week at No. 1.

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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #29 on: September 07, 2010, 10:55:59 PM »
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CLAY TO PERFORM TITN LIVE ON MISS AMERICA PAGEANT 9/20
« Reply #29 on: August 20, 2003, 05:35:43 PM »   

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SINGING SENSATION CLAY AIKEN TO PERFORM HIS HIT SONG,
“THIS IS THE NIGHT,” LIVE ON ABC’S “MISS AMERICA” TELECAST SEPTEMBER 20

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – August 19, 2003 – “American Idol” singing sensation Clay Aiken -- who has catapulted to the top of the singles charts with “This Is the Night” -- will help kick off this year’s live “Miss America” telecast with a dazzling performance of his hit signature song. Emmy-winner Tom Bergeron, star of ABC’s “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” and “Hollywood Squares” will host “Miss America’s” final night of glittering competition, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 (8:00-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.
Aiken, the 24-year-old Raleigh, North Carolina native, whose spectacular voice and boy-next-door charm won the hearts of millions of viewers who voted for him in the climactic “Idol” finale in May against eventual winner, Ruben Studdard, will take the stage on Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall shortly before his debut CD on RCA Records hits the stores.
Aiken’s first single with his lush original song, “This is the Night,” and his towering rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” soared up the Billboard Hot 100, debuting at number one. More than 392,000 copies were sold the first week, the highest one-week total of any single since Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind” in 1997.
The busy singer has spent the summer on tour across America with “American Idols Live!,” even as he worked with legendary executive producer Clive Davis, “American Idol” creator Simon Fuller and a team of other top producers and songwriters to complete the recording of his first album, which is scheduled for release in October. He has also recently set up the Bubel-Aiken Foundation, an organization that helps integrate individuals with disabilities into programs that traditionally have been reserved for those without disabilities.
A special education major at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Aiken loves working with children and individuals with autism, and had an entirely different plan for his life mapped out when opportunity came knocking and he auditioned for the second season of “American Idol.”

As the world’s largest provider of scholarship assistance for young women and one of the nation’s leading achievement programs, The Miss America Organization made available more than $45 million in cash and tuition scholarship assistance last year. Based in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the Miss America Organization provides young women with a vehicle to further their personal and professional goals and instills a spirit of community service through a variety of unique nationwide community-based programs.
Additional information about the Miss America Organization can be found at http://www.MissAmerica.org/
Media who wish to cover the 2003 Miss America Competition can download a Press Credential package online at http://www.MissAmerica.org/news/presscred.asp.
For photography, contact PR@MissAmerica.org or call 609.345.7571 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              609.345.7571      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

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