Clay Aiken – Solitaire’s The Only Game In Town!

Solitaire’s the only game in town

And Every road that takes him, takes him down

And by himself, it’s easy to pretend

He’ll never love again

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 that 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 halfway 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 Clarkson 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.

The talented SueReu published a new video of Clay singing Solitaire.  She combined footage of Clay’s show stopping performance on American Idol and footage from the February 10th, 2011 Tried and True Tour.  In Florida, Clay sang Solitaire and again, the performance was breathtaking.  It is interesting to note that Clay sang the difficult song in the same key and his voice soared just as it did in 2004.  In fact, for many listeners, the only difference was the more mature sense of passion that Clay sang in Miami.

Thank you to SueReu for this amazing video and, of course, a huge thank-you to Clay Aiken for continuing to present quality performances to his audiences…It just keeps getting better!

The ballad, “Solitaire“, was written by Neil Sedaka in 1971.   Neil took the melancholy lyrics of Phil Cody and wrote one of the most beautiful pop songs ever recorded.  The lyrics employ playing the card game of solitaire as a metaphor for a man “who lost his love through his indifference” – “while life goes on around him everywhere he’s playing solitaire”.

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15 thoughts on “Clay Aiken – Solitaire’s The Only Game In Town!

  1. Clay dose to an amazing job of singing Solitaire. To me he owns the song. Sue montage is beautiful and it shows Clay is amazing, so thanks musicfan for the blog and thanks sue for your wonderful montage. 🙂


  2. Musicfan…I loved reading all about this again.. 7 years ago huh?? Wow….it is amazing…this performance on American Idol back in 2004, is incredible.
    Suerue…loved how you incorporated 2004 with Clay's version of Solitaire in February 2011. His voice is just getting better and better and more powerful than ever…. Great job…I love watching it. This made my day..thank you both.

  3. thanks for the story. I'm from Japan, and I didn't see American Idol season 2. I hope you write another story about AI 2 every single week of elimination.

    • Iritani……..thank you for commenting here. I hope you will visit often. I try to post about all aspects of Clay's professional life..

      I do hope you and your family are safe. I hope you know that we are all thinking of Japan and sending positive thoughts to all of you!!

  4. I could watch/listen to Clay perform this song daily. Not only does he hit the "glory note", but those low notes stir my soul. Thanks for posting it again.

  5. Sue, that was amazing….thanks for the montage and Musicfan thanks for the blog and the work you do to keep us up-to-date on all that is Clay.

  6. *waves to Iritani* There's a lot of video of AI2 out on youtube. It was a magical season – never to be topped. Not just Clay, although he was a big part of it, but the entire group of contestants and especially the Clay/Ruben chemistry!!!!

    Musicfan – thank you for putting my video up here. Clay is amazing and, like Judy said, he's getting better. His voice was always wonderful, but now it's magnificent!

  7. Thank you for posting Sue's new montage. Great job Sue! What a way to relive both Clay's fantastic performance on AI and T%T tour. It shows he just get better and better as the years go by, but still shows the mature voice he had 7 years ago.

    Of course, the AI judges were out to disrespect Clay that night. But IMO, it shows they knew they pulled for the wrong contestant during A!2 and it smacked them in the face that wonderful night during AI3.

  8. The montage is amazing. I would listen to this one everyday, it's one of my favorites. I really, really enjoyed the article Musicfan. You posted things about Clay's AI3 visit that I didn't know about. I love reading and hearing new things about Clay. Sounds like his was a huge hit that night.

  9. Love SueReu's Montage. My..Clay's voice has matured is more powerful. I never saw any of the video's of Solitaire from the TnT Tour. I will have to find some to watch. I have always loved how handsome Clay looked on that AI Stage.

  10. Clay amazes me with his voice when he sings "Solitaire". I've heard him sing it many times live in addition to his 2 performances on Idol and I never grow tired of hearing it.

  11. Thanks for posting Sue's new montage of Solitaire. I have loved this song ever since Clay sang it when he was a contestant and Neil Sedaka said he had lost his song- that it would always be a Clay Aiken song from then on. He was so right. I get chills every time I hear Clay sing it, his voice just soars. Loved this article.

  12. Wonderful montage of Solataire; I never tire of hearing Clay sing this. This blog really brings back memories.

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