Clay Aiken Sings Solitaire

There are times in a person’s career that become obvious benchmark events.  Some of these events are built up to be career-changing, but some just happen.  Most people believe that March 17, 2004 was a defining moment in the career of Clay Aiken.

Season 3 of American Idol was in full swing.  The final group of 12 contestants had performed on the first elimination show one night before.  Each singer had tried to impress America by singing a song for “Soul Night.”

But March 17th was Results Night and American Idol had invited Clay Aiken, the runner up of Season 2, as their special musical guest.

According to reports at the time, there were many fans who arrived very early in the morning for the 5pm taping.  A reporter from KIIS FM came by the line at about 9am to do a man-on-the-street interview with the line-sitters.  Someone had called Rick Dees for an on-air contest and they were intrigued that there were so many people lined up so early.  They wanted to know what AI3 finalist the people were there to see.  They were completely shocked to learn that most of the fans were there for Clay.

At about the half-way mark of the show, Ryan Seacrest announced Clay.  He strode onto the stage in a commanding way.  He was wearing a black turtleneck and a suit.  Instead of standing in front of the judges table, Clay chose to perform at the side of the stage.  Clay chose to sing Solitaire as it was being pushed as his new single.

The audience in the studio and watching at home were treated to a wonderful performance.  Not only did Clay sing well, he was able to connect with the audience with his eye contact and emotional lyrics.  And I doubt anyone will forget the surreal “glory note.”

It was reported that Debra Byrd was monitoring the show on a TV screen at the front of the audience.  As Clay was singing, she smiled widely and seemed very proud.  Fred Bronson and Julia  DeMato were both a part of the audience that night.

All three of the regular judges were there.  One fan reported: “During Clay’s song, all three judges seemed to not be paying any attention whatsoever.  They were talking among themselves.  There was not one minute of interaction between Clay and those judges the entire time Clay was on the stage – not before, during, or after the song.”

After his performance, Clay chatted a bit with Ryan Seacrest.  Clay said he got a little nervous being in the studio again.  He also said that the tour with Kelly was going well.  Ryan made sure that the audience knew that Clay’s album had gone triple platinum.

The contestants had a chance to ask Clay some questions.  The audience laughed when Matt said he was having nightmares about Simon and wanted to know how Clay dealt with that.  His response was to focus on the goal and to not let anything get in the way.  He also commented that fame is hard when Fantasia asked him if people treated him differently.

At the commercial break, Clay went over to where the contestants were sitting and shook hands and hugged every one of them.  Someone from the audience threw up some panties and also a bear for him.  It was reported that Clay calmly picked up the panties and casually threw them over to Simon.

“My impression of the whole experience was that Clay is the real superstar here – he is just so far beyond American Idol,” reported a fan that was a part of the live audience that night.

It was certainly a night to remember and the entire audience was on their feet and applauding loudly for Clay Aiken, the new pop star.

Please watch the video of Clay singing Solitaire on March 17th, 2004


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17 thoughts on “Clay Aiken Sings Solitaire

  1. WOW…Amazing…It still gives me chills when he hits that note!!!! WOW

    How rude of Simon, Paula and Randy, to ignore and talk amongst themselves while Clay was performing…. That’s hard to believe that they would do that…they don’t seem to do it with anyone else that shows up…?????

    Clay’s talent is just so unbelieveable… He is definately the real deal!!!!

    Thanks for bringing the article and clip over…I’m gonna go and watch it again..I love it.


  2. It doesn’t surprise me one bit that the judges were rude to Clay when he returned to perform on AI! He was not their chosen one and I imagine it was pretty hard to swallow that he was so successful! Solitaire is a haunting beautiful song and no one can sing it like Clay.

  3. I often wondered what the judges reaction was, now I know. I’m really disgusted with AI and their treatment of Clay. I loved how he sang solitaire and I enjoy watching it over and over again.

  4. That’s just because they couldn’t figure out what to do with someone who can actually sing and not dance around naked to hide their lip synching.

  5. That performance still brings me shivers-his lower register is so good. I loved watching it again. Thanks!

  6. Now that is what REAL SINGING is all about. Clay Aiken has an AWESOME VOCAL GIFT. Thank God he chooses to share it with us. So looking forward to his next cd……….

  7. What a night! He was a bright shining star and this performance is magic. The only other time I think he outdid himself was at the tribute to Neil Sedaka, the songwriter of that song, years later where Clay knocked it out of the ball park.

  8. I still love watching that performance.
    It was 5 years ago today…where does the time go?
    Thanks for posting the video!

  9. ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!!! Loved everything about that performance – his voice, his look, his confidence and his smile at the end – the one that hits his eyes.

  10. Absolutely beautiful. He looked so confident..and…sexy singing up there. That smile at the end is a killer too! Never get tired of watching that fact..any video’s of Clay singing. He’s the Best!!

  11. I never get tired of hearing Clay sing Solitaire. The perfect combination of a wonderful song and an awesome voice.

  12. just recently got hooked on clay aiken. was able to follow his AI2 youtube videos, wow! he amazes me!!!!!! m now following all youtube videos on clay and i emjoy watching his concerts where he interacts with his fans. i hope all his fans then and now would stick by him irregardless of his admission on being gay. we should accept him the way he is and admire him for coming out in the open. He is here to entertain us!!!! To you Clay, i hope you will go a long way!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you would make an album with songs like THIS IS THE MOMENT, ALWAYS AND FOREVER, PROUD TO BE YOUR BOY, TRY IT ON MY OWN, REUNITED.

  13. i wil never forget wnen clay came on the idol stage and sang solataire it was amazing and that smile omg i cryed when the song was over

  14. and i have ta also say that glory note when clay sang that omg wow i never herd of a person holding a long note like clay did when he sang solatare

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