Clay Aiken – “A Dear Or A Diva”

While doing some exploring on my computer, I came across a fun magazine cover and article from March, 2003.  I thought you might have fun remembering the first months of Clay’s pop star life.  The following text is not the entire article, but includes all the interesting mentions about Clay and his interaction with the other AI contestants.

Entertainment Weekly – March, 2003

The ‘American Idol’ Bunch
Diary of a day in the ”American Idol” house. Jessica Shaw hangs out with the contestants (and a testy Kristin Holt) to get the scoop on who’s a dear and who’s a diva — an excerpt from Entertainment Weekly’s March 28, 2003, cover story
By Jessica Shaw
The contestants moved into their multilevel mansion today. And just two hours later, it’s already starting to look and sound like ”The Real World.” Corey is alone in his room burning incense, Julia is unpacking her cigarettes, Josh has sequestered himself in the bathroom to call his wife, and Kimberly Caldwell is curled up alone in the den. Ruben, Carmen, Trenyce, Kimberley Locke, Clay, Rickey, and Charles are inhaling burgers, fish, salads, and corn on the cob prepared by the house chef. The table talk, invariably led by Clay, the most outgoing of the bunch, goes from food (Clay: ”We have pork barbecues back home. You take a pig, cut it in half, and open it wide on the pig cooker and just pick out of it”) to religion (Rickey: ”I don’t eat the swine.” Clay: ”Are you Jewish?”) to domestic violence (Ruben: ”Clay’s my dawg.” Clay: ”Ruben hits me.”) to interfinalist sex (”There won’t be any in our room,” Clay says. ”Not on those hospital cots we sleep on”).

7:45 P.M.
Most of the remaining finalists tell me they never thought Vanessa would be the first to go home. Julia, who was the first runner-up in loser land, is still visibly shaken. ”I’m kind of glad that I know now what to expect, and I think if I’m in that situation again at least I’ll know what’s going to happen,” she says. Julia is not the only one expecting to be voted out of Hollywood. Each finalist punctuates sentences with ”…if I’m here next week.” ”Everyone knows they’re basically expendable,” Josh says. Even audience favorites like Ruben and Clay, who currently seem untouchable, aren’t getting too comfy. ”I’m not going to unpack,” Clay says. ”I’m just going to live out of my suitcase. I don’t want to get too used to being here.”

8:30 P.M.
Later I get the full house tour from Ruben and Clay. There’s the den (or ”gizame room” as Ruben calls it) with a fake banana tree, a requisite box of Twister, and, of course, a pool table. Keep going and you hit the gym (”This is the last time I’ll be in here,” Clay says, though Simon may have something to say about that). Down some stairs there’s the long, narrow pool with breathtaking views of the city. Corey is ebullient about the gang’s new neighbor, Drew Barrymore. (”I’m going to be like, ‘Put us in ”Charlie’s Angels 3”!”’) Roommates were chosen earlier in the day by drawing straws — well, actually RedVine licorice. Ruben, Corey, and Charles got the carpeted room, while Clay, Josh, and Rickey are upstairs. Carmen, at 17 the baby of the bunch, shares a suite with her guardians, and the rest of the girls occupy a palatial room with a deluxe bathroom.

Last week’s goodwill seems to have dissipated. It’s abundantly clear that the girls’ room is days away from becoming a nuclear war zone. ”I had three roommates and none of them worked out,” Trenyce says. ”It wasn’t me. It was always them.” When Rickey, the sweetest of the group, giggles at her comment, she shoots back, ”Okay, never mind. Cut the cameras.” (The weird part is that for once, there are none around — but Trenyce doesn’t seem to notice.) Indeed, she soon takes to her bed and cranks up the heat, which doesn’t make roomie Kimberly Caldwell very happy. ”I can’t sleep in a room this hot,” she gripes. ”You have your window!” Trenyce shoots back. Corey, for one, is prepared for the meltdowns. ”Those girls are four in a room. Meeeeee-ow!”

Before any of the catfights can get truly scary, toothy former beauty-pageant contestant/”American Idol” loser Kristin Holt (who will serve as a correspondent from inside the house) storms in and grabs my tape recorder. ”You wrote a story about me last year that I’m snobby and I’m a bitch, and I’ve never even talked to you in my life,” she sniffs. (Actually, I called her my ”least favorite human being on television.” Potato, potahto.) ”Just be careful what you say around her, guys. Just letting you know. It might get a little twisted.” And then she storms off to eye rolls from the contestants, who don’t seem to understand why she’s living with them to begin with. ”You can write I’m a bitch,” Kimberley Locke offers. ”Just write I’m a bitch who can sing.”


The article is fun to read now that we know more about Clay.  Yes…I bet he did lead the talk when he was with the other Idols!!

Had you read this article before?


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