It is time for the Friday mid-day post. Things have slowed down, but there is still lots of new interviews to watch and read!
Did you see these articles?
Nearly a decade ago, Americans were introduced to the adorable schoolteacher from North Carolina. Aiken wowed viewers and judges early in the second season auditions of “American Idol.” No one expected such an incredible voice to come out of such an unassuming package. He came out of nowhere and stole the show.
His singing won him a golden ticket to Hollywood, but his resolve won him a unique place in the hearts of American viewers.
And that could be just the training he needed for his next career.
This week, Aiken once again presented himself as an unassuming candidate, this time jumping into North Carolina politics as a Democrat to challenge U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, a Republican, for her 2nd Congressional District seat.
As a former political appointee and reality TV show participant, I am intrigued by Aiken’s foray into the world of politics. He and I got our start on TV right around the same time.
In all of my encounters with him over the last decade, I have found him to be kind, warm and authentic. I bet the voters in North Carolina will see the same thing.
A friend asked me if I thought Aiken’s TV background would help or hurt him in his congressional race. That’s easy. National TV has uniquely prepared Aiken for this adventure into politics. Here’s why.
Aiken has had to convince millions to vote for him — first via a toll-free 866 number and soon in a voting booth. He has had to deflect the barbs of critics — I’m not sure who is worse, Simon Cowell or Sean Hannity. And he has had to learn how to win over the media — first in Hollywood, now inside the Beltway.
Back in 2003 and 2004, reality TV was a lot different. Aiken and I both were parts of instantly successful franchises at the peak of their popularity. Each week, millions of viewers tuned in not only to watch but also to vote for their choices — or vote off whom they didn’t like.
This created a new entertainment democracy. Viewers were empowered to choose their favorites, and contestants had to campaign and compete for a spot on the show — and for the hearts of America on an unofficial campaign trail.
Reality TV requires you to have thick skin. When you have to face harsh critics such as Cowell or Donald Trump weekly, you have no choice but to be tough.
But the toughest critic of all proved to be the American public. Aiken was subjected to intense, relentless scrutiny. He was forced to learn and apply leadership principles that were essential to his longevity and success, on screen and off. And even when he got knocked down, he had to get back up and fight again.
There are skills that we learned being on a reality show that may help Aiken win.
First, his message, which he has already tried and tested during his “American Idol” days, will get refined in the political arena.
He proudly shared Christian beliefs and his passion for young people with special needs, both traits that resonated with viewers — and likely with North Carolina voters.
Secondly, his relationship with the media during “Idol” taught him how to deal with them in a smart, shrewd yet upfront and sincere way. The press can spot a fake a mile away.
On “American Idol,” he quickly learned to forge relationships with the media to connect with those who would cast their votes each week.
In his congressional race, he will likely be able to reach voters in ways that his competitor can’t. Because of his TV training, he already knows how to do so.
Lastly, his two previous losses — he came in second place behind Ruben Studdard during the second season of “Idol” and placed second behind Arsenio Hall in the fifth season of “Celebrity Apprentice” — could prove to be just the hook in his bid for Congress.
Going up against an incumbent in a traditionally Republican district, voters will see Aiken as the underdog and may rally behind him. Voters may feel that his time has come.
And everyone roots for the underdog.
This article was written by : Omarosa Manigault She was one of the first contestants on NBC’s “The Apprentice” in 2004. She also worked in the White House during the Clinton administration and is an ordained minister in Los Angeles.
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WTOP 103.5 FM – Clay Aiken hopes to bring new approach to dysfunctional Washington
Former “American Idol” and “Celebrity Apprentice” runner-up Clay Aiken says he hopes his voice will be heard — but not in an entertainment sphere.
Aiken says he has no motivation to become a career politician despite the announcement that he will run for Congress in his native North Carolina.
“I want to do it because I’m tired of what I’m seeing and I want that to change,” Aiken said on WTOP Friday…
…Aiken says he is hoping to bring clarity to a dysfunctional Washington and says voters should consider him over a more traditional politician.
“Listen, I think that certain inanimate objects could represent people better than some of the representation we have now,” Aiken said…
…Aiken is expected to face former state Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco of Asheboro and licensed professional counselor Toni Morris of Fayetteville in the Democratic primary in May. Another Democratic hopeful — Houston Barnes of Durham — gave up his bid Wednesday and threw his weight to Aiken…
When you visit this site, they have a link so you can hear this interview. Visit WTOP
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