I will always remember the first time Clay Aiken sang at the Miss America Pageant. It was on September 20th, 2003. Clay was the featured musical guest of the pageant. About 30 minutes into the show, Tom Bergeron introduced Clay as “One of America’s newest Pop Superstars.” Clay sang “This is the Night” as the contestants paraded down the runway.
There was lots of press for Clay’s appearance. The following are two of my favorite articles:
USA Today :
Here she comes, Miss America (ABC, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET/PT) — and for three hours, yet. On the up side, we get a performance by American Idol’s Clay Aiken. And the down? The show will cut away to a “viewing party” hosted by Bachelor’s Ryan Sutter and Trista Rehn, who would no doubt host a party for When Animals Attack if it meant more airtime.
Press of Atlantic City
A group of 11 women clustered around the “Miss America Souvenirs” sign on the Boardwalk and smiled for the camera. They never saw each other before Saturday evening, but by now they were the best of friends. One thing held them together – and brought them to the Miss America Pageant.
“We’re here to see Clay Aiken,” the women, age 19 to 70, said almost in unison.
The group met on the Internet and decided to come to Atlantic City to see “American Idol” runner-up Aiken croon to the pageant, said Emily Beaston, 35, of Hellertown, Pa.
Just for one song?
“It’s worth it. We’d pay more than that to see him,” said Geri Carabella, 56, of Staten Island, N.Y. “He’s done a lot (for charities) in the short time he’s been a celebrity.”
Colleen Siegel, of Lafayette Township, came to see the pageant, but screamed with delight when told Clay Aiken would perform live. Her daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer last year and just finished her chemotherapy and will survive.
“We do nothing but listen to Clay Aiken’s tapes,” Siegel said. “It helps her get through her day.”
Yes…Clay Aiken added a lot to the pageant in 2003. Did any of you see him perform live for this performance?
What an exciting Night. I don’t watch pageants, but I had to for the simple reason: CLAY! Thank you, CANN for sharing!8
I remember waiting for the moment we would hear and see Clay singing that evening. We weren't disappointed when he walked on the stage and sang "This Is The Night" and the audience went wild.