Clay Aiken – Is That You?

American Idol……….you love it or hate it…….but whatever you think, it is one of the most successful shows in TV history.

One of the most talked about finales was May 24, 2006, the year Taylor Hicks won.

American Idol decided to have the biggest, most talked about finale ever, inviting as many big name artists as they could. Part of the show was the Golden Idol Award skit. The category was Favorite Impersonation. Michael Sandecki who impersonated Clay Aiken won and Ryan asked him to sing. As Michael started singing, the doors behind him opened and Clay walked through. Michael was totally awestruck. Clay’s look was so different that it took the audience a moment to realize what was happening.  The surprise ended up being the top moment of the entire show.

In a local TV interview on KTLA-TV, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe revealed that details of Clay’s appearance and performance were kept secret from almost everyone, including the judges and Ryan. Clay arrived at an obscure entrance in an SUV with tinted windows. Attracting no attention whatsoever, he walked in unnoticed with wardrobe personnel and the garments they were transporting and secretly watched the show in a nearby building before being escorted to the stage just in time for his grand entrance.

Yahoo News said of the event:

Season 2 runner-up Clay Aiken made a victorious return to the “Idol” stage, sporting a new look that helped him pull in more buzz than last year’s champ Carrie Underwood. And a surprise appearance by Prince stirred up searches on the funk legend-precisely the point. Gotta love the “Idol” publicity machine.

I would imagine that most Clay fans remember the night in detail.  However, you can’t see that performance  too often.  Enjoy the video of that special moment.

This YouTube by Teelow already has 706,264 plays.  That is a lot of fans!!


Clay Aiken News Network is an unofficial fansite. We are not affiliated in any way with Clay Aiken or his management. This website was made by fans for fans and makes no impression or impersonation of the official site, which can be found under the domain

22 thoughts on “Clay Aiken – Is That You?

  1. That appearance, without a doubt, is the best ever on AI…or in fact any reality show….It was totally amazing…..

    I remember going into work the next day, and everyone was talking about it…it was all about Clay and his look…..not one word about Taylor or Prince….Amazing……. It could not have been a better entrance….

    Thanks CANN for bringing that over….that was fun…..


  2. One of the best moments in TV that year, and the best on AI, ever! So much fun and Clay Aiken really stole the finale. No wonder that won’t let him back on the show!

  3. That appearance was AMAZING! Who won that season??? Now I am just Right Here Waiting for some career news!!!

  4. Wasn’t he just fabulous! I think I played that segment over a thousand times. Giggled, laughed and swooned…good times…..

    thnaks for the memories….

  5. This is the moment we discovered Clay becaues AI started airing from its season 5 here in Japan.
    What a shame we didn’t know him before that!
    That appearance of less than three minutes changed our lives for the better. Thanks to all the Clay fans in the US, we’ve learned a lot about Clay and made a lot of Clay friends during the process. We cannot thank Clay enough for all the happiness he’s brought to us. Thank CANN for bringing that over!
    Mariko aka Clayarmin

  6. That was THE most amazing two minutes on AI since the finale of AI2.

    And, I agree, that’s one of the reasons he’ll never be invited back – he took what was supposed to be a joke on him and turned it into a frenzy of cheering and screaming for him. Even watching it on TV you could just feel the excitement in the air.

    No one does it like Clay Aiken!! And no one ever will.

  7. The was and always will be the best moment EVER in TV history!! Mariko, I wish you could have lived through season 2, but I’m glad you saw him on this season and are here! I can never watch this too many times!

  8. The emotions still run high rewatching this clip! AI will NEVER have another moment like this on their show! Clay totally captivated all present and those watching on TV! It was amazing how he stole that show in those few minutes! And, you are so right!! One can never watch this too many times! It just never loses its “WOW” factor!! Thanks for the memories!!

  9. 😀 That’s the season I stopped watching AI half way through, but had heard rumor that Clay Aiken was going to be on the finale. After not watching the show after the Top 5, I tuned in hoping for a glimpse of Clay. When Michael Sandecki got the Golden Idol I turned to my husband and said “here comes Clay”. What a shock!!! The whole moment was amazing – Michael’s reaction, Clay’s new look and, as always, that VOICE! Then I went to bed – didn’t need to watch the rest of the show (although I would have liked to see Prince).

    The next day I found the internet and I’ve been sitting in front of my computer ever since. Some may argue this is a bad thing…. nah, I’ve made so many new friends, traveled around the country, DH & I got to go to New York together – all because of Clay, AI5, a new look and the internet.

  10. That AI5 appearance will probably always be one the best moments on tv. Clay Aiken was marvelous with his entrance!!

  11. They never introduced Clay, never used his name but everyone knew who he was. I felt bad for Taylor and Prince because all the buzz was about Clay’s appearance.

    I had to laugh when they tried to recreate that moment with this years finale by having Kara come out to sing with Bikini girl. That fell flat.

  12. I have to agree that that was the greatest moment in AI history. I remember that day so well. There were all kinds of rumours about Clay being a surprise guest and speculation as to what kind of role Clay would play. Kudos to all involved in that exciting performance.

  13. That show will go down in AI History as the best finale there has ever been. I was watching on the edge of my seat..and when Clay came out on that stage..I was saying “Is that Clay?” along with about 38.9 million others. I think he gained a lot of new fans just from that show. wonder they are afraid to have him on again..they will probably be upstaged again. Thanks for showing that video.

  14. That was an amazing moment ever on AI. I did watch over and over again and again, I could not believe how handsome Clay looked that day. Yeah that was a nice surprise!!!

    Next day everyone around me was talking about it and how great it was.
    thanks for the memories!!!

  15. Clay Aiken created the ultimate memorable moment. I wore my VCR player out replaying that clip. It’s a forever favourite.
    Thanks for the memories 🙂

  16. Perfect – just perfect. There will never be a moment like that on AI. Clay Aiken was the buzz for that finale.

  17. I recall listening to a radio show online and the two guys were fantastic. They couldn’t get over “that moment”. They said it was the best moment in television history.

    I watch that clip at least a couple of times a week because it never ceases to amuse, amaze and mesmerizes me all over again.

    Thanks CANN….again for the right thing at the right time. 🙂

  18. What a coincidence the largest number of viewers for an AI finale was in season 2 and the most talked about and most popular tv realty moment was the finale in season 5. Funny but it seems to me Clay was involved in both. And AI is pretty obvious in their attempts to keep Clay from appearing on the show — BIG MISTAKE!

  19. He was stunning that night! The look was extremely becoming on him. He looks great in long hair. I know it’s a hassle for him but he was heart stopping that night! He *was* the watercooler talk the next morning. Clay… bring back the incredible AI5 hair!

  20. I remember watching when Clay came out and thought “Clay, what have you done? At first I didn’t like his new look. Of course I did later, and now am never surprised whenever Clay changes his look.

    That AI finale will undoubtedly go down in television history, not just AI, as one of the best ever moments in TV!

    So great watching it again, I still get goosebumps.

  21. This makes me smile every time I see it. Clay Aiken was a show stopper that night for sure. I love watching this video every chance I get.

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