Is Clay Aiken a Country Rocker?

American Idol, Season II was full of surprises.  It was an exciting time for the performers and the audience, but the season made some interesting changes in their schedule.

The third elimination night was one of those surprising times.  Just as everyone had settled down to hear Disco Music, the theme for the night was changed.  “Country-Rock”……..what is Country-Rock?  Wearing a cowboy hat, Ryan Seacrest said, “The theme for tonight is the intricate fusion between country and rock.”

The guest judge for this night was Olivia Newton-John.  She has had some experience in the country-rock field and was a pleasant judge and she supported all the contestants.

The show started off with country singer, Josh Gracin.  Singing “Ain’t Goin’ Down Til the Sun Comes Up” by Garth Brooks, he got great reviews by the judges.  Of course, Simon had to say that he knew nothing about this kind of music, but loved his hat!!

Trenyce sang the ballad “I Need You”, made famous by Lee Ann Rhimes.  Again, all the judges thought she did well except for Simon who said it was her weakest performance of the season.

The judges must have been in a good mood that night because they were in complete agreement that Kim Locke and Corey Clark sang beautifully and thought they were in good voice.

Carmens Birthday

Carmen's Birthday

Martina McBride’s song. “Wild Angels” was the choice for Carmen Rasmussen.  Although she did not receive any negative remarks, she only received a tepid response.

Ricky Smith and Kimberly Caldwell both received good responses from the judges and there were large smiles on their faces.

According to David Bloomberg, a music reporter, Ruben Studdard actually sang a song in the genre.  Singing “Sweet Home Alabama”, he showed that he could rock it.

After Julia DeMato performed “Breathe”, the last performer of the night entered the stage.

Singing Brian White’s hit, “Someone Else’s Star”, Clay Aiken was the highlight of the evening.  Randy, Paula, and Olivia gave Clay a short standing ovation.  Simon thought it was sweet, but just like his last performance.

David Bloomberg said; “I have already heard from people who know the song that he sang the hell out of it – perhaps better than the original.  Indeed, when I heard him I was thinking, just give him a contract now.”

Before the show was over, the audience saw a clip of a surprise party for Carmen Rasmussen.  The youngest contestant seemed excited to celebrate her birthday with the group.

The next night, the result show was 1 hour long.  The group performance was “Where The Blacktop Ends.”

Signed By Burt Bacharach

Signed By Burt Bacharach

After the commercial break, the audience learned of a special project that the idols did during the week. Burt Bacharach asked the 10 contestants to help record a new version of his song, “What The World Need Now Is Love.”  The audience followed a tape of the various stages of the practice and recording of the song with a live orchestra.  Some of the singers were interviewed about the experience.  Clay talked about getting his copy of the music signed by Burt and how much it meant to him.  The single for this song was released and the proceeds benefited the Red Cross.

The busy Idols had another group performance for the week.  To show the unity of the country, they sang “God Bless the U.S.A.”  The group performance was touching and well-sung.

Finally, it was time for the elimination of one of the Idols.  The bottom three idols were Kimberly Caldwell, Rickey Smith and Julia DeMato.   Julia is voted out.

Because there was so much going on for the Idols that week, it is amazing that all the performances were such high-quality.

What happens next week?  Will there be more surprises?  Well, it is American Idol and that means anything goes!

The first video shows Clay’s performance of Someone Else’s Star.

The second one has all three group performances for the night.    Enjoy!!



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  1. Clay can sing any ‘style’ to perfection, we all know that! Someone Else’s Star was beautiful.

    The AI2 group singing has never been equaled, they were superb.

  2. I loved the group songs from Season 2. They could all sing and sounded wonderful together. Just another aspect of the show they have never been able to duplicate.

    These videos are great. Thank you for posting them.

    • I agree. I have posted several times in other boards that season 2 is the best group in harmony, diversity, talent and camaraderie. I think Clay was one factor of their closeness. Remember where he hugged each of the contestants as Ryan called them into the stage? Of course, they all seem to be friendly and cooperative. I never tire watching the videos of the group and all Clay videos. Nothing can compare to these. Thanks for all the work.

  3. I love re-living these performances week by week. Every week he kicked butt on whatever he sang no matter the genre they chose!

  4. I loved Clay’s rendition of Someone Else’s Star. As far as the group songs go, during Season 2, there was a visible camaraderie between the contestants that was felt during their group performances. I have watched all the other seasons and that ‘closeness’ was never seen again!!!!

    • I did that too— watched the other seasons’group performances. Season Two obviously enjoyed being together and their performances showed it! Some may think we’re biased but after watching and comparing all the seasons, AI2 is definitely the best!

  5. Not only was Clay Aiken the most amazing vocalist and overall heck of an entertainer,to come out of AI, but as I rewatch season 2 I don’t think there has been a season since with so many beautiful singers. Probably the reason why their group numbers were great to watch and hear.This is season 8 and it has never happened since.

  6. It’s so great hearing Clay from the beginning….His voice is just amazing…Never pitchy…never off key…He is amazing… And don’t forget these guys sang with just tracks…no live music… I love hearing this all over again…..

    The group songs did sound great…they just seems to balance the songs…


  7. Season 2 was the best! No frills…just their voices! Now they have live bands and backup singers! The ‘voice’ is lost when you add all the extras! This group sounded great and obviously were very close! Thank you for these videos!

  8. Yes, the show is doing good. BUT there will never be the magic of Clay Aiken and Season 2. He's was something special and one in a million. They'd be smart to bring him on EVERY year.

  9. It would be so exciting if they would bring Clay back, I don’t think they’re smart enough. If he had been on instead of NeiDiamond and sang something from his new album it would have sold like crazy.

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