Archive for July 11th, 2007

There once was an entertainer who took himself seriously when others did not. He was a professed Christian, didn’t have a great sense of style, appeared often on a late night talk show and was thought to be gay. He sang songs that were considered “old fashioned” and came to fame as the result of being on a popular television show. Most folks thought he was a joke and subsequently became the butt of many of them.


His name? Herbert Khaury, aka Tiny Tim.


Sound familiar?


In every generation a performer comes along and, through no fault of his or her own, seems to rub the majority of the people the wrong way. As I write this, it appears to be Clay Aiken’s turn as America’s whipping boy. On Conan O’Brien’s Late Night Show a mere mention of his name sends the audience howling. Even Dan Abrams from MSNBC couldn’t resist making him the “Loser of the Day” recently.


My question is – what exactly has Clay done to deserve all of this negative attention?


Or, more exactly, whose ego did he encroach on to warrant a bull’s eye on both his career and personal life?


The obvious difference between Clay and Mr. Tim is that Clay HAS legitimate musical talent, when he is using his voice properly. That alone, coupled with his great run on American Idol 2 should have given him a big boost on the way to a music career. In actuality, it did – until January of 2006 when all hell broke loose (that date is significant and I will revisit it in the next installment). Since then the hits to both his private life and performing career just keep on coming, with extremely damaging results. This kid can’t seem catch a break right now and something needs to be done to turn this Titanic around or his professional credentials will be worthless.


The general public, knowing no better, seems to have latched on to the premise that it is “hip” to hate Clay. They dismiss any good that he is trying to achieve while not stopping their relentless pursuit to drive him into obscurity. So much hatred turned on to one young man who simply entered a reality TV contest at the urging of others and was able to capture the musical hearts of many. Like that was a crime or something.


Maybe it was.


Maybe he just seemed too good to be true. No one could be that wholesome and self effacing. There had to be a big flaw lurking somewhere.


Whether there really is or not is irrelevant now – the damage is done and his reputation has taken more major blows than it needed to. The question remains – can Clay’s professional and private lives be repaired so that he can have a credible and successful career in music or television? Moreover, can the general public accept a “new and improved” Clay Aiken?


Before we can answer those questions, we need to examine the forces in Clay’s life that have helped to create this quicksand that he seems to be sunk into. In my next installment, I will put forth my own observations and “conspiracy theories” on the subject while in a third and final installment, make some suggestions on how Clay could rise from the ashes and reinvent himself. He may be down at the present moment, but he is in no way out of this game yet.


BTW, each one of my titles is a take off on a popular song of the past. See if you can figure it out and post your guess. I may not have fabulous prizes for the correct guesser but it should still be fun!


Carry on!




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