Clay Aiken – Most Talked About Performance?

Think back to  May 24, 2006. It was one of the most talked about performances that Clay Aiken has had in his entire career.

Need a hint? Think Michael Sandechi…you remember…the young man who impersonated Clay. Michael won the Golden Idol Award for the Favorite Impersonation. He thought himself an impersonator of Clay

I don’t think I will ever forget the night. I watched as Michael started singing. Then, I watched the doors behind him open and realized that Clay Aiken walked onto the stage. Clay was the star of the night. It was so much fun to see Clay treating Michael with respect, but at the same time making sure that the entire world knew that he was far-removed from the “geek” memory of “Idol Clay.”

American Idol wanted a joke. Clay Aiken gave them an event!!

 I thought it might be interesting to post some of the many reviews about Clay’s appearance on the American Idol Finale in 2006

Rickey’s AI Blog


CLAY!!!! CLAY!!! CLAY!!!!




The Idols sing Burt Bacharach songs… don’t they do this every year?

But my god, nothing can top the Clay Aiken moment. Next to Kelly he’s the biggest star this show has produced. Go Clay!

…there was one shining moment that will likely go down as one of the funniest moments in American Idol history….

People Magazine On-line

But the biggest showstoppers were Clay Aiken, who debuted a jaw-dropping new hipster hairdo, and Prince, who performed two songs solo before an ecstatic audience.

But the show did hit one perfect note when Clay Aiken surprised an off-key Clay Aiken-wannabe on stage for a wonderfully impromptu duet.

Fox News Online

Perhaps the biggest laugh of the night, however, came during an appearance by Michael Sandecki, a sensation from an early audition episode (sensational only for how bad he was), who did a “surprise” duet with Clay Aiken.

They performed “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” and it really was akin to watching a before and after video, with Sandecki playing the role of the younger, naive Aiken, almost too enthusiastically.

Access Hollywood

The moment everyone is talking about around here is the reemergence of Clay Aiken. Folks here have dubbed his new look a cross between KD Lang and the Beatles. Inside the theater, he sounded amazing but I don’t think he wasn’t expecting shocked auditioner, Michael, to start trying to duet with him on the song At one point off-camera the stage manager came out and told Ryan to sit him down. That’s why the chair was brought out and you see Ryan place him there.

Baltimore MIX 106.5

“So who won Idol? Katherine, Taylor? No, it was Clay Aiken’s haircut.”

Yahoo Buzz

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.


The best non-Taylor moment was the Return of Clay Aiken. He looked fabulous, sang better, and gave his awe-struck ‘impersonator’ an unforgettable surprise!”

I doubt that there will ever be a night like that again. Clay Aiken was and always will be, a Super-Star!!

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9 thoughts on “Clay Aiken – Most Talked About Performance?

  1. What a spectacular night that was! I was in my bedroom watching Idol and the stage opens up and there walks out Clay! I'm screaming OMG, OMG! He looked great: all sexy and handsome, singing that glorious song!

  2. When I watched this show back in 2006, it took me a minute to realize that was Clay entering from behind Michael. The new dark, longer hair caught me by surprise. As usual, Clay was the hit of the evening.

  3. I started watching AI in 2006. I vaguely remember about Clay from my friends talking about AI so I started watching it. When Clay came out at the end like that, I wasn't sure who he was. It made sense with Michael Sandecki. He was so funny and Clay looked so different and gorgeous! This is my all-time favorite video and Clay was so kind to Michael, not like other people would be. I think about this video often and go to YouTube to watch it. Thanks for posting it here!

  4. Who could ever forget this moment on "American Idol"? I recall Clay deliberately changed his hair style for the occasion. Certainly this will always be one of music's never-to-be-forgotten and most hilarious events! But more importantly, I recognized that Clay was not given to ridicule. There was no trace of meanness in his reactions. Clay remained the ultimate good sport!

  5. Not only one of AI's, but one of television's, most
    engaging moments ever. SHOULD have been shown as part of this year's AI history.

  6. i wil n ever forget the look on michals face when the doors opend and there he is clay aiken i nealy died when i saw clay i thought omg everyone including me whent nuts

  7. What a moment!!! I jumped up and stood right in front of the tv and cried. We hadn't seen him for sooo long. He looked gorgeous and sounded better than ever.

    I had the same reaction last week when Clay sang "Annie's Song'. Stood in front of the tv and cried when, once again, he looked gorgeous and sounded better than ever. How does the man do that?

  8. I will always remember the night that Clay made that surprise appearance on Idol. It was unbelievable. I didn’t realize who it was for a moment but when I did I was jumping up and down with excitement. I loved the new look. Just one of many reinventions to come. I just went to the video to watch it again. It’s a true classic. Thanks for the post. ❤️ UNCONDITIONAL love for you Clay.

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