Clay Aiken — How Was Dinner?

Do you remember what were you doing on the evening of May 1st, 2004?  Well, it is a date that was important to Clay Aiken.  That was the night Clay attended the White House Correspondents Dinner.  It must have been an exciting night for Clay as he attended both the dinner and the famous Bloomberg reception held the same evening.  With all his food allergies, I hope he was able to eat at the dinner.  At the end of this article, there are two videos that show a bit of Clay at the dinner.  They are fun to see!

There are two interesting similarities between the dinner in 2004 and the dinner in 2010.  Both were held on May 1st and both had Jay Leno as the host.

The annual White House Association’s Correspondents (WHCA) Dinner was held last night and hosted by Tonight Show host, Jay Leno.  It was held at the Washington Hilton Hotel.

The WHCA dinner has become a significant media event in its own right. The tickets to the Correspondents Dinner are highly coveted and are used by big name media personalities, numerous Hollywood celebrities, Washington power brokers and of course the President and First Lady, the elite of Washington all hobnobbing together.

A big name comedian hosts the evening. Last year it was Wanda Skyes and in 2008 it was Late Night host Craig Ferguson.  This year it will be Jay Leno. But the signature moment is when the President has an opportunity to mock himself and the media who cover him every day.

The WHCA is an organization that represents reporters and journalists who cover the President and the White House.

Journalists in response to an unfounded rumor founded the WHCA in 1914 that a Congressional committee would select which journalists could attend press conferences of President Woodrow Wilson.  Among the issues handled by the WHCA are press access to the President and physical conditions in White House press briefing rooms.

The WHCA dinner event did not really take off until the 1920s and has been a staple of the Washington social calendar ever since. Believe it or not, women – who were members of the association, were not allowed to attend the dinners until 1962.

That changed when, at the prodding of Helen Thomas of UPI, President John F. Kennedy said he would not attend the dinner unless the ban on women was dropped.

The attention given to the guest list and entertainers often overshadows the intended purpose of the dinner, which is to “acknowledge award-winners, present scholarships, and give the press and the president an evening of friendly appreciation.” This has led to an atmosphere of coming the event only to “see and be seen.

If you are interested in who attend this year, there is a list  HERE

Seventeen Washington D.C.  students received $132,000 in college scholarship from the White House Correspondents’ Association to pursue careers in journalism.  The winners were introduced at the dinner.

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  1. Wow, a walk down memory lane. Can't wait to see Clay Aiken there again in the future. Thanks for the info regarding how the dinner came into being. Interesting.

  2. Musicfan,

    I thoroughly enjoyed watching the White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday night and hope the rapport of the evening carries forward in our nation's capital.

    What a treat to relive Clay Aiken's attendance at the 2004 event in this blog entry!

    Have a great week!


  3. I so remember when he got to go to the Correspondents Dinner. I hope he goes again in the future. I thought he was so funny when they asked him who he thought was going to win AI that year..and he
    said he wanted it to be a woman, that he didn't need any more competition. How cute is that?

  4. Wow……..what fun to see Clay at the dinner. I had forgotten about this. I do hope Clay gets invited to attend again.

    I didn't know that there were scholarships handed out on Saturday.

    Thanks for the info!!

  5. I have to laugh when I think of all the various shows we've sat through in hopes of getting a quick climpse of Clay. Yeap, we've got it bad for Clay.

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