As part of the promotion for the album, Clay had three days of coverage on Good Morning America. On September 19th, Diane introduced Clay and, along with his band, Clay performed Without You and A Thousand Days for the public.
The fans lined up hours before the taping, hoping to snag a spot in the small studio in New York. The studio was packed and the fans got to see Clay and his band warm up and do the sound check. According to fans in the audience, Clay was set up and out “on stage” for a long while as Diane continued with the show. He was watching what she had to say on the monitors and encouraging his fans to keep it quiet.
As in other performances, Clay interacted with the audience and, although unable to talk to them, used his hands and face to let the crowd know he was aware they were watching him and ready to support him in this important performance.
But, the two-part interviews on September 20th and 21st were serious and heart-breaking to hear and watch. Thinking back to what was happening to Clay at that time; I am amazed that he was able to participate in these interviews. But, Clay sat down and drew a line in the sand with Diane Sawyer and all the tabloid press.
Clay said he was bewildered by the negative attention.
“Even though stuff about me that I read in the magazines isn’t true, it still makes me…lose sleep. I hurt, not just for my mother who has to watch it happen and who hurts for me. At least when I was in middle school…I understand why they picked on me.”
The interviews produced many conversations throughout the Clay Aiken message boards. Some people were angry at Diane, feeling she was asking questions that were too invasive. Others were concerned that Clay didn’t clear up the question of his sexual orientation and felt he should have said more. But, the overall feelings about the interviews were supportive of Clay and concerned for his health and happiness.
What about Clay? How was he feeling?
“I hope…people like me for my singing. I hope I sing well enough for people to stick around. Sometimes I wonder myself, but, you know, that’s what I want to do.”
I have included three videos with this article. They are important to watch, especially in hindsight. Knowing all we know now, it makes the interviews even more amazing.