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Clay Aiken: From Second Place to the Top of the Charts

Press:From Second Place to the Top of the Charts

Press:Mitchell Lane Publishers Mitchell Lane Publishers (October 2004)
ISBN:9781584153269
Author Name:Kathleen Tracy
Pages:160
Language:English

Content

When Clay Aiken took a one-in-a-million shot at music stardom by qualifying for and then nearly winning the American Idol contest in the second season, he captured America's heart. 
Now, with hit records to his name, the North Carolina native has a voice that is being recognized everywhere.
Veteran celebrity biographer Kathleen Tracy takes you behind the scenes of one of America's most popular television shows to learn what Clay actually went through to achieve his success.
Learn about Clay's rough childhood and how his singing has meant everything to him.
Tracy delivers all the information that Clay fans have been waiting for.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One  We’re Not in Kansas Anymore  Despite the stifling heat, the over six thousand people who were packed into the Universal Amphitheater were buzzing with anticipation. 
It was Wednesday, May 21, 2003, and the second-season finale of American Idol was about to begin.
Uncertainty abounded, because this year’s contest was too close to call.
The only thing anyone knew was that the voting was going to be tight and that the fans of whoever lost would surely feel robbed.
Unlike the previous year, when Kelly Clarkson was the obvious pick of the talent litter going into the final, this time America—as well as the American Idol judges—seemed evenly split over whether the winner should be Birmingham, Alabama’s Ruben "the Velvet Teddy Bear" Studdard or the boy next door with the golden voice, Clay Aiken, the pride of Raleigh, North Carolina.
Backstage, Ruben and Clay distracted themselves from the mounting pressure by joking with each other and the rest of the Top 12 finalists who would perform during the telecast.
Although only Aiken and Studdard were vying for the American Idol title, because this was Hollywood, even runners-up would be showered with surprises.
Waiting backstage for all the finalists were lavish gifts provided by top-shelf companies eager to be associated with the American Idol phenomenon.
Lois Hill Accessories brought an assortment of jewelry, including bracelets and necklaces; the Shoreham Hotel offered a weekend stay at their posh Manhattan digs; the newest digital toy, XM Satellite Radio, caught Rickey Smith’s fancy; while others were impressed with leather goods from designer Donald J.
Pliner.
Clay posed for some photos, holding up a video explaining the wonders of Lasik eye surgery, before going off by himself.
He wanted to collect his thoughts prior to the start of the special two-hour finale.
Out on stage, American Idol’s co-executive producer, Nigel Lythgoe, prepped the audience to raise the energy level even higher.
"Who’s for Clay?" he shouted.
The resulting applause and screams were almost deafening.
"Who’s for Ruben?" he asked, and the floor of the amphitheater shook from the noise.
The first part of the telecast was basically a sixty-minute tease for an audience craving to see Ruben and Clay.
Among the segments shown was a clip reel of lowlights from various international Idol shows, showing some cringe-worthy performances from countries including France, England, Germany, and Lebanon.
Arguably the least talented performance came from U.S.
contestant Keith Beukelaer, whose rendition of Madonna’s "Like a Virgin" caused Simon Cowell to snap that Keith had to be "the worst singer in the world." By the time the second half of the show arrived, the audience was almost begging to hear the would-be Idols.
They finally got their wish when Kelly Clarkson, the 2002 Idol, sang a medley with Ruben and Clay.
They were joined by the other 2003 finalists, who sang another medley of songs made famous by the season’s guest judges, including "Midnight Train to Georgia" and "Let’s Get Physical." Kimberley Locke got her moment to shine when she joined Clay and Ruben for the songs "Superstar," "On the Wings of Love," and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." As the excitement rose, so did the temperature, with people openly fanning themselves.
During one commercial break, producer Lythgoe begged the audience to "try and stop looking like you’re too hot.
Make yourselves look alive.
Breathe!" Throughout the evening, emcee Ryan Seacrest tantalized the audience with snippets of information on the voting results, revealing the tally from certain states.
Not surprisingly, Ruben carried Alabama, while Clay won New York.
But Seacrest was serious when he said that the voting was the closest ever seen on American Idol.
Out of 24 million votes cast, there was a difference of less than one percent between the winner and the runner-up.
It was down to just Clay and Ruben.
They each reprised their performances from the previous night, with Clay crooning "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and Ruben singing "Flying Without Wings." Both performances almost caused the theater to implode from the sounds of wild cheering.
People had come from all across America to root for their favorites in person, and the energy hummed through the audience.
Writer Michael Gross recounted in an MSN article how he had met one Clay Aiken fan by a souvenir stand.
She had flown out from Michigan after her sister surprised her with tickets to the finale.
According to Gross, "She held a big homemade poster that said, Northville, Michigan § CLAY!! I asked, ‘Did you come all the way out here just for this?’ She wiped her eyes and took a deep breath.
‘It’s a lot more exciting to be here.
You feel like you’re a celebrity, too.
Because we were screaming and he was mouthing Thank you.
To us.
Right to us.
You feel like you’re inside it.’" Finally, the time for singing was over.
The two friends joined Seacrest onstage.
Stretching out the drama as long as possible, the three judges—Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson—gave their final thoughts to Aiken and Studdard, all keeping true to form.
Paula praised them both for their talent and made it clear she thought they were both winners.
Jackson called the men his "dawgs," and Simon, the consummate businessman, revealed that Clay and Ruben would both be releasing singles on the same day, regardless of the outcome.
As he looked out at the audience, waiting to hear the results, Clay felt oddly calm.
He had already come farther than he had ever imagined he could, having experienced so many amazing adventures, been overwhelmed by the support of fans all across the country, made close new friends, and grown so much as a person—whatever the final tally was, he later said, he truly felt as if he had already won.
He turned to look at Ruben and Seacrest, thinking he really had traveled over the rainbow.

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Children's Books,Biographies,Performing Arts,Musical,Biographies & Memoirs,Arts & Literature,Actors & Entertainers

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Comment List (Total:9)

  •     My husband called me at work and told me I received this book about Clay Aiken! (Hadn't yet told him I ordered it!) Anyway, he proceeded to tell me that is looked great, nice pics and all.This book is very informative and it was wonderful reliving all we had been thru with the AI and Clay... Just loved it!!!Kathleen Tracy, you did a great job!

  •     Of all the biographies I've read lately about Clay, this is by far the best of the bunch (with the obvious exception of "Learning to Sing"). It's informative, well written and researched. I enjoyed it very much.Good job, Kathleen.

  •     I hope more people are exposed to books like this one. Easy reading - factual but interesting.

  •     I could not put this book down. I watched Clay Aiken Go from a geeky looking kid sanding in front of Simon Cowell telling him that he felt he could have at least made it into the final 10, I have been a great fan of his since that day. It was interesting to read about him and find out what makes him tick. He is an interesting young man and I think everyone aught to read this very interesting book.

  •     This book was not authorized by Clay Aiken, and I know this for a FACT!! She has taken what others have said, and combined this information. We do NOT know what is true if a book is NOT AUTHORIZED, and therefore, should not be purchased!! Kathleen Tracy is trying to capitolize on Clay's name for her own monetary benefit. If she was truly a fan, she would not have done this!! She never interviewed Clay or his mother. I do hope you will post this. If people REALLY want to read about Clay, they need to read "Learning to Sing, and Hearing The Music." THIS IS AN AUTHORIZED BOOK...

  •     Tracy does a good job of bringing background to the singer's life, following through his Idol appearances and into early 2004. A good deal of attention is paid to this period in the entertainer's life.A good read for fans of Aiken who are looking for a little more recent background to the singer's life.

  •     This book is filled with interesting information about Clay Aiken packed into 160 pages of fun reading. In addition there is a 16 page color insert with page after page of wonderful photographs of Clay. The book is a real fan book that will not disappoint anyone who wants everything about Clay in one book. I'll bet that even the most devoted Clay fan will learn new things about Clay.

  •     I don't remember when I've enjoyed a book so much! As an 'extreme' Clay Aiken fan, it was so much fun reliving the entire season of American Idol 2 with him once again, and also the tour after and beyond. And the authershows him the total respect he deserves. She also does a wonderful job crediting the sources of articles quoted. I had read somewhere that it was mostly quotes from sources us Claymates have already seen, while this may be true to an extent, lots of those quotes I haven't seen in over a year and a half. To have it all compiled in this wonderful journey that had me tranfixed for over 4 hours tonight was incredible! And there really were lots of insights into behind the scenes things I hadn't read. I would really recommend this to everyone, and will do so on the message boards I belong to.And the 16 pages of pictures are quite a bonus!I was extremely happy to read that some of the proceeds will go to the Bubel/Aiken Foundation. Thank you for that.

  •     Although this book is not authorized by Clay Aiken himself, it is a great biography. It provideds accurate information, interesting facts, and awesome pictures! This is a must add to any Claymate's collection. A great alternative to that other book....

 

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