Friday, May 22, 2009

Much Ado

About nothing? About an iconic show? About one person’s opinion of another person’s performance that others have already critiqued in a similar manner.

Clay Aiken has added a great feature to his fanclub site where he answers questions from fans on just about any topic. He’s been funny, serious, thoughtful, snarky and even political at times. It’s been the best addition to the fanclub site since its inception. (I find it interesting that he only started it after he left RCA but I digress). There have been over 4000 questions asked and he’s answered about 300 so far. It’s been a wonderful experience to get to know him a little better because the format is just like people sitting around a living room talking about the issues of the day. He’s answered questions that surprised me (for instance, we knew he had TMJ surgery in February but they actually broke his jaw to fix it). He’s obviously well read and that shows too.

Recently a fan reminded him that he’d said he thought AI wasn’t the same as it used to be and asked if Kris Allen won, would that renew his faith in the show getting back to its roots. Clay waited until the results were announced and then addressed the question, first on the message board and then moved to his blog. The basis of his answer was that he felt that the other contestant, Adam Lambert, was pushed on to the public and practically declared the winner ahead of time. Seriously, the guy had a magazine cover weeks ago, how fair is that? I didn't even watch the show and I knew who Adam was and what he looked like. I didn't even know who the other guy was.

Clay felt that there may have been some public backlash to that which drove votes to Kris and overall, he felt that Adam and many others in the last few seasons have been too polished and too professional and that’s not what made AI so successful when it started. I agree and I think it started when they raised the age limit and was exacerbated when they focused more on the guest acts and forgot about the regular folks competing on the show.

He’s said this before as have countless other news outlets. Here he was talking about it with Good Day LA in 2008. As you can see, the anchors note that Simon Cowell was rather frustrated as well.

Here he is talking about it with Kathie Lee Gifford during that same time period, including reiterating that he's grateful for the opportunity Idol gave him.

Media Magnet
Clay started his blog by talking about Adam Lambert. He’d received a handful of questions about this contestant specifically. He noted that he didn’t care for Adam’s rendition of Ring of Fire (a performance that Cowell called “indulgent rubbish”). He said it made his ears bleed. While I agree 100% with Clay on that account (and Cowell for that matter), it is understandable that many Adam fans have cried foul or expressed some resentment. Of course the media has run wild with it. (Which amuses me to no end that Clay has stolen the spotlight during finale week, the same way he did during season 5 when he surprised Michael Sandecki.)

A few weeks ago, Clay visited the Idol set with his son Parker. He has said he has many friends who remain on the show and just like you or I might return to a former place of employment with a new baby, he did the same. The National Enquirer took that little piece of truth and concocted a story about him looking to mentor Adam or do a duet. (I guess the bleeding ears thing kind of refuted that, eh?) The Chicago Sun-Times took that story as gospel and ran with it and other “journalists”(are there any left in entertainment media?) copied it verbatim from either source. Now those same “journalists” are taking that lie and using it as a reason why Clay spoke about Adam and the way he did. How convenient for them. They fabricated a story and then used it to put their own twist on a new fabricated story. Boy, I wonder if they even have to turn on all their brain cells for that one. Or as Nan has said, the media love dust-up, distortion and distraction. And if they can’t find it, they “help it along”.

The other little side piece of crap about that story was that Clay was escorted out. (Interesting is that same piece of crap story was repeated during finale weeks of years past.) While I agree that AI has shunned Clay (they refused to let him sing when he was promoting his album On My Way Here and 2 years of Idol Gives Back fabricated charity shows and they didn’t once mention one of their own who is a UNICEF Ambassador and has visited five countries in very dangerous situations?) I am not buying that for a minute. Convention wisdom is that by leaving the AI/19 management group (and likely convincing tour buddy Kelly Clarkson to do the same) he doesn't have to hand over a huge chunk of his millions. They might not have taken too kindly to that.

But the producers are one group; his friends who work behind the scenes are another. Does anybody believe he would have taken his son to visit friends if he didn’t think he could get past the gate? He was recently an invited guest at a birthday party for a former Idol producer, as well.

I’m glad Clay was honest in how he felt, even if he wasn’t as diplomatic as he could have been. Unfortunately the focus shifted to his Adam comments and many are missing the message of the blog entirely. He said America has always gotten it right, even in his season and that perhaps this was sending a message of "let us decide." Well, America may be sending another message as this was the lowest rated finale since Season 2. The highest? Clay and Ruben’s finale. The second highest? The AI5/Sandecki one where Clay appeared with the new dark haircut.

I do feel badly for Kris Allen. First, his headline is that he “upset” the media/judges favorite. Now, because the media favorite is deemed slighted, he’s pushed to the background.

A second blog by Clay
After I wrote this Clay blogged again to laugh at how much influence he has at times and how things are twisted. He made the blog public so here it is.

Who knew I had so much influence and that my words and opinion mattered so much to so many people!?!?! HA HA HA I'll be the first to admit that my opinion is just that, only my opinion, but for as much as some of the bloggers seem to dislike me and care so little about my thoughts, they sure can waste a lot of their space on what I say! If only many of them took the time to pay attention to important things like the US economy and the welfare of the world's children. But... nah... I could blog about that type of stuff anytime and most wouldn't think twice, but let me say something that they can pick and choose quotes and misinterpret me... and it's showtime! I never assumed my opinion mattered so much! I guess I may have been wrong.

That said, since my previous blog got dissected like a biology lab frog, i suppose I should clarify and even retract some of what I wrote.

I am sure that some were upset by my choice of words describing my opinion of a performance I heard from Adam Lambert. I hope no one actually believed that blood truly poured forth from my ears when I heard him. I obviously meant it as a colorful statement to imply that I did not enjoy what I heard. Any performer hopes that their music will appeal to all people, but no singer realistically expects it to. God knows, I am SURE there are PLENTY of people who can't stand to hear me sing either. I wouldn't dream of assuming that, and I am sure that far worse things have been said about my performances than I would even venture to type here. To me, that's fine. I don't expect unanimous, nor even majority support for my music. But, my guess is Adam doesn't either.

I would not venture to make judgements on the personality or demeanor of anyone I don't know, so none of what I said in my previous blog was directed as a "slam" on Adam as a person. At the same time, I wouldn't dream of slamming him as an entertainer. He does what he does, because he enjoys it, and he obviously has many fans who enjoy it as well. If what i said in my previous blog regarding my impression of a single performance from Adam upset or offended any of his fans, I expect that the mature ones will realize that it was simply a poorly worded metaphor describing my personal tastes. The only person I would really dream of apologizing to is Adam. And the irony is, if he's smart he couldn't give a crap what I think of his Ring of Fire performance. As an entertainer, Adam knows that one person's opinion of one performance really matters a little less than zero, in the grand scheme of things. He could not have gotten on Idol (nor made it as far as he did) without an immense amount of talent. He surely doesn't need my approval to know he has a gift. At the same time, he realizes that amazing talent doesn't always equal universal appeal. (I could NEVER have the amount of skill and talent that ballet dancers have! that's talent! But, I don't particularly enjoy it!)

I am sure that I will have plenty of opportunities in the coming years to hear Adam sing. I imagine he'll be around for years to come. But in the meantime, I definitely don't want to stoop to the level of so many negative freaks on the internet... so, I do apologize to Adam for my colorful (and negative) choice of words. I hope he can forgive me. I imagine he doesn't give a damn! :-) God knows he shouldn't. :-)


Now, for those of you who are able to comment on this.... lets take bets as to which bits and pieces of this blog will end up mass distributed. Be creative.... they don't seem to care about punctuation or whether or not they use all of the words in a sentence... so, have fun.... ;-)

Ok, Here was my prediction for how the media will discuss this new blog...

Aiken grovels at Lambert's feet after media outrage. Begs him to duet or even better, let Aiken open for Lambert on his world tour beginning in December."

Here’s is Adam singing Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire in the performance that Clay was referring to. It's a video from an Adam Lambert site that conveniently cuts off right before Simon growls and Randy Travis grimaces. If you like it, then check out more of Adam or his album when it comes out. If you don’t, then you’re no different than Clay or me. Yet, your opinion won’t be twisted by entertainment media who like blood sport more than they do truth.

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Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blog. It's nice to see the side not shown by the media. Haven't watched Idol for years, but yikes! that song was just horrible. Keep telling it like it is Conclayve.

Anonymous said...

They fabricated a story and then used it to put their own twist on a new fabricated story. ... the media love dust-up, distortion and distraction. And if they can’t find it, they “help it along”.Sadly the above is true and it hasn't quite hit a lot of casual readers on the internet that this is the case. But it will eventually. I have a very intelligent friend who reads PH often and believes what she reads and if it seems off the wall she just laughs - as in who cares anyway?

Of course it doesn't really matter regarding most celebrities but mainstream media outlets are just copying and pasting - no checking - and the line is getting less and less visible between going too far and oh who cares anyway. Should Brook Shields be outraged? Or Jessica Parker? When this sort of fabrication is allowed to continue it also allows the line to fade just a little bit more.


Anonymous said...

American journalism is dead...and from that last video, it's a good thing Johnny Cash never saw that rendition of his song. Self indulgent garbage. Ugh!

Clay Aiken is an honest guy. Yikes that was pretty bad.

Carolina Clay said...


Kudos for telling it like it is! Having lived in Nashville and been around the country music industry, I really enjoyed hearing Randy Travis work his way through the clinic on "Ring of Fire."

Excellent blog, which I'm off to link in the current Carolina entry. Hope lots of people read your blog!


The ConCLAYve-Nan said...

Thanks Corabeth for a great blog. It is unfortunate that the whole point of the blog Clay wrote was lost in the media feeding frenzy. But what do you expect from a profession where Pelosi becomes the bad guy and Dick isn't in jail.

Clay's new blog is brilliant!

Ashes said...

Great blog! Thanks for the real stories, and the videos.
I haven't watched or listened to Ring Of Fire yet, I have to find my earplugs first.

The Conclayve is linked to my blog at Ashes-Clay the Man.

Anonymous said...

Great blog. Sure wish all the media hype would pick up the whole story in context. Talk about blowing something out of proportion. Your blog tells it like it is.

Anonymous said...

Wow! The media is a piece of work. Clay is entitled to his opinion. Good job!

dee said...

Thanks for putting all that together and adding those clips .
Great blog !

Anonymous said...

Great blog. I am a fan of Adam as well as a long time devoted fan of Clay. Heck, I even like Ring of Fire. But Clay has every right to state his opinion on his blog. He did not say anything much different than Simon said that night and the look on Randy Travis' face was worth a thousand words.

The fact that the trash media takes a kernel of truth and embellishes it into a work of fiction and then spreads it like wildfire as truth is just a very sad commentary on our society.

I don't really think he needed to apologize but, obviously, he felt the need to do it. That takes a classy person.

Bev said...

Wouldn't it be lovely if, for once, the media actually did some research instead of just cutting and pasting each other. Sensationalism at it's finest!!

This is an excellent blog and I thank you sincerely for telling it like it really is!

ImGranny said...

Thanks for the great blog. All this fussing over Clay Aiken's opinion posted on his blog on HIS message board! Amazing!

Anonymous said...

You are so right about the state of the press (although its not a new thing William Randolph Hearst anyone?). I no longer trust anything I read or hear in the media. By the way, I hadn't listened to Ring of Fire since performance night when I reacted with a WTF!? But I like it on second hearing. It sure was different.

I hope Clay continues to speak his mind. I have a feeling he will.

hosaa said...

Good blog. I like Adam Lambert, I like Kris Allen. I love Clay Aiken. Can live without people only interested in polluting the marketplace of ideas with uncivil noise. But that's just me.

Anonymous said...

Good blog!
My husband and I didn't like Adam's version of Ring of Fire either.

When Adam told Randy Travis that he was singing it with a sitar and Middle Eastern flair, Randy said "Oh, now you're scaring me."

Reminded me of that scene in "Music and Lyrics" when the female pop singer changed their song into a similar style. Yikes.
To each his own as they say. But allow Clay the right to express his viewpoint too.


Anonymous said...

Been out of the loop for a while and decided to check out some Clay blogs. Glad I came to this one...great blog.

I like Kris, I like Adam better but I am glad Kris won because Adam is already on his way and I love Clay Aiken!!

This was the first time I heard Adam's rendition of Ring of Fire and was prepared not to like it but I did like was pure Adam and he is a great entertainer.

All the positive things Clay does gets little attention but one negative starts a fire storm. Clay must feel very gratified to know his opinion matters so much to so many. We all have a right to our opinion even when others don't agree with us. That is one of the reasons I appreciate so much those who keep politics out of this.


coffee fan said...

how can Aiken want to work on a duet with Adam Lambert and yet at the same time bash his singing style?

homefair said...

coffee fan said...
"how can Aiken want to work on a duet with Adam Lambert and yet at the same time bash his singing style?"

Did you not read the blog before you commented? The answer is because Clay DID NOT want to work with Adam now or ever. He simply took his baby son to the set to show him off to friends & the Enquirer decided to make up a story connecting the 2 gay Idols. It's very simple. Tabloids concoct stories out of nothing EVERY DAY. Here's a hint: Angelina & Jennifer are NOT still fighting over Brad Pitt, Rachel Ray DOES NOT have throat cancer & Michelle Obama IS NOT fighting anorexia. All recent Enquirer stories.

CanIPlay2 said...

Adam supporter here but don't hold it against me. I read Clay's original blog after a few fans posted comments about him on the AI website. I didn't get what the fuss was about until I read the media's take on it--gay Clay Aiken dissing most-likely-gay Adam Lambert(currently the object of a media feeding frenzy). Did they even read Clay's blog? And the alleged gate-crashing incident? It's the National Enquirer for god's sake! Zero credibility--hello? Why Clay wrote the blog (for the publicity, to criticize AI)doesn't matter. He had the right to express his opinion. The press had an obligation to report the facts and it chose not to. This wasn't news, this was media trash talking at its worst.

bluecouchpotato said...

thanks for a great blog!
funny that there are a gazillion issues around the world --- flash floods, peace talks, presidential visits to the Middle East, bankruptcy, etc --- and the media chooses to make a field day on Clay Aiken's opinion on his own website about AI and a non-winning contestant.

Clay himself has been yelling at the top of those powerful lungs of his to bring out the issues of civil wars, poverty, health and education issues, and not a blip on the National Enquirer. Grrr!

Now I like my music with a little edge (i.e. rocker Clay and Adam SANS Ring of Fire). I would just like to point out that Clay remains the most successful male artist in AI history. I don't think anybody would have paid much attention to Adam now if Clay hadn't set such a great precedent of a victory even without the AI crown.

kfccanada said...

I agree totally with Clay's original comment...this has got to be the worse rendition of this song anyone has ever sung! Johnny Cash must be rolling in his grave! I've watched a video of Adam singing a Jewish song, even, and it was far, far, better than this 'Ring of Fire'effort.

Clay is a class act and it's truly sad that the producers of American Idol are not; to extend the courtesy of guest appearances to other former AI participants but not to Clay demonstrates pettiness, jealousy and out and out childishness on their part.

I, for one, am happy that I happened to be listening to AI the evening Clay first appeared. The past 6 six years have shown, time and again, that Clay was by far, the best person to have ever graced their stage.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sick of the media's take on this. They don't even have half of the story correct. They're trying to convey this to people as though Clay just made these comments out of the blue to start something with Adam. I don't think they even know that he was trying to answer a few questions. And to compare him to Adam is ridiculous. Adam is so flamboyant and that just isn't Clay's style as far as his personal life. I like Adam's voice, but since his story came out its a little bit of a turnoff.