Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Celebrating Five Years of Clay

REFLECTIONS -- Clay Aiken fans this week commemorate the night they first heard his voice in the Jan. 28, 2003 telecast of American Idol Season 2 Atlanta Auditions. Graphic animation by Cindilu2.

From Atlanta to Broadway

Aiken Fans Mark Five Years

Every year at this time, Clay Aiken fans stop and commemorate the anniversary of The Vox. On Jan. 28, 2003, American Idol telecast Season 2's Atlanta Auditions in which the North Carolina singer's glorious pipes were first heard in homes throughout North America.

For countless fans, now known the world over as Claymates, the beautiful strains of "Always and Forever" were just the beginning. Many have been riding the Clay Train ever since.

Recollections honoring the occasion appear throughout message boards and in CA-related blogs, none more memorable than the essay by Berkeley at The ConCLAYve: Clay Aiken: Day One, Year Six: The Singer, Diane, and Mike:

On January 28, 2003, millions of people heard you sing for the first time. I was one of the people who met you at “Take.”

Five years later, you are still here and showing a more wide-ranging talent than ever before, performing before enthusiastic and appreciative audiences while appearing in your debut on Broadway.

From Atlanta to Broadway
Wallpaper by Fountaindawg

Collage Celebrates Journey

Fountaindawg's collage "From Atlanta to Broadway" is another special commemoration of the January events of 2003 and 2008, replete with photos and quotations signifying the initial introduction, as well as Clay's successful leap onto the Broadway stage as Sir Robin in "Spamalot" this month.

During the Jan. 28, 2003, telecast, AI judge Simon Cowell began the now famous litany that he continued off and on throughout the competition: "You don't look like a pop star."

In this month's media promos, "Spamalot" director Mike Nichols has frequently spoken of Clay's talent this way:

"Clay Aiken is amazing beyond that glorious voice. Turns out he is an excellent comic actor and a master of character. People will be surprised by his wide ranging talent, since the first impression is of great country charm and a singer to remember. This guy is not only a star, he is a lot more.

We are lucky to get him for Spamalot. ... The guy is not only a star; he is a lot more."

Photo links to 'Find Your Grail' montage by Suereu

Also celebrating the five years from Atlanta to Broadway is Suereu's excellent montage: Clay, Find Your Grail, which can be viewed on YouTube.

TBAF Raises Funds in Parade Challenge

Although The Bubel/Aiken Foundation did not obtain enough donors to be one of four US charities to receive $50,000 from Parade Magazine’s Giving Challenge, the total money raised will help fund the Let’s All Play Camps project.

The campaign ended at 3 p.m. Thursday with TBAF in sixth place and 1,917 contributors. At 8:30 p.m. funds were stil being registered, and supporters can make a donation at this link.

The final tallies can be viewed at
Six Degrees.

PHOTO INTERLUDE: Featured in this clickable interlude are graphics by Amazing_CA, 1, 2; ABeautifulMind, 3; Ambassador of Love, 4; and Clayquebec1, 5.

Reviewer: 'Color Me Surprised'

Sunday Idol Thoughts was positively amazed with Clay's performance in "Spamalot," and the review reflects just that. Here are a couple of graphs from Color Me Surprised: Clay Aiken Is Fantastic in Spamalot:

If I'm being totally honest, I didn't go into today's matinee performance of Spamalot with the highest of expectations. Since it had been announced that Clay Aiken was joining the Broadway cast in the role of Sir Robin I've been dubious as to how goodof a fit the American Idol runner-up and the Monty Python show would be.

Well color me very pleasantly surprised -- Clay was great!

His voice was, of course, fantastic, but it was his comic timingand his dancing that shocked me the most. From the moment he appeared on stage, he was totally, and delightfully, in character, and he maintained that commitment throughout the entire show. He delivered his lines like an old pro, and completely embraced his character's often quirky movement, footwork, and comic bits, even when they required him to make fun of himself.

Best of all -- he appeared to be having the time of his life. The often irreverent humor of the show seemed to fit him like a glove, and he imbued each of his scenes with what appeared to be a genuine sense of joy.

Wildcard Show Next on AI2 Rewind

Ironically, this weekend's segment of American Idol 2 Rewind will feature Clay's triumphant return to the competition on the 2003 Wildcard Show. After coming in third in the Group 2 round, the singer was called back to Hollywood and voted through in the Wildcard Show.

Check your local listings for the air date. "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" is a performance not to be missed!

AI2 Rewind Schedule

Feb. 2: Wildcard Show
Feb. 9: Top 12 to 11
Feb. 16: Top 11 to 10
Feb. 23: Top 10 to 9
Mar. 1: Top 9 to 8
Mar. 8: Top 8 to 7
Mar. 15: Top 7 to 6
Mar. 22: Top 6 to 5
Mar. 29: Top 5 to 4
April 5: Top 4 to 3
April 12: Top 3 to 2
April 19: Final 2
April 26: Finale

Kai Discovers New Toy

Although grandson Kai still enjoys the buttons on the TV control, he has discovered a new favorite toy -- his grandfather's glasses, which he doesn't think twice about removing and examining.

When I See You Smile

The above photo was edited by Kai's fairy godmother Sally, who turned around and made him the center of a bowl of Valentine hearts in the version below. Both are clickable.

Grandma's Valentine

Sally's tutorial for these pictures is posted in the Photo Editing Thread in Clayversity's Paint Shop Pro Forum.

Below is a clickable of Cindilu2's opening graphic, "Reflections":

Have an awesome week, Clay Nation!


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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Aiken Promotes 'Spamalot' Role and More!

AP Photo by Richard Drew, edited by Sally

Clay Aiken, TBAF in the News

Textisms Huge Headache So Far

Since Tuesday's unveiling of Clay Aiken's new fan club format, I have studied so many links, blogs, and tables trying to unlock the secrets of Textism lingo that the left side of my brain literally aches. Not that I have too much on that side -- after all, I am a musician.

Due to a terrible case of laryngitis (we are talking everything from a three-octave speaking range and squeaky partial phrases to no voice at all!), I was forced to reschedule three new piano students for next Friday. The head of the music academy where I teach even made the phone calls for me.

Meanwhile, I don't feel bad -- no fever, no cold, just no voice. So I literally devoted much of Friday to trying to break the new Textism system of the Official Fan Club.

There has been some progress. Translation: several of us now know how to post images, clickables, links, photo links, and make minor bold/italic type adjustments. Nothing like the arsenal of HTML directives normally in hand.

UPDATE on TBAF Charity Badge: Only a few days remain for The Bubel/Aiken Foundation to secure one of the four winning positions in Parade Magazine's Giving Challenge. To earn $50,000 for five Let's All Play Camps, TBAF needs more donors of at least $10.50 (Paypal fee included) by 3 p.m. Jan. 31.

Make your donation towards the total at this link. Monday morning TBAF dropped to 5th place with 1,254 donors.

Other charities vying for the 4th spot include the Idea League, now leading with 1,380 donors, and Engineers Without Borders, 1,180 donors. Up-to-date tallies can be viewed here and periodically in this blog.

'Test Zone' Yields Some Success

English teachers tell us we are allowed a measly number of dashes in our lifetime, the quota for which I long ago surpassed. In the Textism order of things, I quickly learned that if I accidentally use a double dash, it becomes a strike-through. That, however, is a minor detail in this new scheme we fans are trying to crack.

It's all the other stuff like font face, color, size, placement that have me in a spin, so much so that Friday morning I began a running "lab" in an OFC blog entry entitled "Textism Test Zone." Throughout the day I tested, altered, scratched, and saved a variety of codes from this crazy language now controlling the OFC blogs.

It's a good thing I have a hard head because I don't give up easily. Anyone with a super duper tutorial for this "computer speak" is welcome to share the link.

We bloggers at Clay Aiken's fan club would be most grateful. I wouldn't doubt this stuff is a snap on Singer Man's cute little iPhone!

AP Photo by Richard Drew, edited by Sally

'Spamalot' Star Makes Headlines

After closing the books on the day's "foreign language" studies, I gathered some of the awesome publicity Clay and "Spamalot" have received from this week's Internet and print interviews, as well as mass media appearances. Links to on-site videos and two Sendspace downloads are included below.

Mark Kennedy's Associated Press story is still making headlines throughout North America. For longtime and new fans alike, the article is well worth the read.

These nuggets are taken from Yahoo's link: Ex-Idol Clay Aiken Slips Into 'Spamalot'. The same article with a different picture can be read at CBS News Online.

NEW YORK - Clay Aiken is trying to become the next American Idle.

The singer, who burst to fame during the second season of "American Idol," has made his Broadway debut in "Monty Python's Spamalot" - in creator Eric Idle's old role.

"There's a lot of pressure," Aiken says. "To think about how many people dream of doing something like this and to have the opportunity is pretty humbling."


Associate director Peter Lawrence says Aiken has been no idle diva; the singer asked to be treated like any other company member and has been surprisingly fearless.

"Clay really surprised me. When you meet him, he's this sweet kid from North Carolina with an accent. And you think there's no way he can do Cambridge material. And then he does," says Lawrence.

"It's been a total delight and a surprise for me and everyone in the company to work with Clay because he can do things you'd never imagine he could do."


"There's not really a market in North Carolina to sing for a living. There's not that career path for people. So I never really assumed or had any dreams or aspirations to sing," he says.

That changed in the seventh grade when his mother took him and a friend to a local production of the musical "Big River," starring Martin Moran as Huckleberry Finn.

"It was the first time ever that I looked on stage and saw people — you know, adults — singing. And I thought, 'Wow, wait a second. You can actually sing for a living?'" he recalls. "From that point on, I kind of allowed music to be a part of my what-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up scenario."

PHOTO INTERLUDE: The featured clickables parallel some of Clay's media appearances promoting "Spamalot" and his upcoming CD. Represented are visual artists Amazing_CA, 1, 2, 5; ABeautifulMind, 3; and MNmeesh, 4, screen caps by ClayIzzaQT.

Clay Appears on Morning Shows

Video of Clay's interview on the
WPIX-TV Morning Show can be seen on the station's website under Celebrity Interview. Here is a Sendspace download of the CW11 interview.

The singer-actor stopped by
The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet Thursday morning. A Sendspace of the appearance can be downloaded here.

Clay also discussed 'Spamalot,' his new CD, and American Idol in an excellent interview with ABC News Radio. Under "Video Search Results," click on
Clay Aiken's 'Spamalot' Stint for the audio playback.

Froggy Throat Keeps Me Legal

On one front, having laryngitis during a stretch of some unusually cold weather probably saved me a traffic fine. I don't know when my new license plate arrived, but I can't tell you how surprised I was to find it while sorting through a lost stack of mail.

The new tag is dated Jan. 15, and the last time I drove my car was the 14th to teach music lessons in High Point. Because of bad weather and the Martin Luther King holiday on the 21st, my car and I have not budged.

With new pianos students on schedule, I made a music store run Thursday. With a depleted pantry, I also included the the grocery store in the morning errands.

First stop, however, was my service station. Sure enough, despite having the new plates on the front seat, if I had been caught driving with outdated tags, I would have received a ticket and - horrors! - an insurance point.

There's at least one benefit to having a resident frog camping out in one's throat!

Kai Survives Four-Month Shots

Grandson Kai passed his four-month checkup with flying colors. He now weighs 12.2 pounds and is 25 inches tall.

The pediatrician said Kai is very strong and very alert. Of course, he wasn't too pleased about the requisite six shots that accompanied this trip to the doc.

"Are you really pulling your hair
out over Textisms, Grandma?"
Photo edited by Sally

Sally’s Photo Editing lessons can be viewed in the Paint Shop Pro Forum at Clayversity. Board membership is required, and other programs are discussed.

Many thnx to Ashes for including the Carolina blog in her current entry about Clay's fans from around the world. You can read her journal at Clay - The Man.

Have a wonderful weekend, Clay Nation!


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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

'Spamalot' Debut Still a Headliner

SPAMALOT STAR -- Clay Aiken opened a four-month stint as Sir Robin in the Broadway show "Spamalot" this weekend. Graphic by Claystruck.

$50,000 Goal for TBAF

Talking-a-Lot About 'Spamalot'

As Clay Aiken begins his first full week of "Spamalot" performances, fans are still sharing opening weekend experiences and enjoying watching the singer-actor promote the Broadway musical on two popular TV shows, "The View" Tuesday and "The Morning Show with Mike and Juliette" on Thursday.

In addition to the all the "Spamalot" talk-a-lot, CA fans are participating in a fund-raising project that could net The Bubel/Aiken Foundation an additional $50,000 donation.

TBAF Competes in Challenge

With less than 10 days remaining in Parade Magazine's Giving Challenge, the goal is to inspire enough people to donate at least $10.50 (includes Paypal fee) so that TBAF will be among the top four U.S. based groups winning $50,000.

Like last year's Kevin Bacon Six Degrees fundraiser,
TBAF is competing with other US-based charities for one of the top four spots. There is a similar competition in play for global-based charities.

The top four charities in the two categories will be determined by the highest number of donors, NOT the total funds collected. To participate, click on the DONATE BUTTON on
TBAF Badge with this link or the badge picture below.

TBAF Badge

Goal: Five More Camps

Winning $50,000 will translate into five more Let's ALL Play inclusive recreational camps for children with disabilities.

Currently in fourth place, TBAF Badge has registered 822 donors. The badge in fifth place badge is close behind with 730 donors. To track TBAF's progress among the charities vying for the top four spots, check

Make your donation soon. Parade's Giving Challenge will close at 3 p.m. EST on Jan. 31.

Clickable caps from 'The View' by Gerwhisp

'The View' Ladies on Their Knees

Clay made a splash on "The View" Tuesday morning, promoting "Spamalot," displaying a bit of his British accent, and answering questions from all four gal hosts at once. In one of the funniest moments on TV, he and the four women -- Whoopi, Joy, Sherri, and Elizabeth -- got down on their knees for a bit of the Russian dance he performs in the Broadway show.

Elizabeth added, "Only Clay Aiken could get us all on our knees." A video of the appearance is featured on
The Huffington Post. Clay and "The View" gals are also leading AOL's Top 5 List. Drop by, and cast a vote.

You can download Tuesday's interview with this Sendspace link:
The View.

Check local listings, and set those recording devices for the singer's Thursday appearance on
The Morning Show with Mike and Juliette.

Opening Weekend Events Shared

Clay's debut weekend of a four-month "Spamalot" run can be termed an all-around, rip-roaring success. In these recaps, the singer-actor's supporters share their New York City experiences, conversations with Not.Just.Us fans, and surprise accolades from current cast members.

SOUTHERN BELLE: I struck up conversations with people sitting next to me at Friday's show, and they were all Not.Just.Us. I overhead a man telling his wife that "Clay Aiken is playing Sir Robin." I asked if he followed Clay, and he said he liked him on AI.

After I told him much of what I know about our singer-actor, he was very serious when he then asked me if I was Clay's mother. I told him no, but that she was there. I guess he thought no one other than Clay's mother would know so much about him.

The other man and woman next to me were from Connecticut. She followed Clay on AI, watches videos of him on YouTube, and chatted on about him. She even brought up Kimmel and how Kimmel was mean to him and now is friends with him. She is not on the boards, but I suggested she join the fan club.

The guy with her said he is such a nice, regular guy who is a star but represents us regular people. This man had seen "Spamalot" recently with the same cast, and he was blown away by the energy of the crowd which transferred to all the performances on his stage. He said the difference between the other performance and this one was startling.

It's a Small World

LIBRA1014: It's a small world. In a conversation with a patient, I mentioned that I had seen "Spamalot" on Sunday; and he said, "Oh my cousin is in it."

His cousin is Brad Oscar (played Sir Galahad's mother), and he previously was a lead in "The Producers" for a long while. He talked about how hard it is for actors to get work, his cousin is now known and has kept busy, but it is very tough for so many.

This reinforced for me what an honor for Clay to be given this role. He is surrounded by seasoned actors, and his role is that of a lead character. Stunt casting or not, for him to do so well right off the bat is pretty cool.

PHOTO INTERLUDE: This clickable collection features the talents of eight visual artists, including Amazing_CA, photo by Joan Marcus, 1; Amazing_CA, photo by Irishbookgal, 2; Katt45, photo by Marcus, 3; MNmeesh, photo by Marcus, 4; and Artz11, photos by Irishbookgal and BigAppleforClay, 5.

Cast Applauds CA Fan Support

PERMASWOONED: I think that the cast is starting to "get it" about one of the best aspects of the Clay fandom, which is many of us are willing to spread the love around. There are lots of wigs and makeup in this show, so it's easy to miss some of the cast. However, by the third show day, our intrepid band of frozen fans were able to start to pick them out.

The cast members exit and start to pass the crowd, but people call out to them and ask for autographs. They call them by their real names. They tell them how much they enjoyed their performances.

Tonight someone called out to Christopher Sieber that she enjoyed his appearance on "Pushing Daisies." He was stunned that someone would have known that he had done that and acknowledged him for it.

One of my favorites in the cast is Tom Deckman, who plays Prince Herbert and various other hilarious parts. I dearly hope that all of you still coming to the show get to see him. Most of the stage door fans love him. He got stopped for autographs and people wanted their pictures taken with him. One person after another told him how great he was in the show.

As he was signing a playbill for the person in front of me, he said, "You guys are amazing!! You are so supportive. I can't tell you how appreciative all of us are for that."

ROCKYS MOM: One of the funniest things that happened to me was at the Sunday matinee. I showed my ticket to the usher and as she was handing me my playbill, she looked at me and deadpanned, "You again???"

Photo links to Debut Weekend Slide Show

The above Spamalot Debut Weekend Slide Show contains photos by Irishbookgal, Toni7babe, Scrpkym, Solitaire30, Butterflyshine, BigAppleforClay, as well as professional photographers J.Pellegrini, Steven A. Henry, Joan Marsh, and Bruce Glikas.

More 'Spamalot' Headlines

Clay's debut is featured in People's "Star Tracks":
Getting Spammed.

In the video
Spamalot Royal Tour, David Birrell takes the viewer on a tour backstage at the Palace Theatre with intros to his fellow cast members and glimpses of a some scenes and props. Hannah Waddington, who debuted as Lady of the Lake in the Broadway show on Friday night, is among those featured in the video.

Opening weekend photos by Bruce Glikas are featured in an album on
Broadway.com. See more debut photos by Walter McBride at Broadway World.

Below is a clickable of Claystruck's opening graphic.

Have a wonderful week, Clay Nation!


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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Aiken Opens to Broadway Ovations

AMONG THE STARS -- Friday Clay Aiken opened a four-month stint as Sir Robin in the Broadway show "Spamalot." Graphic by ABeautifulMind, photo by FiveGoldens.

Ovations Rock Shubert Theatre

Clay Aiken Debuts in 'Spamalot'

This weekend Clay Aiken is the toast of the town in New York City. With his spectacular debut Friday in Broadway's award-winning "Spamalot," the singer was everything his director had predicted in promos leading up to the extraordinary night.

"Clay is amazing beyond that glorious voice. Turns out he is an excellent comic actor and a master of character. People are going to be surprised by his wide-ranging talent." -- Mike Nichols

The stunning performance had also been predicted five years ago by American Idol guest judge Gladys Knight:

"You're ... you're ... a mystery. You have your own look. There's something very magical about your look. And your voice is so pure. I don't know in the contemporary world what's going to happen with you, but something exceptional is going to happen for you along the way because you are pure. You're wonderful."

Opening night excitement continued Saturday as both performances were SOLD OUT and "Standing Room Only"!

Unusual Celllcert Breaks Records

Friday's audience was filled with CA fans; and despite the plan to abide by no clack or streams from the theater, Internet fan participation via cellcerts before/after the show, as well as during intermission, registered peak proportions for those back home.

With 721 on board Friday night, Clayversity broke the previous record of 666 set during The Bubel/Aiken Foundation Gala last year. Amazingly, the only transmissions Friday night were fan reactions.

Official critiques of a newcomer in an established show can take a while, but the Clay Nation has prolific recaps from those who attended the singer/actor's Broadway debut. This blog is quoting parts of several from multiple message boards.

Cast Cheers Clay's Performance

Queensmum: This was an absolutely magical night and an experience I will never forget. I knew Clay would be good, but I never thought he would be that good. The joy on his face -- and his fellow cast mates' -- at the curtain call, lifted up my heart. Sir Galahad hugged his arm and patted him on the back ("job well done"), and the King gave a little special acknowledgment of Clay.

A Not.Just.Us man, talking about how good the knight was, thought he was speaking with Clay's mother because the fan knew so much about him.

PanayRN4Clay: What a night! The sold-out Shubert Theater pulsated with cheers for Clay and company. The cast were excellent, but Clay was undeniably the one with the biggest applause. All the numbers were treated with huge cheers, but Clay generated the most "oohs" and "aahs" and the loudest ovation at the finale. What a star!

During the curtain call, Clay was second to the last to come out. He's a superstar. Even his cast mates are acknowledging that when they turned and pointed at him as the whole audience erupted in cheers and a standing ovation.

I was choked up with so much pride for Clay. His face was lit up as he absorbed the love from the audience and the respect from his peers. A nice salute at the end from Clay!

A Master of Comedic Timing

WinkyDink: "Clay was superb. Mike Nichols knew what he was critiquing when he said Clay has excellent comedic timing. The cast knew it, too. At the very end, even "King Arthur," during his own bow, held out his arm to Clay, in acknowledgment."

LinusluvsClay: "The cast looked stunned at the reaction of the audience during the curtain call, and they were loving it! Kind of like the reaction of the Saturday Night Live cast when Clay did the show and came out in the white outfit and the audience went ballistic.

I remember the regular cast looking at each other, grinning and shaking their heads. It was like that tonight. They were all smiling at him and pointing at him, and Clay just beamed. Truly a magical moment!"

Cindilu2: "Beyond amazing! I don't even have the words. He is a natural -- pure and simple. Born to be on the stage. Loved the whole show - it was funny beyond expectations. Laughed until I had tears in my eyes several times.

The Guard, Brother Maynard, and Sir Robin might have been three different people. He made each one unique and awesome. And his voice - just GAH!"

PHOTO INTERLUDE: The first three photos are by Bruce Gilkas of Broadway.com. In the first, Clay is pictured with Hannah Waddingham, who Friday night made her Broadway debut as Lady of the Lake. The second includes original cast member Christopher Sieber, and the third is a cast shot.

Photos 4 and 5 by Irishbookgal and BigAppleforClay, respectively, show the enormous crowd that gathered in Shubert Alley for autographs and to congratulate Clay on his big night.

A Knight To Remember!

Toni7babe: "What a incredible KNIGHT last KNIGHT was! And then what a blast we all had taking over Sardi's afterwards! Truly a KNIGHT I will never forget!

Clay was, as you all know, totally wonderful. His comedic timing, his expressions, and the accent blew me away. I have no words to describe just how wonderful he was.

Some NJU people had attended the show and were waiting near us by the door. They said they had never seen Clay in person or a concert but came when they saw he was going to be in "Spamalot" because they always had liked him on Idol. They said they couldn't believe how good he was, that his expressions were priceless."

Mustbeeme: "Not only did it all "click," but he fit in like a pro! I had more than a few "OMG" moments last night, but I must say seeing the press run and swarm the stage at the end to get pictures of Clay was one of the best ones."

Applause Raises the Rafters

Playbiller: "At the end, the applause was loud and long for everyone from the chorus members to the king. It was loudest for Clay; he was next to last, only followed by the king. After the king took his bow, he pointed to Clay in the line and the thunderous applause came again.

Perhaps he wanted to see if we were paying attention. So they went into the big finale number. The lights dimmed, and the actors moved back onto the stage waving -- and Clay did his little salute before returning to waving like everyone else."

Dancermom2: "He really didn't "sing" like at a concert. The singing was a breeze for him last night. When they added the line about "Idol." the audience roared; and when he said his line about singing and dancing, the audience roared. There was a lot of that going on last night.

During the curtain call, everyone got applause and cheers; but for Clay, I think we lifted the rafters of the Shubert theater. It was deafening, truly deafening.

We all came out of the theater and waited in Shubert Alley for Clay. There were a lot of people there, the paparazzi, too.When Clay came out, there was a roar. A cheer went up. I know he felt the love; he had to.

Those who make it to Broadway are only the best of the best. Last night on the stage of the Shubert Theater, Clay Aiken proved those words."

Videos Capture Excitement

To experience some of Friday's excitement in Shubert Alley, you can view BigAppleforClay's Opening Night Stage Door video at YouTube or download the same with this Sendspace: Stage Door Close-up.

While at YouTube, search for others (there are several), and take in TheLadyM's montage: Knights on Broadway.

Besides the featured photos from Broadway.com above, other collections can be viewed at World Entertainment News Network, Rex Features of the UK, Getty Images, and Globe Photos.

GRAPHIC INTERLUDE: The fandom's graphic artists helped celebrate Clay's debut weekend with new creations, most using the official "Spamalot" photos by Joan Marcus. Featured in this interlude are clickables by Amazing_CA, 1 and 4; MNmeesh, 2; ABeautifulMind, 3; and Fountaindawg, 5.

FCA 'Spamalot' Pins Sell Out

The original order for two "Spamalot" pins designed by Cindilu2 for Finding Clay Aiken more than doubled expectations before completely selling out in the middle of Friday's opening show.

Couch Tomato sent word that she literally pulled the plug for the pin link mid-performance. Orders for 500 "Finding Sir Robin" and "Doing Clay on Broadway" pins were received from fans throughout the United States and Canada, as well as Denmark, New Zealand, and Australia.

Currently, there are no plans for a second round of pins unless enough interest is expressed. Information about the pins can be read in the Jan. 6 blog.

Clay Salutes Fans in Final Bow

Clay's silent salute to fans during Friday night's final bows had many expecting to hear his traditional tour closer: "I'm Clay Aiken! Good Night!"

Photo by Steven A. Henry

Singer Man posted a brief blog at the OFC thanking his fans for their support. The cast was apparently blown away by the audience's enthusiasm. Now they wonder if CA fans can maintain the same intensity for 15 weeks.

LOL, hide and watch!

Below is a clickable of ABeautifulMind's opening graphic:

Bravo, Clay! Have an awesome week, Clay Nation!


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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Aiken Steps Onto Broadway Stage

Clay Aiken as Sir Robin in 'Spamalot' -- Photo by Joan Marcus

New CD Slated for Spring

Clay Aiken Debuts as Sir Robin

Early reports Friday night were that Clay's Broadway opening was fabulous. Much, much more to follow. -- Caro

On every street corner, there's news of Clay Aiken's Broadway debut as Sir Robin in Monty Python's Spamalot plus promising talk of a spring release for the new CD of original material. Needless to say, the excitement gauge throughout the singer's fan base is registering record peaks.

Joan Marcus' lead photo from Sir Robin's final scene in "Spamalot" has accompanied several media reports this week, one of the first being Wednesday's Page Six story.

This first "look of Clay" has already found its way into message board avatars, banners, wallpapers, and many news releases.

Clay Aiken's Big Knight

New Friday -- and a great read! -- is the column by Joe Diemianowicz in the New York Daily News, Clay Aiken's Big Knight on Broadway:

Pop singer, how-to author and now, Broadway hatchling, Clay Aiken debuts Friday as Sir Robin in "Monty Python's Spamalot," the squirrely musical spoof of the Arthurian legend.


Aiken has been relishing working with legendary director Mike Nichols. "He knows so much you have to be a sponge around him," he says. "He's the funniest person I ever met, so dry and wise."

'Spamalot' Welcomes Trio of New Stars

According to Playbill.com, the "Spamalot" curtain rises for three new Broadway cast members Friday night.

On Jan. 18 Monty Python's Spamalot, the Tony-winning musical at the Shubert Theatre, welcomes "American Idol" finalist Clay Aiken, West End leading lady Hannah Waddingham and the return of original cast member Christopher Sieber.

Aiken is making his Broadway debut in the roles of Sir Robin/Guard/Brother Maynard, which were originated on Broadway by Tony winner David Hyde Pierce. Aiken's stint is currently scheduled to continue through May 4.

Fans gathering in New York for opening night have reported that Clay's image as Sir Robin is gracing city buses advertising his starring role in "Spamalot." These are clickables of the Shubert Theatre marquee and a NYC bus.

Photos by Toni7babe and Butterflyshine

Like the story in Broadway World, press releases prasie Clay's impressive biography as a multi-platinum singer and best-selling author with six successful tours under his belt.

Another good read is The New Yorker's GOINGS ON column: The Holy Grail From Eric Idle to Clay Aiken.

Screen caps and photo editing by Sally

ET Features Final Rehearsals

Last-minute rehearsals for Friday's "Spamalot" opening and Clay's take on the press are featured in Thursday's ET appearance, which can be downloaded with this Sendspace here.

Clay emcees the very interesting video accompanying the story at ET Online. This is part of the story appearing on the site:

CLAY AIKEN makes his debut amid the bright lights of Broadway on Friday, January 18, in the musical version of "Monty Python's Spamalot," but first, the former "American Idol" contestant chats with ET about his news-making interview with "Newsweek" magazine, his take on Britney Spears, and the new season of "American Idol."

Gerwhisp capped the preview video for Thursday's segment. Here is a Sendspace download of the preview.

Clay Aiken Invades Broadway

Below is an excerpt from from Clay Aiken: The pop idol makes a surprising Broadway debut, currently featured at Time Out New York:

On the phone, though, the lightning rod sounds utterly harmless, talking a mile a minute in a Southern accent and often bursting into high-pitched laughter.

Before making his Broadway debut in Spamalot this month, Aiken called TONY from a tour stop in Jersey City to gab about “Claymates” and stage crapping.


And tell me why not! [Laughs]


If I’ve learned one thing in the past five years, it’s that you’ll never please everybody. But the people who’ve been so supportive of us, they trust us enough to have some fun here and there, and be a little irreverent. I won’t be soiling myself for the rest of my life.

People: Clay Aching from Prepping

On Thursday, Stephen Silverman weighed in on at People.com with Clay Aiken Aches from Prepping for New Role:

It may be a long leap from Raleigh, N.C., to the kingdom of Camelot – with a memorable stop on American Idol in between – but Clay Aiken is apparently ready to take his seat as Sir Robin at the Round Table.


It will remain to be seen if Aiken's acting and dancing can measure up to his singing, CD-selling (6 million) or even his candor – as well as who's really tougher, Simon Cowell or New York theater critics. Aiken is due to remain with the show through May 4.

PHOTO INTERLUDE: Graphics and a mosaic celebrate Clay's "Spamalot" debut in this clickable interlude. Four feature the photos of Joan Marcus. Graphic artists include Amazing_CA, 1; mosaic by ClayIzzaQT, 2; Ashes, photo by Katy4Clay, 3; Artz11, 4; and Shyeyewitness, 5.

An Album of Original Material

The upcoming CD was discussed in an interview published in American Idol News earlier this week. In addition, the story covered Clay's "Spamalot" debut, his charity work with The Bubel/Aiken Foundation and UNICEF, and the support of his loyal fans, the Claymates.

Even with a grueling rehearsal schedule for his upcoming role in the Broadway show SPAMALOT, Clay Aiken conveyed nothing but high energy and endless enthusiasm during his interview with American Idol.com.

This certainly isn't due to him getting a lot of rest these days, however. As Clay so bluntly put it, the rigors of Broadway are "kickin' my butt!" With the debut of SPAMALOT on Friday, his schedule will only get busier.

The show will run once a day from Tuesday to Friday and then twice on Saturdays and Sundays! As Clay relayed, having to put together all the acts of singing, dancing, playing piano, and speaking in an accent is more than he ever expected!


"Claymates," as his fans are often called, can expect something huge in return for their loyalty-a new album by Clay! While his last album was something that was desired by others, Clay says that this album contains music that is definitely desired by him. It is also the first time he is having one producer help him to put out the entire album.

The result, he says, will be an album of original material that is consistent in its sound and its message to his fans-look for it to hopefully be released this May.

Clay Corner on 44th Street

Fans can keep up with Clay's blogs at the Monty Python Spamalot website by clicking on "All Things Aiken."

Singer Man has now been added to the show's roster of characters.

Meanwhile, back on the message boards, "Spamalot" debut celebrations continue to accelerate amidst last-minute packing, coordinating alarm clocks for 3:30 a.m. train departures, and all the what-nots of traveling in winter.

At Clayversity, members have captured the excitement and spirit of the occasion with an outpouring of limericks. With permission, the three featured here were penned by ncwannabe, roadnottaken, and clayalwaysandforever, respectively.

The lights on Broadway shine bright
As behold -- the magnificent sight
Clay soars in this show
No denying -- we know
He's amazing -- THIS is the Knight!

There once was a novice to Camelot
Where they ate bread and jam with their Spam-a-lot.
His fans came to cheer
As he busted his rear --
In just a few days he had to cram-a-lot!

I can see it now
Robin's takin' a bow!
The audience screamin'
Sir Robin is beamin'
The Shubert is shakin'
It's been takin' by Aiken!

Want to add a verse to the festivities? Technically, a limerick has five lines with three metrical feet in the first, second, and fifth lines and two metrical feet in the third and fourth lines. The rhyme scheme is usually AABBA.

In this clickable, grandson Kai is celebrating his four-month birthday with one of his favorite toys.

Have a wonderful weekend, Clay Nation ... and break a leg, Clay!


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