Friday, January 26, 2007

Fans Mark Fourth Anniversary

A THOUSAND DAYS -- The second single from Clay Aiken's album, A Thousand Different Ways, is picking up spins as his fans prepare for the Atlanta audition anniversary. Graphic by Katt45, photos by Karen Eh.

'Always and Forever' Audition

Fans Mark Fourth Anniversary

For Clay Aiken fans, January 28 -- a date that represents the founding of the Carnegie Institute (1902), the shocking destruction of the space shuttle Challenger (the "Teacher in Space" mission) 73 seconds after liftoff (1986), and the unveiling of producer Clive Davis's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (1997) -- marks the fourth anniversary since the singer's Atlanta audition was first aired on American Idol.

Who could have predicted the musical journey we on the Clay Train would take with this amazing man as he sang those first few notes for the AI judges, the difference this positive role model would make in the lives of people around the globe, the close Internet friendships that would form all because of a skinny, speckled red-headed guy with big feet, floppy ears, and a magnificent singing voice?

Fan celebrations of the Atlanta anniversary -- long ago tagged "He Had Me at Take" -- will soon be in full swing with the donning of CA tee/sweat shirts for the day, watching AI2 CLACK, sharing initial memories of the VOX four years ago as well as thoughts about how lives have changed since Clay Aiken became a part of our world.

This is Pixieglitter's YouTube video of the Atlanta audition as televised on 1/28/03. She also has included special clips compiled by Hosaa:

The Atlanta Audition

Fans Recall Jan. 28, 2003

I missed the audition we commemorate this weekend. A friend asked me what I thought of the skinny kid from North Carolina, so I promptly located a video clip online and tuned into AI from then on to cheer for this amazing singer from my home state. I'm sure I would have had the same initial reaction as the fans quoted below.

Where were you and what were your thoughts upon hearing Clay for the first time? Special thanks to these Clayversity members for allowing me to share their experience in this blog:

Txwriter: I was folding clothes in the bedroom, watching on the bedroom TV, and DH [Dear Husband] was watching in the living room. I didn't even glance at the TV until Clay started singing, but once I did, I was completely mesmerized. Like Randy, I couldn't believe that voice was coming out of that body. The minute his clip was done, I started down the hallway to find DH. Funny thing is he had gotten up to come and find me, so we met each other halfway. We were both completely blown away by his talent and rooted for him from then on.

Wildaboutclay: I still remember the moment vividly. I didn't plan to watch AI2, but it was a slow TV night, and I was channel surfing. By some stroke of fate, I turned AI on as Clay was being introduced. Because I love voices and am naturally curious, I kept it on as he began to sing. WOW! I still remember yelling to my husband in the other room that "this guy has a good voice." I was hooked after that because I wanted to see how he did. When it came to Open Arms night, I was convinced he had the best voice there.

Onemorefan: I can remember watching Clay walk into the room. When he put his arms out and said, "I am the next American Idol," I thought he was cute but sort of expected him to not have a good voice. Then he started singing, and I was actually shocked that someone with that good a voice wasn't already a recording star.

Vjm: I wasn't really watching AI. It was on the television by chance, just as background noise. I was doing some serious cleaning in my bedroom, moving books, cleaning the glass of picture frames, rearranging closets. I wasn't even facing the television. I didn't see Clay walk into the audition and didn't tune in to his talk about being the next American Idol. I didn't see what he looked like. But then he sang that first phrase, I was immediately captivated, turned around, and sat on the edge of the bed to watch the rest. That's all it took. He's had my attention ever since.

Nette: The night of the Atlanta audition I had been sleeping on the couch, woke up, picked up the remote and started channel surfing. When I came to Fox, I recognized the show as the one my son had liked the year before. I watched it for a while, but was disgusted at the bad auditions. I picked up the remote to change the channel just as Clay walked in. He caught my attention before he even started to sing. There was the brightest aura around him even on TV. When he sang, I just froze. This was the best voice I had ever heard, and I could not understand why they were haggling about his looks. He looked beautiful, and with his voice why did they care. He took the darkness out of my life that night, and I knew I would beat cancer because there was just no way I was going to leave Clay.

Roseviolet: Like a lot of other people, I only saw the last couple of episodes of AI1 and found it intriguing. When AI2 started, I was determined to watch it from the beginning. When Clay first stepped up for his audition, I thought, "Oh dear, he's going to be one of the bad ones" and then was totally blown away by his voice. I felt that connection with him from that point on. It has only been further cemented in place over the years. I don't know why. I have never felt this way about any singer before, not even when I really was 12.

PHOTO INTERMISSION: This clickable interlude features graphics highlighting the past four years. Visual artists represented include Amazing_CA, photos by Tasapio, 1; A Beautiful Mind, 2; Ambassador of Love, 3; Cindilu2, photos by Tasapio, 4; and CLAYPERFECT, 5.

Season 2 Memories Still Vivid

Dylan: When he returned for the Wildcard Show and sang DLTSGDOM, that's when I noticed the singing voice for the first time. I was thinking "who is this guy who swallows the last note in each phrase?" I had never heard anyone sing like that before. From that time on, I was and still am a complete goner.

Rcknrllmom: I believe I was where I needed to be four years ago. Just coming out of a life altering situation being diagnosed with cancer and going through all the emotions and treatments. I had faith, for sure; I had to. But life was just starting to go on. We were all watching the night Clay sang for the judges for the first time. I think my mouth dropped open at the voice that came out. I was amazed; I was hooked. My heart opened that night, too. The joy was back. It started with a simple word -- "Take" -- and has grown a thousand-fold since.

Claylee: The beginning of my love affair with Clay began with DLTSGDOM in the Wildcard Show but really blossomed when, during an interview, he was talking about Simon's remarks to him about not looking like a pop star. Clay said he would always have these (flipping his ears out) and that he was okay with that. There was no vanity, no embarrassment, just pure honesty. He got me with that, and the rest is history.

Saltwaterdog: I remember Clay well. I remember his confidence. I remember thinking how beautiful his skin and cheekbones were. And the voice! Mr. Salt and I just looked at each other and went, "WOW!" We laughed at the comments, agreeing that Clay did not look like a pop star, and cheered when Clay went on to the next step. We still tease the neighbors about how they got us started watching AI, blaming them for how we travel cross-country to see Clay in concert.

Mguffey5, also a Clay Dawg: I wasn't into the whole American Idol thing and wasn't going to watch, but I had a friend who called me and told me all about this guy who blew the competition away. He told me I had to see/hear him sing. That was the day after the Atlanta audition, so I had to go online and find a download of him -- and that was it; I was hooked. The friend who put me on this journey has since passed away. I not only stay for myself but a part of me stays because of the man who started me on this path.

Irishbookgal: During the Atlanta audition show I was listening while I was in the kitchen baking chocolate chip cookies. I was just about to take a batch out of the oven when Clay began to sing. His voice just did something to me; and I jerked, burning my hand on the oven as I ran to see just who that was. My cookies burned to a crisp, and I still have a little "Clay scar" on my my hand. He had me hook, line, and sinker from "take"!

Bumpy Road to Final 12

As longtime CA fans know, Clay lost to Quiana Parler, now one of his backup singers, in the finals of his Charlotte audition. Thankfully, he was determined enough to drive to Atlanta and try again. That stubbornness served him well as he was eventually bumped again in Hollywood, returning for the Wildcard Show and blowing everyone away with his rendition of Don't Let the Sun Go Down. The American public responded by voting the North Carolinian into the final field of 12.

Though Clay finished second to winner Ruben Studdard in the spring finale, he has attracted countless fans from multiple generations with his golden voice, entertaining shows, and a profound dedication to use his celebrity to make a difference. Co-founder of The Bubel/Aiken Foundation with a mission of inclusion for all children, Clay serves as a special ambassador for UNICEF and has traveled throughout the world promoting these causes. He was recently appointed to the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.

Aspiegirl's montage of If You Don't Know Me By Now, a bonus cut from ATDW, provides an overview of Clay's career as an entertainer, as well as his philanthropic endeavors:

If You Don't Know Me By Now

ATD Video, Single In the News

Yahoo Music is currently premiering the concert video for the A Thousand Days single. Most fans are streaming the video, and those registered with Yahoo may also rate it.

The video is also featured on Yahoo's daily online show, The 9. The host gushes that ATD has "all the elements of a hit." Fans can also vote for the video at The 9's web site.

According to Fred Bronson's 1/25/07 "Chart Beat" Billboard column, ATD is Clay's 14th chart entry:

Opening at No. 25 is "Change" (Curb/Reprise), the sixth chart entry for Kimberley Locke, third place finalist on season two of "American Idol." Her former roommate and former rival on the TV series, Clay Aiken, bows at No. 29 with his 14th chart entry, "A Thousand Days" (RCA).

Message boards are enjoying ATD's gradual climb in spins, often streaming stations far and near. Thursday at Clayversity we just happened to catch the premiere spin on Toledo 101.5 The River shortly after noon. Stay tuned as we follow this single up the charts!

Below is a clickable of Katt45's ATD graphic from the top:

Idol Found, Game Over! Have a great weekend, Clay Nation!


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Vox Vixen said...

It's hard to believe it has been four years already. I loved your blog and all the memories. Aspiegirl did a wonderful job on that montage. I must have missed it because I don't remember it. I'm glad you included it.


allison said...

wow it is inded hard to beleve that clay came into all of our lives 4years imissed the part when clay came in to sing for the judges in atlanta

Anonymous said...

I am glad Clay came into my life.
I have not admired a celebrity like I do Clay. Great artist. Real.
Excellent role model. Unafraid to be himself. Anf funny, funny funny!