Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Clay Aiken's Amazing AI2 Journey

Fountaindawg graphic links to 'AI2 Journey' montage by Gerwhisp.

Looking Back at AI2

Montage Recaps Clay's Season

Since Clay Aiken's successful run on the American Idol stage six years ago, I have followed his career instead of viewing subsequent seasons of the show. Occasionally I tune into the quick summary that closes Tuesday performances so I will know what aficionados of the current contestants are talking about.

Like many Clay Aiken fans, my philosophy epitomizes the fandom slogan "Idol Found, Game Over."

Monday night I came across Gerwhisp's montage of Clay's AI2 Journey, and I have been lost in a reminiscent tour ever since. The first thing that strikes you is THE VOX week after week, show after show.

The montage opens with Clay singing "Dont Let the Sun Go Down on Me," the Wildcard song that punched his ticket to continue in the competition. Here is a Sendspace download for the montage.

With the assistance of Fountaindawg of the Clay Aiken Kids site, I assembled some graphics to accompany compliments by guest judges that are featured in the video. I also located What Not To Sing, an uber-comprehensive AI database that includes note for note every episode of every season, ratings of performances, you name it.

Neil Sedaka/60s Week
Clickable graphic by Fountaindawg

Here are a few notes from WNTS's AI Season 2 pages:

During 1960s / Neil Sedaka Week, he [Clay] busted out with two showstoppers: an uncharacteristically energetic "Build Me Up Buttercup," and a dramatic, near-flawless "Solitaire." Coming in at 94 and 92 respectively, Aiken remains the only contestant to break 90 twice in the same week.

Season Two owns the highest average approval rating of the first seven years. Aiken's 68.5 average rating led the way, with Locke, Studdard, and Trenyce also coming in with 4-star averages.

Each of the Final 12 turned in at least one above-average rated performance. You might think at first that's nothing special, but it didn't happen again until Season Seven.

For what it's worth, we consider it a tossup between Studdard's "A Whole New World" and Locke's "New York State Of Mind" as the best of the season.

Aiken earns a special achievement award for his twin triumphs in the Final 5; we have a feeling that his 93 average in a multi-song week will stand as the record for a very, very long time.

Whether you are interested in Season 2 or 8, check out the site and see how your favorite Idol compares.

Movie Week
Clickable by Fountaindawg

During Season 2's Movie Week, Clay sang "Somewhere Out There" from "An American Tail." Three judges gave him a standing ovation, and guest adjudicator Gladys Knight said he was "magical." The date was 3/18/03:

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

Billboard #1 Hits
Clickable by Fountaindawg

During his Billboard #1 Hits performance of 4/8/03, Clay sang "At This Moment" by Billy Vera and the Beaters. Guest judge Lionel Ritchie was very impressed with THE VOX:

I'm in awe that all of that is coming out of that body. Unbelievable! Who is that guy?

Clickable by Fountaindawg

For Neil Sedaka/60s Week (4/29/03), Singer Man performed "Build Me Up, Buttercup" and "Solitaire." Most CA fans can quote word for word Sedaka's kudos:
Clay, you sing like Andre Agassi plays tennis -- PERFECTION, PERFECTION! -- and I would kill to write and produce your first CD!

(After "Solitaire,"): Bravo, Clay! I have lost my song forever to you. It will always be a Clay Aiken song.

BeeGees Night
Fountaindawg Clickable

Clay chose "Grease" and "To Love Somebody" for the 5/6/03 BeeGees/Top 4 Night. After TLS, guest judge Robin Gibb was very complimentary:

You've got an absolutely fantastic voice. This is the way the song should be sung, and it's just brilliant.

Hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane. Many thnx to my accomplices, Gerwhisp and Fountaindawg!

Have an awesome week, Clay Nation!


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Ashes said...

Totally Awesome!! A full 5 star rating for this trip down memory lane with Clay Aiken and the 2003 gang.

Gerwhisp's montage is a standing favourite of the season, and the WNTS site is a cool one..and new to me. I had to bookmark this one.

Thank you Caro for all you do.

hugs, Ashes

Anonymous said...

Very nice blog, Caro.

musicfan said...

CARO.......You know I love reading your blogs. You always come up with interesting topics.

I love seeing AI Clay!!!

SueReu said...

YAY CLAY!!! Season 2 remains my favorite season (although I stopped watching midway through Season 5)

I think my favorite performance was.....

Hang on, I'll have to get back to you on that one ;-)

Thanks Caro! As always, great blog!

jbc4clay said...

This was great! Love it!

Anonymous said...

Love the work U put into doing this! We are the lucky ones to enjoy it all! :)A Clay music fan, Donna in Wi.

Anonymous said...

Love the work U put into doing this! We are the lucky ones to enjoy it all! :)A Clay music fan, Donna in Wi.

Anonymous said...

Always enjoy your blog Caro!

katy said...

Great blog, per usual, Caro. These trips down memory lane are fun while waiting for the next Clay Aiken memories!!!

Ashes said...

The clearer collages are terrific! Thank you & Fountaindawg!

Anonymous said...

I still melt whenever I hear Clay sing SOLITAIRE and Neil Sedaka loved his rendition.


Melanie said...

Thanks for this journey! I missed it the first time around so it's always nice to be reminded of how it went. :)

ImGranny said...

Thank you for the great blog. What fond memories I have of that time!

Anonymous said...

oh the memories!!!

Thank-you for letting us relive these!!

hugs, Shy

Anonymous said...

Nice Posting

Barbara said...

Caro, there sure are some wonderful memories, and you have captured them so well in your blog. You're a great writer and know how to put together amazing entries.

I miss those days of AI2 and Clay touring. I think he spoiled us. LOL

Love and Hugs,


fgs said...

I really enjoyed this blog with all the AI2 memories. No matter what AI does, they have never had a season like season 2. This season they have a lot of buzz dues to one person, but it doesn't look like there will be any race to the finish like season 2. How many times have they tried to build the enthusiasm for the finale only to come up short of season 2? Closest they came to having a great finale was season 5 when Clay stole the show!!

T said...

What a beautiful AI2 journey! It absolutely brought back wonderful memories. I'm still here on that journey. Your blog captured it all with the Gerwhisp's montage (love it) and all the lovely graphics (love it too).

For me, there's not one in AI that came close to the standards of Clay Aiken.

Compliments to you for the great blogs that you bring every week. Thanks so much!

Cheers Caro!

Sandy said...

Amazing journey for sure!

I have to admit I still watch American Idol each season and not because I wish for another idol like Clay (I'm with the group - Idol Found, Game Over) but only because of the entertainment (or lack of) value.

What a lot of people fail to realize is that week after week the early contestants of AI performed with nothing but a piano to accompany their voice or track music brought was brought in. Clay's voice was his instrument and NO ONE has ever even come close to matching that voice, not on Canadian Idol or American Idol. I don't care what the three stooges (or four now) say! Today the contestants play to a full orchestra, back up singers, you name it and they still sound terrible!

Thanks Caro!


Sandy :)