There I said it….

Ok, so I am ready for the stones to be thrown at me, but I just have to say what I am seeing.

I am a Clay Aiken fan. I am not a Claymate, a Claytripper or a citizen of the Clay Nation. I am just the run of the mill middle aged white woman who appreciates the voice and performances of Clay Aiken. I know I am a rare breed in both circles. I have to go to concerts alone, because my family and friends just cannot bear it. Whimps. I have watched Clay since his American Idol days when I wore my fingers to the bone just to see him get the fuzzy end of an over burdened phone system! I loved his first cd Measure of a Man (MOAM), his Christmas cd Merry Christmas with Love (MCWL) and I have enjoyed all of the concerts.

So it pains me to say the following: The new album, A Thousand Different Ways (ATDW), is a disappointment,not a tragedy, just a disappointment. I say that having bought several copies just to do my part for the cause. I listen to it because I like Clay’s voice. I am already sold out for the career of this man for reasons that are far reaching. I love a simply talented person, I love good people, I like to see kind people succeed, I love people who love their mothers and I adore people who are good to children, especially children who have few voices on their side.

This album will be enough for the true fans. I am one.

However, the fan base on the offical fan club website numbers on 3550 in the US (I just did the search on the site). If everyone who is a fan club member bought 10 cd’s it would be 35,500. A fraction of the 3 million of MOAM. I honestly do not know how many albums have been sold to date. I do know that he did not open on the Billboard chart like he has with both MOAM and MCWL.

I have watched the interviews, the features and miniconcerts on everything from the Wal-mart site to GMA. Our boy looks tired. Really tired. He almost looks defeated. (I said ALMOST). He has a spark in his soul that will rise about the mire he has lived for the last year or so. I was glad to hear he went back home to North Carolina. It was clear in his public appearances that he needed to recharge at his base. Mom,friends, foods he loves, and the comforts of being able to be Clayton, and not American Idol Clay Aiken. He needs a break.

I am sure he feels the pressure of this fan base that lives and dies by his every move. He is a person who would feel responsible for them, even though that thought is absurd! He owes us great music and great performances and NOTHING ELSE.

He is not our boyfriend, our close friend, or someone we really know intimately. He does not know who is in the fifth row of a concert, and he is not singing to anyone of us individually. (If you have ever been on a stage, you would know that you cannot see a thing past the lights to even the first row, let alone the fifth). He is a performer and a good role model. He does not owe anyone answers about his personal life, least of all his fan base. I have to tell you, I am a Christian, and I agree completely with Mr. Aiken when he said Jesus loves everyone, Muslim, Jew, Christian, Gay, Straight, Black or White. I know that makes some of the more fundamental amongst us wiggle in their seat. GET OVER IT. When one of us gets assigned to be God, let me know, then I will listen.

Ok back to ATDW, Clive Davis missed the boat and lead Clay down the wrong path. I do not know about the rest of you, but I wanted to hear what Clay had to say on this album, not Celine, not Dolly, Not any of the former artists who made these songs famous. I wanted Clay’s point of view, and outside of the four original songs, I did not hear it here. I only hear that Clay spark in those songs. The rest are almost anemic (I said ALMOST). They are good, the man can sing, but they are not Clay.

I know many of you will lose your precious minds over these comments. I hope I am wrong, and I hope this album sells like hotcakes in winter. I will be at the Christmas concert in Detroit, and I will pay top dollar for a seat when he tours this CD next year. I hope he gets the chance to make another album if he wants to, and I hope we get see him perform for years to come. The fact is he deserves success, I hope that dream does not die a thousand different ways.

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