Clay Aiken To Appear on 'AYSTAFG'

SMART SINGER MAN -- Clay Aiken plays for big bucks for The Bubel/Aiken Foundation in the celebrity edition of "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" Thursday night. Promo caps and blend by Amazing_CA

Happy Halloween Week!

Clay Aiken Set for 'Fifth Grader'

Even Yankee fans in the Clay Nation ranks rounded up appropriate pom-poms and cheered the Boston Red Sox to a World Series sweep so there would be no doubt that Singer Man would appear on Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? on Nov 1.

We could easily have backed the Colorado Rockies, who made their first appearance ever in the championship series. Coming in second is fine, as any Clay Aiken fan can tell you.

With the baseball season capped, plans are in full swing to watch and/or tape Thursday night's two-hour special celebrity episode of AYSTAFG featuring Clay and Regis Philbin playing for charity. Hosted by Jeff Foxworthy, the show airs at 8 p.m. Thursday on Fox and Global TV Canada.

Clay, Jeff, and Fifth Graders

In conjunction with Clay's appearance, The Bubel/Aiken Foundation pledge campaign total for "100 Let's All Play Camps in 2008" currently stands at $87,274.30. As of Oct. 24, actual donations tallied $48,573.88.

Supporters are urged to continue pledging and donating. Check with employers to see if they will match donations. Instructions for donating to the "Smarter Pledge Campaign" are located at TBAF link above.

Among the media sites promoting the Nov. 1 show are USA Today, Florida Sun-Sentinel, and Fresno Bee.

NEW THURSDAY: Promos will be appearig on Fox throughout the day, and Clay is in the lineup for tonight's Access Hollywood.

Fox 50 in Raleigh is featuring a backstage interview with sneak peeks of Clay on AYSTAFG. If you would like the download, here is a Sendspace wmv version: AYSTAFG Press Interview.

Outtakes from the show can be viewed at the AYSTAFG website.

'Solitaire' Performance Revisited

With videos, photos, and recaps by those in attendance, the CA community is still replaying Clay's stunning "Solitaire" performance during Neil Sedaka's "50 Years of Hits" tribute at Lincoln Center Friday night.

This segment is from Toni's Take of Oct. 29, the blog Toni (of Captain and Tennille) wrote following the Sedaka shindig:

Now.... for all of you “Claymates” out there who might happen to read this..... I never saw Clay Aiken backstage. He wasn’t there for the finale, THAT’S WHEN THE MUSIC TAKES ME, and he didn’t attend the after party. In fact, I never saw him at all!!! He drifted in and out of the proceedings like a ghost... almost like he was “beamed” in and out of the theatre.

Becky and I sneaked out into the stage right balcony to hear him sing SOLITAIRE, and he sang the heck out of it! And I got such a kick out of the screams of excitement when he appeared on stage, and when he held that four-measure, fortissimo note (“Sol-i-TAIRE!!!!!”) in the middle of the song..... the audience went bananas just like all the young girls who screamed for Sinatra and the Beatles!

His fans, who appear to be mostly female, absolutely adore him. What a phenomenon. I’m so out of it, I had no idea how huge he is.

Many CA fans have joined the honoree's faithful signing a petition to Send Neil Sedaka to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It's a simple process if you would like to participate. Instructions are given at the link provided.

SOLITAIRE INTERLUDE: Below are some of the beautiful graphics the fandom's visual artists have created. Featured are MNmeesh, photos by Irisighbookgal, 1; Cha Cha Trusty, screen caps from video by Secretly Loves Clay, 2; Fountaindawg, three "Solitaire" performances with the 2007 photo by Irishbookgal, 3; Amazing_CA, photos by Irishbookgal, 4 and 5.

First Woot-Off a Trip

Ever been to a Woot-Off? This is when Woot!, one my favorite websites shared here on National Blogging Day, has an around-the-clock sale of items A-Z, the majority electronically-related.

I participated in my first Woot-Off on Oct. 25. Always a surprise, some Woot-Offs have run continuously for 72 hours, but this one began at 1 a.m., lasted 16 hours, and featured 65 different products.

Because of a certain new grandson, I recently purchased two Canon cameras, sending one to my daughter in Texas. I have seriously been putting off opening my credit card statement, but you never would have believed it last Thursday.

That morning I mentioned to my friend Sally that was selling a Roomba for $149, a great price. Already wheeling and dealing at the Woot-Off, Sally suggested I wait because there were hints on the message board the little cleaning wizard would be in the day's lineup.

Refreshing an Internet page is old hat for Clay fans, so she and I followed each new sale from start to finish. Some items are gone within seconds while others last the allotted time.This was group day for my advanced string students, and I really needed to tear myself away and set up for their class.

As I prepared to shut down, the phone rang. A very excited chorus of Sally and her son shouting from two states away greeted me with, "Roomba, Roomba!!!" Still logged on, I quickly hit the I WANT ONE button.

And just like that, I became the owner of a cleaning robot and added to next month's credit card total. Sure enough, Woot's price was $30 less than the email advertisement that had peaked my interest earlier.

You have Successfully Wooted!

After teaching the class, I was hooked and had to see what else was selling. Great products are offered all day long. You can view the 65 items from 10/25 here, here, and here.

The final offering of the day -- a Clay connection, no less! -- was a "Bag of Crap" for $1. No matter the purchase, all shipping fees through Woot are $5. Sally tried, but the bags, sometimes called "Bandoliers of Carrots," went like hot cakes and, in the process, crashed the website. Another Clay connection!

I checked the current Woot! message board discussion, and the successful "crap" purchasers are still twiddling their thumbs awaiting shipment of their random surprises.

Final Item - Clickable

Though deeper in debt but on the verge of having a much cleaner house, I thoroughly enjoyed my first Woot-Off. Definitely a reason to make this site one a first stop every morning!

HALLOWEEN INTERLUDE: Selected for their Halloween and autumnal themes, these graphics are just in time for ghost and goblin time Wednesday night. Featured are designs by Claysmelody, 1; Amazing_CA, photo by Scrpkym, 2; Clayquebec1, 3; Claystruck, 4; and Amazing_CA, photo by Tasapio.

Goblins Invade Music Lessons

I don't know if we have any up and coming Beethovens; but during the past two weeks, the majority of my students have tried their hand at composing Halloween songs.

Several really got into spirit of the spooky season and came up with interesting question/answer melodies, as well as some unusual sound effects. Joseph, an elementary pianist, added basic chords and is working on a "B" section for his piece this week.

All used melodies in the minor mode with variations in range and dynamics. Violin/cello students incorporated such ominous effects as tremolos, col legno (bowing with the wood), and -- probably the least favorite among parents -- a siren on the highest string.

You won't see "The Haunted House" or "Marching to the Gallows" among Billboard's top singles, but we certainly had fun creating songs for the season.

Music to Grandma's Ears

Mixed in with the many comments about the "Solitaire" coverage of the previous blog was a simple one-liner from ShinehoneyShine: "We need more baby pictures."

No arm twisting needed with this grandmother! My current desktop is a photo of Kai taken by his mother and edited by Sally:

Kai Napping -- Clickable

Have an awesome week, Clay Nation!


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Aiken's 'Solitaire' Raises Roof

SOLITAIRE PERFORMANCE -- Clay Aiken sang "Solitaire" during the "Neil Sedaka: 50 Years of Hits" celebration Friday night. Bigappleforclay video screen cap by CAP121, enhanced by Sally.

At Neil Sedaka Tribute

'Solitaire' Soars Through Roof

According to fans, the roof of Avery Fisher Hall is now in dire need of repairs as crescendos and the climax of Clay Aiken's "Solitaire" performance virtually disengaged the ceiling at Neil Sedaka's 50th anniversary tribute Friday night.

Clay's amazing rendition was rewarded with the first of two non-Sedaka standing ovations, the other going to songstress Connie Francis.

A host of entertainers who have performed Sedaka's music during the past 50 years were invited to help commemorate the show biz milestone. Besides Francis, others included Natalie Cole, Paul Shaffer, Dion, Captain & Tennille, Renee Olstead, The Bad Plus, Lou Christie, Cousin Brucie Morrow, and David Foster.

Teasing the Aiken faithful in the audience, Foster announced, "When you write a great song, you can sing it a thousand different ways." CA fans screamed as Foster grinned and introduced an alternative jazz trio.

Admitting he had joked with the fans long enough, Foster began introducing the singer for real, stopped and said, "No need to go through all that -- Clay Aiken!!!"

Screen cap links to SOLITAIRE video on YouTube.

Written by Sedaka 35 years ago, the song that has become a signature for Clay demonstrated his beautiful baritone register and built to an overwhelming climax.

Fans stood as the singer started the "SOLITARRRRRRRRE" glory note; and by the time he had finished holding it, most in the audience were on their feet. As the song ended, practically the entire hall was standing for a sustained ovation.

With thanks to Bigappleforclay, here are Sendspace downloads of Clay's Clay's performance in mp3 and wmv formats:

Solitaire mp3 audio

Solitaire Small wmv video

PHOTO INTERLUDE: Featured are photos from Clay's performance during the tribute for Neil Sedaka. Included are clickables by Irishbookgal, 1, 3, and and 5; and Mustbeeme, 2 and 4.

Sedaka Sheds 'Solitaire' Tear

Reportedly, Sedaka became emotional during Clay's performance. As he left the stage, Clay walked by the piano and was high-fived by Foster, who had accompanied him. Despite his stunning performance, rumor among some in attendance was that Clay was suffering from strep throat.

There were many memorable moments as Neil Sedaka and "friends" sang hit after hit. From "Give Me One More Chance at the Midway," recorded by Peggy Lee and performed Friday night by Sedaka, to Connie Francis singing "Where the Boys Are" and dueting with the songwriter on "Stupid Cupid," this was a night to remember.

Recaps began pouring into CA message boards late Friday night and early Saturday. Parts of them are shared here:

Rafters Ring at Avery

Dancermom2: Clay rang the rafters at Avery Fisher Hall when he hit the note. He was in total danger of overpowering the microphone. He didn't utter a spoken word, and he didn't come back afterwards at the end for a duet or for the finale. But neither did Natalie Cole and Dion.

KSChristian4Clay: A few of my friends just called from New York City. They said that Clay won over more people tonight. Also, Neil only gave two people Standing O's tonight -- Connie Francis and Clay.

Clabydoll: Clay was phenomenal and stole the show. He nailed the glory note and the entire song. He sang with such passion I just wanted to cry and scream. And scream I did at the top of my lungs for him. I think this was his best glory note ever for Solitaire.

Mercedes: Clay sounded awesome and looked gorgeous. We were able to see Neil Sedaka and his family, and they only stood for Clay and Connie Francis.

Clayzedover: The buzz by the NJU as they were leaving the theater was all around. Two men and a woman who sat in the first or second row orchestra were talking about Clay as we stood waiting to make our way out.They had never heard Clay before, but they were definitely impressed.
The men said that note vibrated in their respective chests. They planned to see "Spamalot" this week; and when they heard that Clay would be joining the cast, they decided they would wait until next year.

'Solitaire' Clay's Song

Carol5230: Clay was amazing. He was spot on and nailed the note. The crowd went wild. "Solitaire" will always be Clay Aiken's song; no one but no one sings it like him. As soon as David Foster mentioned his name, half the theatre gave him a standing ovation."

Mom11: It was such a privilege to be there last night. Clay's voice, even when sick, does not just fill every crevice of a concert hall; it permeates every molecule. My friend, not a Clay fan, commented after his performance, "Has his voice gotten bigger?"

Playbiller: I am not a person who gets chills, but there was something about Clay giving his all to this version of Solitaire. Cousin Brucie came out after Clay just shaking his head and said something like, "Clay....whew!!!!!"

Raleighlady: As amazing as the video is, it truly does not convey even one tenth of how incredible and powerful the live performance was and the reaction of the audience. It was spectacular and I doubt that anybody left there last night without a totally new appreciation for Clay Aiken.

He is an absolute gift and last night was a triumph for him. He is only beginning to find his talent and I think we are going to be blown away by the Clay Aiken that emerges in the next couple of years. It's going to be an incredible ride and I'm hanging on for dear life.

Many thnx to the fans who attended the Lincoln Center event and promptly shared the evening's highlights with others around the globe. Don't you just living in the Digital Age?

Below is a clickable of the opening photo:

Enjoy the LA Auditions on AI Rewind 2 if you can tear yourself away from the new 'Solitaire' Clack. Have a wonderful weekend, Clay Nation!


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Aiken To Sing for Sedaka Bash

SOLITAIRE REVISITED -- Cindilu2's commemorative graphic features photos by SkateJoy and Invisible926, as well as screen caps from performances during American Idol 2 and 3.

Clay To Perform 'Solitaire'

Sedaka Celebrates 50 Years

"I have lost my song forever to you. It will always be a Clay Aiken song." -- Neil Sedaka, guest judge, American Idol 2, April 29, 2003

With that memorable ovation, Neil Sedaka bequeathed his song "Solitaire" to Clay Aiken. Friday night Clay will join a star-studded cast celebrating the legendary singer-songwriter's 50 years in show business at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center.

Clickables of Avery Fisher Hall and Neil Sedaka 50 site

In addition to Clay's rendition of "Solitaire," other friends scheduled to perform Neil Sedaka songs include Natalie Cole, Connie Francis, Dion, Paul Shaffer, Lou Christie, Captain & Tenille, Raul Midion, Renee Olstead and The Bad Plus.

Grammy winning producer David Foster, who played piano for Sedaka back when the honoree and Elton John had their 1975 smash duet "Bad Blood," will also entertain. Proceeds from the evening will benefit Elton John's AIDS Foundation.

A host of Aiken fans will be in the audience Friday night. The rest of us look forward to their recaps and possible new Clack!

For more information, see Neil Sedaka Celebrates 50 Years at Yahoo! and the Neil Sedaka 50 website. For a preview and a walk down memory lane, see Clay's AI2 and AI3 Solitaire performances in a montage by SundayNYC at YouTube.

Sedaka will be a guest on Thursday morning's Today Show.

Clickable AYSTAFG outtake screen caps by ClayIzzaQT

Clay Featured in '5th Grader' Outtakes

The Fox website is featuring new outtake video clips from Clay's upcoming appearance on Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? One is of Clay singing "backup" to 5th grader Mackenzie on the show's theme song, and the second reveals how the singer's nut allergy affected host Jeff Foxworthy's usual Snickers snack.

In conjunction with Clay's appearance on AYSTAFG, The Bubel/Aiken Foundation pledge campaign total for "100 Let's All Play Camps in 2008" currently stands at $87,255.30. As of Oct. 23, actual donations tallied $48,378.88.

Supporters are urged to continue pledging and donating. Check with employers to see if they will match donations. Instructions for donating to the "Smarter Pledge Campaign" are located at TBAF link above.

I'm sure my local TV listings are similar to everyone else's RE the air date for Clay's edition of AYSTAFG:

Nov. 1: Sports event, Baseball, Playoff sports, Colorado Rockies at Boston Red Sox World Series, Game 7, from Fenway Park in Boston. (If necessary) Alternate prime-time lineup: a special two-hour episode of ``Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?'' featuring Clay Aiken and Regis Philbin playing for charity.

If the World Series goes the distance, AYSTAFG will air the following week. Here's to Colorado or Boston winning the crown in six!

PHOTO INTERLUDE -- graphic artists including Ambassador of Love, photo by PermaSwooned, 1; Amazing_CA, photos by Invisible926, 2; Claysmelody, photo by Pink Cocoa, 3; Amazing_CA, photos by ClayIzzaQT, 4; and Ambassador of Love, photo by Riversend, 5.

Mark Your Calendar

Oct. 26 -- Neil Sedaka 50th Anniversary Concert, New York City
Oct. 27-28 -- AI2 Rewind (LA Auditions)
Nov. 1 -- Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?
Nov. 3-4 -- AI2 Rewind (LA Auditions)
Nov. 6 -- Holiday Celebration on Ice Taping, Las Vegas, NV
Nov. 10-11 -- AI3 Rewind (Best of the Worst)
Nov. 17 -- AI2 Rewind (Hollywood, Part 1)
Nov. 26 -- Christmas in the Heartland Tour begins, Wichita, KS
Dec. 22 -- Christmas in the Heartland Tour ends, Merrillville, IN
Dec. 25 -- Capitol One Holiday Celebration on Ice
Dec. 30 -- Capitol One Holiday Celebration on Ice (repeat)
Jan. 18 -- Sir Clay/Robin joins Broadway's "Spamalot" cast.

'Lonely No More' Leads Love Songs

Clay's "Lonely No More" from A Thousand Different Ways currently leads as the favorite October love song at Favorite New Songs Not on the Radio.

Fans can vote once daily at the love song link above. Kelly Clarkson's "Be Still" is a close second in this category.

"Lonely No More" was the top love song not on the radio in September while "The Old Songs" by Barry Manilow was runner-up.

Clickable Lycos 50 Chart

Lycos 50 Reflects 'Spamalot' News

For the 224th consecutive week, Clay Aiken is listed in the Lycos Top 50. This week the singer is the ninth most popular search with the subtitle "Spamalot."

Speaking of which, CA fans have been spending hours at YouTube watching "Spamalot" videos to acquaint themselves with the Broadway show Clay will join on Jan. 18.

A highly recommended "Spamalot" set begins here, but videos of the show are plentiful. After all the viewing and reviewing, we Clay fans may even have some understudies in our ranks!

When grandson Kai is not singing or checking out his Halloween costume, he is most definitely sleeping. The "Singing Superman" photo was edited by Sally, and ABeautifulMind designed the peaceful nap time graphic.

Thnx to "Aunt" Aspiegirl, Kai has already starred in his first montage. No wonder he needs a lot of naps!

Below is a double clickable of Cindilu2's "Solitaire Revisited" graphic:

Have a great week, Clay Nation! You, too, Superman!


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Spotlight on Humanitarian Work

THROUGH MY EYES -- ABeautifulMind's stunning graphic exemplifies Clay Aiken's humanitarian work around the world.

Ugandans Greet Clay with Bows

ABC Accents Charity Activists

Even with the ongoing media blitz about Clay Aiken's January nod for a starring role in Broadway's "Spamalot" and expanded promos for his Nov. 1 "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader" appearance, one of the best articles to come down the pike this week was the ABC News piece about celebrity charity activists.

Although Paris Hilton's new venture -- Paris to Rawanda: Socialite Becomes Latest Star Hitched to Charity -- is the lead, it is UNICEF Ambassador Aiken who is quoted throughout.

These are a few highlights from the four-page article, which is well worth reading and sharing:

Aiken made the cut when he was named a UNICEF ambassador in 2004. The organization approached Aiken after hearing of his involvement with his own charity, the Bubel/Aiken foundation that helps young people with special needs.

Aiken didn't know what to expect during his first visit to Uganda. He walked into the minimalist community center, where he expected nobody to know his name. Suddenly, he was greeted with bows from the crowd.

"When we walked in, they kept calling me your excellency," laughed Aiken. "I think both visits we've been on there have been misconceptions about how important I am."

"Celebrities have the ear and attention of the public," said [Lisa] Szarkowski, who heads the ambassador program for UNICEF. "They tend to command more attention than talking heads from our organization.

Attention that leads to big bucks. Aiken asked fans to donate money to UNICEF to help the children in Lebanon and raised more than $75,000 in 24 hours.

Celebrities sit through classes to learn about UNICEFand all the various issues that threaten children's survival around the world.

"We study as much as we possibly can before we go," said Aiken. "And I study after I go, because I want to be an expert on it. I think it's a disservice to the country you're going to and the children you're trying to help if you don't know what's going on and can't speak knowledgeably about your experience."

Jukebox Tour graphic by Cindilu2, photo by Tasapio

Newly-Released Jukebox Montages

Hot off the press and on continuous replay on my computer is the latest collaboration by Goldarngirl and Luckiest1: "Best of Atlantic City -- Jukebox Tour 05."

Featuring the work of several videographers, the montages contain outstanding visuals and audio, as well as some knockout special effects.

A must have if you never saw a Jukebox concert and even if you did! To download, click on this link for Goldarngirl-Luckiest1 Productions: Best of Atlantic City Jukebox Montage.

Files in avi and wmv formats are in the upper right corner. Just right-click and save. You'll be glad you did!

PHOTO INTERLUDE: I suppose the word is out that there are now two special guys in my life. Not only has Clay relinquished his longtime claim to my desktop, but my new grandson Kai, who will be five weeks old Monday, has this session taken over the normally all Singer Man clickable interlude.

The photographer was Kai's mother, and CA friends provided fine tuning and extra effects. Sally edited photos 1, 4, and 5, while Amazing_CA surprised Grandma Caro with the blend of several earlier pictures.

Trying on his Halloween cape a few days early, Superman was almost asleep when the final photo was snapped.

Possible Stagehand Strike Looms

With Clay's "Spamalot" debut still two months away and the announcement of his Sir Robin role only two days old, the New York Magazine this week referenced him regarding a possible stagehand strike on Broadway.

And in local news, Mayor Bloomberg offered to mediate labor talks between Broadway producers and stagehands, but the president of the stagehands' union Local 1 said no.

A lot is at stake here, people! If the stagehands strike, Clay Aiken could have to move his own props and scenery!

Golden Honey Grail Spam Collector's Edition

Souvenir Shop Sells Spam a Lot

"Spamalot" is derived from a line in the movie when the knights quote "We eat ham and jam and SPAM a lot." Hormel Foods, which produces SPAM products, has even created a special collector's edition can of a new SPAM Golden Honey Grail flavor in honor of the show.

The tin includes artwork from the show's marketing campaign. The Collector's Edition Golden Honey Grail Spam is available at the Spamalot website via the Shoppe link.

Some 'Spamalot' Trivia

Among the props is a cow that weighs 45 pounds and it takes two stagehands to catapult it over the castle.

Spamalot uses approximately 40 coconuts per month, supplied by the Coconut King in Florida.

The Show Portal weighs 2800 pounds.

The heaviest piece of scenery, The Camelot Hanger, weighs in at 6000 pounds.

The Grail Lift that elevates the Lady of the Lake weighs over 4000 pounds and uses 2600 pounds of hydraulic pressure.

It takes over 80 people on stage and off to run each performance.

Six pounds of confetti are used at each performance.

The orchestra uses a Spama-horn, an instrument specially developed for and used only in Spamalot.

Clickable Photoshop
by Ambassador of Love

There are over 100 wigs (including facial hair) in the show, all hand-tied and made of human hair, yak hair, and synthetics supplied from New York, California, and London.

The mud make-up is a formula specially designed for Spamalot.

The poorest peasants' costumes in the show are actually made of raw silk.

Three feet of "blood" has to be ironed prior to each performance.

There are over 100 undergarments in the show, including 30 pairs of men's fishnets and 56 cod pieces.

The Lady of the Lake's costumes are all comprised of hand-strung glass beads.

The costumes are not only made of a wide variety of fabrics, but many are made of molded ABS plastics, and even nuts and bolts. You are as likely to see a costumer with power tools as you are a sewing machine.

It's a guarantee that one knight will lose their head every night.

Amazing_CA's graphic links to Atlanta Rewind

'AI 2 Rewind' Swoops Into Austin

American Idol 2 Rewind continues this weekend with Clay narrating the Austin auditions. To locate the times shows are scheduled for your area, check TV Guide or link to Zap2It.

The segment still playing around the clock in Clay Land is last weekend's revisit to the Atlanta Auditions where Singer Man first wowed the judges. The video of Clay's portions can be viewed at YouTube by clicking on Amazing_CA's graphic above.

If you would like your own copy, here is a download via Sendspace: Atlanta Auditions -- Clay Portions.

Below is a clickable of ABeautifulMind's lead graphic:

Have a wonderful weekend, Clay Nation!


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